District Deeds Sunday Reads – December 29, 2019: Educating Black Kids Wrong in the 2010’s; Supporting Latinx Special Ed Familes; School District Legal Liability Examples


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Here are some interesting articles we received and discovered this past week…



Here’s How We Got Educating Black Kids Wrong Again in the 2010s

Quote from Article:

Congratulations, America! You’ve once again managed to provide the shittiest public education for Black students and families. So as we close out this decade and enter a new year, I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting some of these moments, policies and practices that have upheld your deep-rooted oppression!



In 2016, we allowed what has to be the world’s most notorious ignoramus and renowned racist—Donald Trump—into the White House. His agenda was to undo everything President Obama did, including guidelines that protected students of color.


Black students—specifically Black boys—were (and are) being suspended at significantly higher rates than White students with obvious effects on their academic achievement. So this was a step in the right direction. But for no good reason at all, Donald gave marching orders to one of his minions—U.S. Department of Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos—that rolled back those guidelines.

So while we were once on a path to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline and closing the achievement gap, Donald and Betsy stopped us dead in our tracks. At this rate, why waste time? Just send Black kids right to jail.



I’ve never watched that show called “The Masked Singer” but I think we should do a spin-off called “The Masked Progressive” where everyday liberals, politicians and community leaders are exposed for their fake advocacy and false promises to marginalized communities. 

Politicians have caught wind of Black people’s dwindling support and are rebranding themselves as progressives to win their votes. But deep down inside, they’re still self-serving politicians trying to protect their own interests and privilege.


While one of their recommendations is to improve the traditional system overall, they haven’t come out publicly with a plan. So while they were adding fuel to the “burn charter schools” bonfire and focusing their energies on Virginia’s governor to resign because he wore blackface, Black faces were still suffering in racist schools.

Despite calling Booker out and pushback on Warren and the NAACP, they still continue with their agendas to suppress parent choice and ignore their voice. And at the end of the day, Black people don’t need anymore skinfolk that ain’t kinfolk or politicians more interested in protecting the status quo speaking on our behalf.




Teachers unions, their paid politicians and organizational leaders don’t believe in giving parents choice or supporting their rights. That’s why they launched a full-blown assault on school choice in the 2010s which in my eyes, is an attack on Black families. 

The attacks really kicked off 2012 when the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike, using charter schools as a scapegoat for traditional school failures. Ever since then, unions around the country have been emboldened—striking at the drop of a hat and riding this narrative that charter schools are destroying the traditional public school system. 

For the record, if anything is being destroyed, it’s the futures of Black kids who are still stuck in failing schools governed by this traditional system that was never designed to help them succeed. And as an honorable mention, if traditional schools were doing their damn jobs, charter schools wouldn’t even exist.



The last 10 years have screamed, “Hey Black kids, we don’t believe in you and you shouldn’t believe in yourselves!”

Exhibit A: the Opportunity Myth.

In 2018, The National Teachers Project conducted a study that confirmed what many of us already knew—teachers were giving Black students coursework below their grade level simply because they didn’t believe they could achieve at a higher level

How are kids supposed to believe they can be somebody when teachers’ implicit and explicit biases and the belief gap tell them they can’t?

Then just in 2018 and 2019 alone, MemphisHoustonNew OrleansWashington D.C. and a few other cities were at the center of controversy for schemes involving changing students’ grades and academic records. 

The T.M. Landry College Preparatory School scandal is the most outrageous with allegations of physical and mental abuse towards students and forced, bogus lies on college applications that sent students to Ivy League schools thirsty to meet diversity quotas.

And all of these schools had majority Black student populations.



I made light of these situations in my opening but all jokes and snarky sarcasm aside, the state of public education and treatment of Black students is no laughing matter. Because while there has been some progression, these policies and practices embedded in and influenced by systemic racism and historic oppression that have left Black students lagging at the tail-end of the achievement gap. 

Looking at the past and where we are now, I don’t have much faith in the “powers that be” to equalize public education for Black kids. In fact, I expect them to keep pretending like they’re doing the best they can to educate Black kids and acting like Black kids just can’t learn.

My faith lies entirely in our communities. We’re tired. We’re catching wind of the B.S. and we’re slowly but surely fighting back. And because of that, we’ll turn things around for our kids.

SHARE THIS HOPE + OUTRAGE I want to start a movement where people of color feel compelled and empowered to advocate for better education, so every week I’m sharing some HOPE and OUTRAGE right here. But I’m not writing this to be famous, I’m doing this because our youth need all of us in this fight.

District Deeds Synopsis:

This article explores a wide variety of betrayals by the so-called “progressive” political wing that includes the super majority (5-0) of Democrats currently serving as Trustees on the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD)/

From support by the Trustees of the incompetent Elementary School Superintendent (ESS) Cindy Marten “White Women Mafia” to the educational disaster in many District schools south of the 8, to the overt denial by Trustee “Tricky Dick” Barrera of successful charter schools in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods,  the issues listed in this article are a checklist for the operational, financial and educational SDUSD mismanagment in relation to SDUSD Black Students.

We urge all our readers to click on each of the 45 links providedin this article to fully understand the scope of this educational crisis and also urge you to SHARE THIS HOPE + OUTRAGE  article with your comments on Facebook.

Our kids are depending on us!

Supporting Latinx Families in Special Education Decisions

When an English learner is evaluated for a disability, educators must take time to engage families in the process.

Quote from Article:

Carlos excelled in math. He was a polite, hardworking student who loved playing soccer. But Carlos struggled with reading and writing; in 4th grade, he was reading at a pre-primer level, and he was eventually referred for special education services.

There were other difficulties in Carlos’s life. He was born in the United States, but his parents had been born in Honduras, and in 2017—the year Carlos was in 4th grade—the Trump administration threatened to eliminate the Temporary Protected Status visa for people from Honduras.1  Because Carlos’s family had already experienced family separation due to deportation, they were understandably nervous and hesitant to engage with the school.

The school psychologist sent notifications to Carlos’s parents about upcoming meetings to discuss his academic needs. When his family didn’t come to these meetings, she assumed they were uninterested in participating in Carlos’s education. This was not the case.

Carlos (a pseudonym) is a former student at Crestwood Elementary School in Las Vegas, where I am a special educator. I became aware that Carlos’s access to receiving special education services was delayed because of a miscommunication with his family, who didn’t understand the technical, wordy letter they received in the mail. I intervened because I’ve yet to meet a family that is uninterested in the well-being of their child. I’d seen this kind of situation before and knew I could help.


Navigating Two Worlds

Unlike many first-generation students, I was able to maintain my cultural and linguistic identities. But it wasn’t easy in school, where my language and culture weren’t valued. Like everyone in my family, I go by my middle name—Juliana. Yet throughout school, teachers automatically called me by my first name—Laura—with an English pronunciation. This made me feel like I was a whole other person at school, and as if the real me didn’t fully belong. My parents asked the schools I attended if they could participate in my education by teaching courses in Spanish and music (which they eventually did)—but they weren’t necessarily invited.

My experiences as a student have allowed me, as a teacher, to navigate both worlds—those of school systems and first-generation Latinx families. What I’ve experienced helps me understand the unnamed reasons for many education disparities, including access to special education services.

To work successfully with Latinx families to ensure students receive the right supports, including disability services when appropriate, it’s important to begin from a place of empathy. We must seek to better understand Latinx families. Within the diverse Latinx community, each person experiences the United States differently—in terms of access to learning English, job and financial security, housing, work visas, and citizenship pathways. Each of these factors makes our families unique and layered.


Supporting Families Through a Special Education Evaluation

Just as parental support can be defined differently, cultural groups hold various perceptions of the word disability. While I don’t want to overgeneralize, parents from many Latin American countries might perceive this word as referring to a visible disability or medical condition; they may be perplexed or resistant when it’s suggested their child has a disability. As educators, our role is to understand how the family defines disability, then join with that family to co-construct a definition of disability that fits the situation and needs of their child—a definition focused on the child’s strengths and potential.


Respect from the First Contact

Respecting parents’ knowledge—and their time—is part of offering support. Reminding families that you value their knowledge about their offspring demonstrates your commitment to making the child’s education responsive to his full identity. I kept this in mind when I approached Carlos’s family after learning about the delay with his special education services. I first called and reintroduced myself, reminding them that I’d gotten to know Carlos—his personality and interests—because he was in my weekly Garden Club. I then asked the family about their preferences on meeting times and types. Did they feel comfortable coming to the school, or would they prefer a phone conference? Would they like to talk to me informally before the formal special education evaluation meeting, so we could get to know each other better and I could explain the process of evaluating a child’s need for special education services?


Gaining Consent

When a school has determined that academic and/or behavioral interventions within the general education setting haven’t addressed a student’s needs, the school typically moves forward with an evaluation for eligibility for special education services under one of 13 categories. The school must get informed written consent from the parents or guardians for this evaluation. After the evaluation, schools must also get parental consent before designing a student’s individualized education program (IEP).

I’ve encountered many families who feel uncomfortable with and perhaps do not fully understand the process. Yet they give consent. Perhaps they feel pressured, or perhaps it’s difficult for them to express their need for time to process before deciding. Are school teams truly achieving consent if we don’t first have a trusting, knowledgeable, and collaborative relationship? Many Latinx families, particularly parents and caregivers who have had limited access to formal schooling, may defer to what the teacher thinks is best, even for important decisions. But this does not signify full engagement in the decision. The school needs to assess the power dynamics of the situation and create space for families to feel their knowledge will be respected by school staff.


Helping Parents Be Informed and Heard

As we supported Carlos’s family through the referral, the initial team meeting to determine eligibility to receive services, and the initial IEP meeting, I knew it was key that they understood what was happening—and their right to speak up. Before each meeting, I called Carlos’s parents and explained exactly what the upcoming meeting would be about. I told them that at any point they could stop to ask questions, schedule meeting extensions if they weren’t ready to make a decision, or withhold consent. Carlos’s father became a team member who voiced opinions and questions.


Replacing Barriers with Opportunities

For many families like Carlos’s, the friction between a system that expects them to engage with their child’s education in “typical” ways and their own fears of deportation or discrimination is a barrier that keeps them from fully participating in schools. This is true for English learners who don’t have defined disabilities as much as for those who do. So how can schools design systems that replace barriers with opportunities?

  • ▪ Confront Inequity: To provide a just education and have healthy school-family-community partnerships, educators must become aware of—and commit to addressing—inequities in their personal and professional lives, including biases. We must address the ways we’ve allowed communities of color and/or people with disabilities to be marginalized, including in school routines and in procedures such as scheduling, dress code enforcement, and access to higher-level courses.3 
  • ▪ Change Unfair Policies: Understand that certain school and social policies, such as those that criminalize the Latinx community, harm communities of color and people with disabilities. Educators cannot afford to be silent or complacent. Building relationships with families that belong to these communities, making them feel comfortable, heard, and supported is part of countering racist and xenophobic polices. Begin to change the world by adjusting the culture in your school.
  • ▪ Shift the “Normalcy” Paradigm: Educators have to be prepared to shift the paradigm in which education and society operates, recognizing that our notion of “normal” in education is often a reflection of faulty assumptions based on privilege and ableism. Yes, we need to be honest and objective if a disability affects a child’s ability to learn and thrive. But let’s do so without communicating implicit ideas of normativity. Help all students know they are not “ab-normal” or “sub-categorical”.
  • ▪ Adopt an Asset-Minded Approach: Welcoming language differences is at the heart of inclusive schools. Of course, all teachers can’t be fluent in Spanish, but we should be fluent in recognizing the strengths that diverse families bring to the table.
  • ▪ Advocate for PD: Many teachers have little training in how to work with students or families from cultural, linguistic, or racial backgrounds different from their own. We must advocate for professional development that offers such training—and also take that learning into our own hands.

As we affirm the reality that children, families, and communities of color are inherently capable and ready to participate in school-based learning, actions like those discussed here can help us design educational spaces that value and celebrate the whole child, family, and community—from every culture a school serves. For children with disabilities and others, we can build culturally and linguistically appropriate bridges. Those bridges are us—educators.

Apoyando a las familias latinx en las decisiones de educación especial

Cita del artículo:

Carlos sobresalió en matemáticas. Era un estudiante cortés y trabajador al que le encantaba jugar fútbol. Pero a Carlos le costaba leer y escribir; en cuarto grado, estaba leyendo en un nivel de pre-primer, y finalmente fue derivado a servicios de educación especial.

Hubo otras dificultades en la vida de Carlos. Nació en los Estados Unidos, pero sus padres habían nacido en Honduras, y en 2017, el año en que Carlos estaba en cuarto grado, la administración Trump amenazó con eliminar la visa de Estatus de Protección Temporal para personas de Honduras.1 Porque la familia de Carlos había Ya experimentaron la separación familiar debido a la deportación, estaban comprensiblemente nerviosos y vacilantes para comprometerse con la escuela.

El psicólogo de la escuela envió notificaciones a los padres de Carlos sobre las próximas reuniones para discutir sus necesidades académicas. Cuando su familia no asistió a estas reuniones, ella asumió que no les interesaba participar en la educación de Carlos. Este no era el caso.

Carlos (seudónimo) es un ex alumno de la Escuela Primaria Crestwood en Las Vegas, donde soy un educador especial. Me di cuenta de que el acceso de Carlos a recibir servicios de educación especial se retrasó debido a una falta de comunicación con su familia, que no entendió la carta técnica y verbal que recibieron por correo. Interviní porque todavía no he conocido a una familia que no esté interesada en el bienestar de sus hijos. Había visto este tipo de situación antes y sabía que podía ayudar.



A diferencia de muchos estudiantes de primera generación, pude mantener mis identidades culturales y lingüísticas. Pero no fue fácil en la escuela, donde mi idioma y cultura no eran valorados. Como todos en mi familia, yo uso mi segundo nombre: Juliana. Sin embargo, en toda la escuela, los maestros automáticamente me llamaban por mi primer nombre, Laura, con una pronunciación en inglés. Esto me hizo sentir como si fuera otra persona en la escuela, y como si el verdadero yo no perteneciera completamente. Mis padres preguntaron a las escuelas a las que asistía si podían participar en mi educación impartiendo cursos en español y música (lo que eventualmente hicieron), pero no fueron necesariamente invitados.

Mis experiencias como estudiante me han permitido, como maestra, navegar en ambos mundos: los de los sistemas escolares y las familias latinx de primera generación. Lo que he experimentado me ayuda a comprender las razones sin nombre de muchas disparidades educativas, incluido el acceso a servicios de educación especial.

Para trabajar con éxito con las familias latinx para garantizar que los estudiantes reciban los apoyos adecuados, incluidos los servicios para discapacitados cuando sea apropiado, es importante comenzar desde un lugar de empatía. Debemos tratar de comprender mejor a las familias latinx. Dentro de la diversa comunidad latina, cada persona experimenta los Estados Unidos de manera diferente, en términos de acceso al aprendizaje del inglés, seguridad laboral y financiera, vivienda, visas de trabajo y vías de ciudadanía. Cada uno de estos factores hace que nuestras familias sean únicas y en capas.



Así como el apoyo de los padres puede definirse de manera diferente, los grupos culturales tienen diversas percepciones de la palabra discapacidad. Si bien no quiero generalizar en exceso, los padres de muchos países latinoamericanos pueden percibir esta palabra como una discapacidad o condición médica visible; pueden estar perplejos o resistentes cuando se sugiere que su hijo tiene una discapacidad. Como educadores, nuestro papel es comprender cómo la familia define la discapacidad, luego unirnos a esa familia para construir una definición de discapacidad que se ajuste a la situación y las necesidades de su hijo, una definición centrada en las fortalezas y el potencial del niño.



Respetar el conocimiento de los padres, y su tiempo, es parte de ofrecer apoyo. Recordarles a las familias que valoras sus conocimientos sobre su descendencia demuestra tu compromiso de hacer que la educación del niño responda a su identidad completa. Lo recordé cuando me acerqué a la familia de Carlos después de enterarme de la demora con sus servicios de educación especial. Primero llamé y me presenté nuevamente, recordándoles que había llegado a conocer a Carlos, su personalidad e intereses, porque estaba en mi Garden Club semanal. Luego le pregunté a la familia acerca de sus preferencias sobre los horarios y tipos de reuniones. ¿Se sintieron cómodos viniendo a la escuela o preferirían una conferencia telefónica? ¿Les gustaría hablar conmigo informalmente antes de la reunión formal de evaluación de educación especial, para poder conocernos mejor y explicarles el proceso de evaluar la necesidad de un niño de servicios de educación especial?



Cuando una escuela ha determinado que las intervenciones académicas y / o conductuales dentro del entorno de educación general no han abordado las necesidades de un estudiante, la escuela generalmente avanza con una evaluación de elegibilidad

District Deeds Synopsis:

We decided to provide a large part of this article for our readers and also provide a Spanish translation (Google translate-please forgive grammatical errors) that can be passed on to Families that are more fluent in Spanish.

Having attended IEP and other meetings to assist on behalf of Spanish speaking parents, the examples and guidelines provided in this article need to be implemented IMMEDIATELY by the SDUSD.  From our experience there are many huge gaps that exist in communication and process by many well meaning school site Counselors and administrators that have been given horrible support by SDUSD senior leadership in dealing with the unique needs of Latinx families.

Unfortunately it is evident that the gross operational incompetence of ESS Marten and her crony crew of equally incompetent senior administrators are completely unable to adequately supply SDUSD school site Administrators and Counselors the tools needed to fairly and equitably support the thousands of Latinx families.

Marten, Barrera and their cronies are a disgrace to educational leadership!

To What Extent are Districts, Schools Liable for Students’ Safety?

Here’s how the courts have weighed in and what their decisions mean for school accountability.

Quote from Article:

While a school’s primary goal is to educate students, another priority is providing a safe environment. It’s a responsibility enforced in federal, state and local laws, but ultimately, students can — and do — get hurt. And when they do, many blame the school or district.

Getting scraped up during recess, for instance, isn’t new. Neither is getting made fun of by a classmate. Some medical experts call falls and broken bones “inevitable,” and some scholars cite teasing as an “important preparation for life.” But more severe issues, including sexual harassment, cyberbullying and school shootings are increasingly penetrating classrooms, spurring legal disputes over who’s responsible.


School shootings
M.S.D. of Martinsville v. Rebecca Jackson

What happened: In March 2011, two students at West Martinsville Middle School in Indiana were injured in a shooting: One, who was shot twice in the stomach, was targeted by the shooter — a former student known to threaten and harass his peers — according to court documents.

Though the shooter threatened the victim several times — and threats were reported to teachers before the shooting — teachers didn’t tell the administration, court documents say. Additionally, in the suit, the victim’s mother said the district didn’t protect her son because certain school entrances were left unlocked and monitors weren’t properly warned about the shooter being a threat, among other alleged safety breaches.

What this means: This ruling shows schools or districts can be found liable if evidence proves the event could have reasonably been prevented, either because officials had reason to believe it would take place or if their response protocol wasn’t sufficiently implemented.


Scarlett Lewis, et al. v. Newtown Board of Education and Town of Newtown

What happened: In one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

On the day of the shooting, the school had a new security system that required visitors to be visibly identified to get buzzed into the building. Though doors to the school were locked when he got there, Lanza used an assault rifle to shoot his way in.

Parents of two children who died sued the town and the Newtown Board of Education, arguing school officials didn’t follow security protocol and that there wasn’t sufficient staff training for lockdowns, according to court documents. The town requested summary judgment, and a Superior Court judge granted the motion.

What this means: According to this ruling, school officials can have similar protections to police officers. Even if a school has a safety protocol, it’s hard to force people to have scripted emergency responses without taking split-second judgment into account. And if someone gets hurt, it’s not necessarily something for which a school or district is liable.


Sexual misconduct
Mitchell v. Cedar Rapids Community School District

What happened: A 9th-grade special education student in Iowa was “rarely, if ever, without direct adult supervision because of her diminished capacity,” according to official documents. Teachers thought she was in a relationship with a 12th-grade special education student and were concerned they might become sexually active, the documents say.

One day, the 9th-grader got her mother’s permission to go to a friend’s house after school, but she skipped last period. The 12th-grader raped her that afternoon. While the school day had ended when the rape happened, the girl’s mom didn’t know her daughter missed last period, and there were no special requirements for handling absences in her Individualized Education Program (IEP). Her mother sued the district for negligence, failing to monitor her daughter and notify her in a timely manner.

The district argued that because the rape didn’t happen during school hours or on school grounds, it wasn’t legally liable. But the Iowa Supreme Court ruled it could have been prevented.

What this means: This ruling doesn’t imply a district or school is legally obligated to protect students outside of school hours or off school grounds in non-school activities. However, it does show that in certain cases, if evidence shows it either could have predicted or prevented such an incident from happening, they could be liable.


Shawnee Mathis, et al. v. Wayne County Board of Education, et al.

What happened: Two Tennessee parents sued the Board of Education in Wayne County after their sons were allegedly sexually assaulted and harassed by boys on their middle school basketball team. The victims, both 7th-graders, allegedly faced sexual harassment from 8th-grade teammates, and these incidents later escalated to sexual assault, court documents say.

After the coach first heard about the incident, he allegedly didn’t report it. One boy’s parent later told the school, and the 8th-graders who were responsible were suspended for 10 days. The other boy’s parent went to the school with concerns about what happened, but the suit alleges the principal didn’t seem too troubled by it.

The suit alleges Wayne County Schools officials were “very calloused” about the incidents and that the boys were subjected to sexual harassment, which violated their Title IX rights. After years of litigation, an appeals court upheld a verdict ruled in favor of the families.

What this means: Students and families who file suit often face many hurdles in proving a school or district is liable. According to the Associated Press, districts in some states — including Virginia and Georgia — have “absolute immunity” from state-level lawsuits, while others, such as Florida, cap amounts schools must pay in damages. It’s possible for a school to be held accountable, but it can be a high bar to hit.


After reading through these examples of lawsuits and court cases we felt it would help inform many families that have faced similar injury situations in with their kids in SDUSD schools.
As our readers know, the SDUSD is spending millions of taxpayer dollars each year to legally crush any family that dares to file a lawsuit for injuries or damages to their innocent children.  Even more dispicable and unethical is the strategy by ESS Marten, Tricky Dick Barrera and SDUSD Legal Departement is to create a phony “Quality Assurance Office” that immediately delivers all the confidentlal complaints from parents to the SDUSD Legal Department to undermine any lawsuits brought forward by those complaining parents.
Dispicable and Unethical…just the standard operating procedure for the current SDUSD Superintendent and Board of Education.

Now for our Quote of the Week:

“The strongest thing that any human being has going for itself is its own integrity and its own heart. As soon as you start veering away from that, the solidity that you need to stand up for what you believe in, just isn’t going to be there.” – Herbie Hancock

Have a great week!!!



  • Your family has been injured by the San Diego Unified School District, go to the District Deeds Complaint Forms page to find instructions to fight for your Civil Rights!

Please Click the Link Below and sign the Petition Today and READ the COMMENTS to Support the REMOVAL of Marten by SDUSD Stakeholders!

FIRE San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten Immediately!

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About District Deeds

Mr. Engle is a blogger dedicated to investigating the San Diego Unified School District. His blog, District Deeds, strives to create transparency to the "deeds" the SDUSD hides from the SDUSD Stakeholders - Students - Parents - Teachers - Administrators - Community Members

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