Racism at Serra High

June 30, 2020

Re: Racism at Serra High

Safe educational environments for Black students are increasingly rare. Equally scarce is the safety of all Blacks amid tyrant policing within their community environments. 

With tensions pressing from each angle, we are now witnessing the tipping point: the near collapse of a school and justice system that have thrived and benefited from the suppression of black excellence and existence. 

The suppression has its methodical roots in racism and oppression. Historically, the educational system has served as the stage to blindside and initiate black children with their first racist experiences. Here, they also experience the candidly critical and degrading lens in which their blackness is viewed by educators. 

The educators who operate in these suppression tactics clearly have not developed the qualifications and intentions to educate black students. Conversely, they have also not evolved to the highest educational standards as educators prior to licensing. California Teaching Credential standards maintain that an educator practice a mindset that connects with, teaches, and draws the best qualities out of all students with high regard to their culture and individuality. 

The California Education Code, the California Department of Education, and the San Diego Unified School District all publish regulations, policies, and procedures prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and intimidation in California Public Schools. However, due to lack of enforcement of these laws, the NAACP receives an ongoing flow of complaints that describe an array of legal violations in the learning environment. Several complaint investigations reveal that San Diego Unified School District knowingly inflicts harm on black students and their communities with various inequitable practices, and by allowing perpetual educator misconduct directed against blacks. Many complaints describe schools as protected hubs with pockets of the racism echoed in societal climates at large.

In such climates, black students walk to class through the halls of injustice, hoping to proceed unscathed. However, experience tells them the further they proceed in their education, the higher the likelihood of experiencing an educator practicing overt or covert racism.  Here, black students realize the cost of integration is being immersed in the toxicity of racist Educators. Here, black students are blinded and asphyxiated by smokescreens (of “educational equality”) & mirrors (reflecting oppressive acts).  

We take an unrelenting stance against such practices and hold every educator and staff member accountable for ALL actions against black students and their communities. We call for swift and immediate action regarding the unresolved case at Serra High School. 

Let the record reflect that in 2013, three educators made a conscious decision to paint their faces with dark brown paint to mimic a black bobsledder at a social engagement. Let the record also reflect that dressing in “black face” mirrors the disgraceful legacy and practice where white performers painted their face black to mimic characters that demeaned and dehumanized African Americans. Let the record further reflect, to date, hundreds of thousands of black students, black families, black educators and staff, the black community and countless other members of the public have also reviewed the educators pose and smile for the cameras as they celebrated in “black face”. 

We ALL observed their “black face” and the damaging after-effects.

The Educators decisions to bask in “black face” was a direct violation of: 

  • Our Human rights
  • Our Civil rights 
  • California Standards of the Teaching Profession 
  • Teacher’s code of ethics
  • Teacher’s code of conduct
  • California Education law 
  • California Dept of Education policy and procedures
  • San Diego Unified District administrative policies and procedures 
  • U.S. Dept of Education policy and procedures
  • Abuse of Power
  • Public Trust

Though the public has called for the resignation of all three of the educators that posed in “black face” and the public has initiated an active petition with nearly 800 of 1,000 signatures signed, only two of the educators have resigned, leaving one of the culprits at Serra High School.  This means, for the past 7 years, the safety of all students, especially black students, has been compromised and the educational environment was tainted. The inaction of district officials has allowed Joseph Schmidt to linger in an educational environment, making it easy to inflict further harm. We understand that Mr Schmidt is once again the subject of complaints from Serra High students.

The NAACP stands with the public in outrage and again call for action to eradicate racism on every school campus, including Serra High School, a Title 1 school.  

We demand the U.S. Dept of Education’s Office of Civil rights to take action. We call for action from the California Department of Education to audit the practices mentioned and the use of Title 1 funds at Serra High. We also call CDE to audit the other Title 1 schools within SDUSD (again) due to the many failures to take adequate actions against documented racism against black students. We call for the resignation of upper management and other SDUSD school officials who have allowed this matter, along with other racially charged atrocities against blacks to go unresolved under their watch. We DEMAND you uphold the applicable U.S, State, Federal, and all other laws set forth to protect our children. Enforcing the Safe Place to Learn Act is a fair place to start. 

Sincerely,

A Concerned Parent and Member of the NAACP San Diego Branch Education Committee 

A Letter from the Mayor of La Mesa

We have received the following letter from Dr Mark Arapostathis, after we met with him this past week. If you live, work or visit La Mesa, we encourage you to read this letter and become more informed about its governmental system, and the limits of the power of the elected officials over their own Police Department.

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We encourage La Mesa residents to heed the Mayor’s call and become involved in the city’s government.

NAACP San Diego Branch Signs on to Petition Drive for Change at Cajon Valley Unified School District

Juneteenth 2020

The NAACP San Diego Branch Executive Committee voted to partner with community organizations to sponsor a petition drive for equity in CVUSD schools.  The petition reads in part:

Schools should be the center of the community, and therefore should be reflective and representative of the entire community; however, the current state of our district does not meet our community’s diverse needs. Cajon Valley has the third highest expulsion rate of black students in the county. 8.2% of our black students have been suspended at least once compared to just 3.2% of our white students, even though black students make up just 6% of the district population and white students make up 47%. According to the most recent state testing data, black students disproportionately scored lower in both the English and math compared to their peers. The percentage of black students who did not meet standards in English Language Arts is 12% higher than the overall district average and 14% higher than the overall district average in mathematics. As educators who are in the classroom and learning environments with these students daily, we believe that this disparity is due to a lack of culturally relevant and responsive teaching practices and resources. Ignoring the needs of our black community does not put Cajon Valley at the forefront of innovative school districts, and it does not adequately prepare black children to participate in the World of Work.

The petition goes on to recommend 11 specific actions to achieve the equity that Cajon Valley students are promised by law.  The NAACP San Diego Branch urges its members to sign this petition, reproduced in full below (or visit the original at https://linktr.ee/cvusdpetition.)

To sign, please visit: https://forms.gle/yomFJXizWQNkRVbX8

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Redistricting Commission Deadline Approaches

One of the most important things that happens after the census (you have filled out the census, haven’t you?  If not, visit my2020census.gov) is redistricting.  Nothing affects our political landscape more than how our districts are drawn; they group voters together and split voters apart.  This can make all the difference when it comes to which communities are actually represented and which ones are not.

We invite you to read about and apply to the City of San Diego’s Redistricting Commission; it is one of the best ways you can serve your community. Hurry, because you need to apply by June 30th!

The nomination/application form can be found on-line, which requires certain background information regarding the nominee/applicant, and a statement of qualifications either written by the applicant or prepared and signed by an officer of the organization expressing the reasons why the group/individual believes the nominee/ applicant is qualified for the office of Redistricting Commissioner. If nominated the nominee must also sign a form accepting the nomination, sign off on all disclosures, and file a paper copy of their Statement of Economic Interest (Form 700). 

Under the sanctions of City Charter section 5.1, a panel of three retired judges will appoint nine members to the Commission and must attempt to appoint one Commission member from each of the nine Council districts to the extent practicable. The individuals selected must give the Commission geographic, social and ethnic diversity, and have a demonstrated capacity to serve with impartiality in a non-partisan role. They must be registered to vote in the City of San Diego, and must serve until the redistricting plan they adopt becomes effective. Appointments will be made no later than November 1, 2020.  

Please note that nominations/applications must be postmarked by June 30, 2020 and due to the current public health emergency will only be accepted via U.S. Mail sent to The Office of the City Clerk, 202 C Street, MS2A San Diego, CA 92101.

Here is some additional information:

Clerk Website – https://www.sandiego.gov/city-clerk/redistricting-commission

Charter Section – https://docs.sandiego.gov/citycharter/Article%20II.pdf

Municipal Code Section – https://docs.sandiego.gov/municode/MuniCodeChapter02/Ch02Art07Division14.pdf

Follow the Money — In YOUR Community

COVID-19 has upended all our lives and all our budgets, and the governments in our region have been upended as well.  All our cities are scrambling to deal with the loss of tax revenue that has come from the need to suspend so much activity.  No matter what city or town or village you live in, decisions are being made right now that will drastically affect the services you rely on.

Now, more than ever, you need to be informed and make your voice heard.  We know that those communities who are not heard will be the ones hit hardest by the cuts.  Furthermore, affluent communities are always heard; we must not let their voice be the only ones heard.

In the City of San Diego, a report was recently issued by the Independent Budget Analyst discussing the effects of some of the proposals for budget revisions.  If you live in San Diego, you need to read this document!  A similar document for Chula Vista is here. If you don’t live in one of those two cities, you need to find your city’s equivalent, and read that.

You can make a difference by being informed and speaking up!

(By the way, please do the NAACP San Diego Branch a favor; if you dig up information on your City’s plans, please email it to us at [email protected].)

Redistricting in the City of San Diego

One of the most important things that happens after the census (you have filled out the census, haven’t you?  If not, visit my2020census.gov) is redistricting.  Nothing affects our political landscape more than how our districts are drawn; they group voters together and split voters apart.  This can make all the difference when it comes to which communities are actually represented and which ones are not.

We invite you to read about and apply to the City of San Diego’s Redistricting Commission; it is one of the best ways you can serve your community!

2020 SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION CANDIDATES DEBATE- SAN DIEGO

We received the following announcement:

The PSRO (Parent-Student-Resident Organization) will be hosting a virtual 2020 debate for the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education candidates. Please find the meet the candidates’ information attached.

The goal of this public debate on Education is to listen to our 2020 Board of Education candidates and have a meaningful and respectful dialogue among parents, students, and residents about who will best represent their voices at the SDUSD Board of Education. The candidates will be answering and discussing Area-specific and District-wide questions.

Friday May 29th, 2020
4 – 6:30PM

Please join us through Zoom, Facebook, or conference call through the link below.

Please RSVP and submit your Area-specific and District-wide questions.  https://bit.ly/psro-debate2020

TRANSLATION WILL BE PROVIDEDRSVP (See languages)

Join through:

1.     ZOOM: Join Zoom Meeting 
https://zoom.us/j/98707717072

Meeting ID: 987 0771 7072 
              One tap mobile 
             +16699006833,,98707717072# US (San Jose) 
            +12532158782,,98707717072# US (Tacoma)

2.     Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/543904169590137

MEET-THE-CANDIDATES