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Home Towns Larchmont *Read Your 100+ Comments*---Was Central School Cleared of Race-Based Placement?

*Read Your 100+ Comments*—Was Central School Cleared of Race-Based Placement?

Mamaroneck–

Update: theLoop received this letter from the parent in this case:

To the Editor:

 Recently, the U.S. Department of Education the Office of Civil Rights completed an investigation of the Central Elementary School in the Mamaroneck Union Free School District and found segregation occurred involving innocent kindergarten children including my son.. The Mamaroneck UFSD is the school district in which Tim Geithner’s (U.S. Secretary of the Treasury) son just graduated from.  The school district hid the federal investigation and the results from the community and local politicians until today.  The principal and superintendent continue in their respective roles.  I have asked the Department of Education/OCR to continue the investigation of the other grades as well as the problem of segregation is not limited to the kindergarten grade.  Please find (HERE a copy of the letter to download)  that I wrote that initiated the investigation and the report from the Office of Civil Rights detailing their findings.

previous story:

The parent of a Kindergartener at Central Elementary School in Larchmont/Mamaroneck filed a complaint with the Dept. of Education claiming racial desegregation. The result? Depends who you ask.

See the report on LoHud.  Larchmont’s Lou Young filed this report for WCBS.

Then, the letter that came today from Mamaroneck School District, reporting the results of a U.S. Dept.of Education civil rights probe, that caught even many parents at Central Elementary School, where these events took place, by surprise:

Dear Parents and Community Members,

In the fall of 2011, two Kindergarten families from Central School raised concerns about the racial/ethnic make-up of a particular Kindergarten class. While the District’s class placement guidelines require classes to be balanced by factors unrelated to race or ethnicity, these parents questioned whether the school’s administration had used race/ethnicity as part of the placement process and made a complaint to the Board of Education that the school’s administration had discriminated against a particular group of students.

In response to this serious complaint, the Board of Education asked the administration to conduct a review of Central’s class placement procedures and report the findings. In early November, the administration confirmed that Kindergarten students at Central were assigned to classrooms following district guidelines, which balance classes by gender, birthdate, daycare/nursery school attended, and special needs unrelated to race or ethnicity. On November 10, 2011, Central Principal Carol Priore and Superintendent Robert Shaps met with Kindergarten parents to respond to the initial complaint in an open forum and publicly reassure parents of the effort, care, and objective guidelines used to organize elementary classrooms in all our elementary schools.

In December of 2011, a parent formally filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s New York City Office of Civil Rights (OCR) about this issue. The District cooperated in the investigation –providing extensive documentation — and organized a series of interviews between OCR officials, Kindergarten teachers, Principal Priore, and district administration to describe our placement process in detail. In summarizing their findings, OCR found that our class placement guidelines are in fact race-neutral.

Typically, OCR also seeks to ensure that districts implement procedures in a consistent manner in compliance with federal law, and, in this case, OCR raised concerns about the consistent application of our placement procedures. Although we believe that the District application of its procedures was entirely proper, the District voluntarily entered into a resolution agreement with OCR to address OCR’s concerns that we “ensure that class assignment is based upon the consistent application of uniform criteria that does not have the effect of discriminating against students on the basis of race or national origin.” We continue to believe that our class placement procedures promote rich learning environments for all our students.

Moving forward, we will continue to maintain our existing policy of making class placement decisions without regard to race or ethnicity, assign students based upon the consistent application of our placement procedures, and ensure that our written procedures are clear to parents, teachers, and students. As a school district, we value the rich diversity of our community, families, and staff and believe it is what makes our school district special.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert I. Shaps
Superintendent of Schools

Nancy Pierson
President, Board of Education

 

photo: Central School by Jacqueline Silberbush

151 COMMENTS

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xanthe
xanthe
7 years ago

Thanks Polly

constance
constance
7 years ago

Two completely different versions of the same outcome.

Rights
Rights
7 years ago

I would recommend you take the OCR letter to your lawyer and I’m sure he’ll be able to explain it to you.

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

“The majority of the comments completely miss the point: the school violated federal civil rights laws and has agreed to oversight.”

This is simply NOT true! Did you even read the report? It is not even required to take race into account in K placement. Eastchester openly admitted that they don’t even look at race. All we were found guilty of is being ‘inconsistent’ in following our normal placement criteria. Yes, someone should have said ‘now, this seems odd!’ on the first day of school, but nobody found any evidence that we were specifically creating ‘minority classes’. Please, stop making us to be racist. If anything, Mamaroneck is so much more accepting than neighboring communities. And now this woman wants us to pay for her kid to go to Scarsdale?? The difference between Scarsdale and Mamaroneck is that in Scarsdale, the WHITE parents would be complaining about having too many minorities in the class. Good luck over there!

Most of you also miss the fact that she was offered another class. She wanted to transfer to the whitest school in the district. When she was denied, she wanted to be sent to one of the whitest DISTRICTS. If she didn’t have such obvious ulterior motives (and had any backing from other hispanic Central parents, which she does not), she’d have more credibility.

Mike Ross
Mike Ross
7 years ago

Polly:

“having worked as a journalist in many different media, that one must ask permission of a parent/guardian before showing the face of a person under 18 on TV or in the newspaper”

That’s simply not the case as you well know. I’m going downtown in a few minutes to cover the Occupy Wall Street protests, in the hope I get some saleable images. I can positively guarantee you there will be people under 18 in many of those images, and I can positively guarantee you no parental consent will be obtained before they’re published, because the publisher won’t know who they are or how to contact the parents.

To go to the other extreme, if someone under 18 is named and interviewed on camera, that might be different – although even there it’s a matter of balancing competing interests – the rights of the parents versus the rights of journalists to report a story. If there are good reasons why the parents should not be asked or informed and the story is in the public interest… “Congress shall make no law…”

larchmontneighbor
larchmontneighbor
7 years ago

The majority of the comments completely miss the point: the school violated federal civil rights laws and has agreed to oversight. The statements by the school board make the situation worse by omitting this fact. The district should apologize for the “inconsistent” application of its policies which caused a disparate impact. It doesn’t matter what the mother’s motives were or whether you like her- the violation of federal law was there. Don’t you want race neutral classrooms? The students deserve better.

xanthe
xanthe
7 years ago

Can someone please clarify why I sometimes see pictures with the faces blurred. Also why did the major news media blurr faces? When a minor is arrested they do not release the name or the picture. This is confusing . Thanks

Rights
Rights
7 years ago

It is in the public domain.

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