Stay up to date with our responses to CUSD and our community
This summer we learned from Black alumni and students that racial harassment occurs in the Coronado schools. Parents, students, teachers and coaches spoke out and demanded that the school immediately stop allowing this. We called for a ban on racial slurs and any form of harassment and to fire teachers who violate this new guideline.
We expected a strong anti-harassment policy to be rolled out this Fall. Instead, not enough has been done to address this. A broader effort with leadership and clear communication is urgently needed. Here is how we suggest CUSD build a strong policy to ensure our students are free from harassment:
Use clear language in the Disciplinary Action Guide (DAG) to ban slurs and harassment. In September, you added “the use of biased language” into the DAG: this language is confusing and vague. You must make the new guideline explicitly clear by stating “racial slurs and any form of harassment based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or abilities is banned”.
Use equity to determine the discipline level. The DAG already set the disciplinary standard at a Level 4 when emotional distress is caused by cyberbullying. Since harassment also causes emotional distress, apply the same standard. Add a Level 4 discipline to the new anti-harassment guideline.
Reach out to BlPOC in our school community to learn how the current complaint process could improve so that students will use it and ask how to help students if they are harassed.
Add an on-line option on your website where students can report any hate-based incidents.
Inform all Principals and Vice Principals. Meet with your leaders and inform them of past violations, why you created the new anti-harassment policy, the consistent discipline that will be applied and that they will be held accountable for teaching all staff about this new policy.
Write a strong, clear policy for all teachers and staff stating that using racial slurs is unacceptable and termination will result if this policy is violated. Adults must be held accountable to model the behavior we want from our students.
Ask teachers and coaches what kind of training they need to teach no tolerance of racial harassment. We learned racial harassment happens in the classroom, on the playground, in the cafeteria, on the sports teams and in the online breakout sessions during distance learning.
Train your coaches. Coaches and players told us of racial harassment in CUSD sports teams. Train coaches about the new anti-harassment policy and inform them they will be held accountable for consistently disciplining players who commit violations.
Keep students and parents informed as these actions are taken.You do not need a two-year equity planning process to implement these changes. One student’s complaint is enough to be a catalyst for change, you’ve heard from multiple parents, alumni and students. There is no excuse to delay, and we are here to support if, and when needed. We care deeply that all our students are treated with respect. Show leadership to ensure this happens by clearly communicating a new, strong anti-harassment policy to all students, parents, staff, coaches and principals.
We are better than this. Coronado must avoid the ugly divisiveness tearing apart so many other places in the US. These fevered times require civility, goodwill, and mutual understanding- not irrational fear-mongering and conspiratorial misinformation. Recently, efforts to enact CUSD’s Equity Action Plan have been mischaracterized by one opponent as a “Marxist”, by another as a “Nazi”, to brainwash our kids. Such vitriol is detrimental for our school system, uninviting for our community, and, most importantly, stands as a terrible role model for our students. So, let’s get the facts straight and find a way to move forward as a unified community- doing what’s sensible, avoiding needless divisions, and responding to reality, not groundless fears.
CUSD’s Equity Board Policy goals are to:
- Enact clear consequences for racial slurs.
- Form a committee that will create an Equity Action Plan that will provide a safe place for students of color and a more diverse and inclusive school district.
- Establish a forum of stakeholders such as parents, teachers, and students in order to share experiences and perspectives on this very important matter.
Our local need is clear. Coronado students, alumni (including our former captain of the football team), and parents have endured racial harassment, bullying, and slurs- including being called the N-word or told they stink and have AIDS. Up until now, CUSD has lacked effective policies to deal with such outrageous behavior. This isn’t a question of politicizing our schools; it is just simple decency and standard educational practice.
Donna Manning, on behalf of InclusioNado
On August 10, superintendent Karl Mueller released a copy of Ms. Foley’s Board Policy on Equity. At the June 18 school board meeting, the Board tasked the district with developing an Action Plan on Racism after the community overwhelmingly demanded that CUSD address pervasive racism. During the eight weeks that have passed, the district has not reached out to students of color, their families, or key staff to learn what changes need to occur within CUSD. No surveys were sent out to students of color or their families asking for input into the plan. The policy focuses primarily on academic achievement and equity; however, academic achievement has never been cited by any CUSD Black students this summer as a concern to them, nor is it reflected in CUSD’s 2018 Learning Report.
This plan should not be a “one size fits all” approach intended for a school with different issues. Ms. Foley cites codes that reference homeless children, foster youth, and migrant education programs. Students of color are described in this document as “marginalized learners” who have “impediments to learning.” These terms are offensive and untrue and do not reflect the concerns shared by students or families.
Having polled over 200 students, families, and alumni, we at InclusioNado have found that racism and bigotry do exist in CUSD. The students who spoke at the march, the videos and stories posted on the Coronado Times, Sasha Hofisi’s video, and the data we have collected indicate that the issues that need to be addressed include:
- the prolific use of racial slurs
- the lack of discipline when slurs are used
- the Anglo-centric curriculum
- the lack of diversity among the teaching staff
- the lack of teacher training on bias and racism.
We know of many Black students who have left the district and are now at Francis Parker and other elite private schools because they and their parents were tired of the overt racism and harassment, and they tired of their complaints going unaddressed. Clearly, these students are not academically or financially disadvantaged. In Mr. Mueller’s July 1 interview in the Eagle, he listed the need to address racism through discipline policies. He also stated that he hopes to “continue the dialogue with the student body” in order to learn; and yet, to our knowledge, he has not reached out to students of color or their parents this summer. Why does the Action Plan on Racism (now the Equity Plan) not address the issue Mr. Mueller proposed? In the following pages, we will highlight just some of the ways in which this plan is not relevant to the concerns and complaints of students of color or their families in CUSD.
CSBA Sample Board Policy
Philosophy, Goals, Objectives, and Comprehensive Plans
Note: The following optional policy addresses district recognition and response to the unique barriers facing each segment of the district’s student population.
Pursuant to Education Code 201, California schools have an affirmative obligation to combat racism, sexism, and other forms of bias, and have a responsibility to provide equal educational opportunity to all students. Education Code 51007 requires that all students enrolled in the state’s public elementary and secondary schools, regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, geographic location, or socioeconomic background, shall have equitable access to educational programs designed to strengthen technological skills, including, but not limited to, computer education programs. Education Code 220 further prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, immigration status, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that is contained in the definition of hate crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code in any program or activity conducted by the district.
The Governing Board believes that the diversity that exists among the district’s community of students, staff, parents/guardians, and community members is integral to the district’s vision, mission, and goals. Addressing the needs of the most marginalized learners requires recognition of the inherent value of diversity and acknowledgement that educational excellence requires a commitment to equity in the opportunities provided to students and the resulting outcomes.
(cf. 0000 -Vision)
(cf. 0100 -Philosophy)
(cf. 0200 -Goals for the School District)
(cf. 0410 -Nondiscrimination in District Programs and Activities)
(cf. 5145.3 -Nondiscrimination/Harassment)
In order to eradicate institutional bias of any kind, including implicit or unintentional biases and prejudices that affect student achievement, and to eliminate disparities in educational outcomes for students from historically underserved and underrepresented populations, the district shall proactively identify class and cultural biases as well as practices, policies, and institutional barriers that negatively influence student learning, perpetuate achievement gaps, and impede equal access to opportunities for all students. The Board shall make decisions with deliberate awareness of impediments to learning faced by students of color and/or diverse cultural, linguistic, or socioeconomic backgrounds. To ensure that equity is the intentional result of district decisions, the Board shall consider whether its decisions address the needs of students from racial, ethnic, and indigent communities and remedy the inequities that such communities experienced in the context of a history of exclusion, discrimination, and segregation.
Board decisions shall not rely on biased or stereotypical assumptions about any particular group of students.
(cf. 6173 -Education for Homeless Children)
(cf. 6173.1 -Education for Foster Youth)
(cf. 6174 -Education for English Learners)
(cf. 6175 -Migrant Education Program)
(cf. 9000 -Role of the Board)
(cf. 9310 -Board Policies)
The Board and the Superintendent or designee shall develop and implement policies and strategies to promote equity in district programs and activities, through measures such as the following:
1. Routinely assessing student needs based on data disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and socio-economic and cultural backgrounds in order to enable an equity-focused policy, planning, and resource development decisions
(cf. 0400 -Comprehensive Plans)
(cf. 0460 -Local Control and Accountability Plan)
(cf. 6162.5 -Student Assessment)
Note: Pursuant to 20 USC 6311, states must publish per-pupil expenditures, including personnel expenditures and non-personnel expenditures, by the school. Districts can analyze this financial data, along with other data sources, to ensure equitable allocation of financial and human resources across the district.
2. Analyzing expenditures and allocating financial and human resources in a manner that provides all students with equitable access to district programs, support services, and opportunities for success and promotes equity and inclusion in the district. Such resources include access to high-quality administrators, teachers, and other school personnel; funding; technology, equipment, textbooks, and other instructional materials; facilities; and community resources or partnerships.
No students of color or their parents have expressed a need for equitable access to services. They have, however, expressed the desire to have an Assistant Principal who has not used the n-word to a group of students. To them, that type of administrator is not “high quality.” They have also asked that administrators be “high quality” by addressing their complaints of racial harassment, rather than ignoring them.
(cf. 0440 -District Technology Plan)
(cf. 3100 -Budget)
(cf. 4113 -Assignment)
(cf. 7110 -Facilities Master Plan)
3. Enabling and encouraging students to enroll in, participate in, and complete curricular and extracurricular courses, advanced college preparation programs, and other student activities
Can you share data that is specific to our school district, highlighting this is an area of need?
(cf. 6141.4 -International Baccalaureate Program)
(cf. 6141.5 -Advanced Placement)
(cf. 6143 -Courses of Study)
(cf. 6145 -Extracurricular and Co-curricular Activities)
(cf. 6152.1 -Placement in Mathematics Courses)
4. Building a positive school climate that promotes student engagement, safety, and academic and other supports for students
The issue of a safe educational space was a top priority for most students of color, and concerns were raised about inadequate support systems. Will the above action include a disciplinary policy tackling racist language and micro-aggressions in our district? Will the support mechanisms put in place allow for a transparent process? How are you going to support harmed students?
(cf. 5137 -Positive School Climate)
5. Adopting curriculum and instructional materials that accurately reflect the diversity among student groups
The above statement would be more accurate if it said: “Adopting curriculum and instructional materials that accurately reflect the diversity among Americans.” The challenge with wanting to reflect diversity among the “student groups” in Coronado is that they are already limited. The voices of persons of color are paramount regardless of the school’s demographic. Remember, only 21% of public school students across California are White. Coronado students need to be as prepared as the rest of California students for interacting with people of other ethnicities and races.
(cf. 6141 -Curriculum Development and Evaluation)
(cf. 6161.1 -Selection and Evaluation of Instructional Materials)
6. Providing and/or collaborating with local agencies and community groups to ensure the availability of necessary support services for students in need
Do we have any specifics as to what these needs are, and will students be allowed to access said services directly? Are these for financial assistance or psychological assistance? Due to past racist behavior from some of the teaching staff and inadequate support with these incidents from others, students will lack the confidence to approach teachers for referrals.
A better course of action would be to prioritize preventing the need for mental health support services by banning racial slurs on campus and giving consistent strict consequences each time they are used.
(cf. 1400 -Relations Between Other Governmental Agencies and the Schools)
(cf. 6164.2 -Guidance/Counseling Services)
(cf. 6164.5 -Student Success Teams)
(cf. 6179 -Supplemental Instruction)
7. Promoting the employment and retention of a diverse staff that reflects the student demographics of the community
What is our current data regarding non-White teachers? And which student group has been highlighted as lacking representation among the staff? More importantly, students need diverse teachers, not diverse staff. And teachers should represent Americans, not the community demographics. This is imperative to prepare our students for life outside of Coronado.
8. Providing district staff with ongoing, researched-based, professional learning and professional development on culturally responsive instructional practices
Culturally responsive instructional practices, though beneficial in some schools, are not the main need for the Coronado student population. Rather, students of color need teachers to be educated on their own biases and have an understanding of systemic racism.
(cf. 4131 -Staff Development)
(cf. 4231 -Staff Development)
(cf. 4331 -Staff Development)
9. Conducting program evaluations that focus on equity and address the academic outcomes and performance of all students on all indicators.
Relevant data on academic outcomes has already been collected by CUSD and demonstrates that there is no difference between the academic achievements of Black students and their peers. This same data does, however, show that the area of need is with ESL students.
(cf. 0500 -Accountability)
The Board shall regularly monitor the intent and impact of district policies and decisions in order to safeguard against disproportionate or unintentional impact on access to district programs and achievement goals for specific student populations in need of services.
Sincerly, The InclusioNado Community
Dear Coronado Unified School District Board Members,
We join InclusioNado to implore you to expedite the work of the Equity Committee to be responsive to the students, families and teachers who have asked CUSD since June 2020 to end racial and other forms of harassment of students in all of its schools.
Now, we ask you to form an End Harassment Subcommittee of the Equity Committee by March 1st, 2021. From the last Equity Committee meeting, we saw that there are Equity Committee volunteers willing to serve immediately and meet weekly if necessary.
The goals of the End Harassment Subcommittee will be to:
• Listen to students, alum and staff to identify and understand key issues that have
allowed harassment to occur.
• Document their recommendations.
• Explore best practices used in other schools to address racial and other harassment.
• Make recommendations for concrete actions to be taken by CUSD.
A realistic timeframe for accomplishing this work with a small, committed group of volunteers is three months.
Every student has the right to a safe school learning environment, free from harassment and disrespect. It is time to act now and make this a reality for All of our CUSD students.