Sunday, July 1, 2012

Allegation of Discrimination at San Mateo High Schools

This weekend, the San Mateo Daily Journal published an article about allegations of discrimination against students within the San Mateo Union High School District.

While the City Council does not deal directly with issues within the school district, a few months ago I was asked by students within the district to help address their concerns of discriminatory treatment. 

You can read the Daily Journal article here, or see it printed below. 

Last week, I issued the following statement to the media regarding this issue:

"Earlier this year, it came to my attention that students of Chinese heritage were complaining about discriminatory treatment in their placement at schools within the San Mateo Union High School District. After meeting with the students and their parents (who asked that their names not be disclosed), I arranged a meeting with Scott Laurence, the Superintendent of the High School District. Mr. Laurence and I discussed the issue and continue to keep our lines of communication open on this issue.

The students and parents also received referrals to various civil rights groups, but I do not know the status of those referrals.

As an elected representative whose community encompasses the San Mateo Union High School District, I believe any claim of discriminatory treatment against ANY group within our community must be thoroughly investigated to ensure that all people are treated fairly. I applaud Superintendent Laurence for meeting with me, am confident that the School District will cooperate in the federal investigation currently underway, and am willing to assist with mediating or monitoring the situation on behalf of my constituency where appropriate."

Please note: The City of San Mateo and the City Council has not taken a formal stance on this issue.

District investigated for discrimination
June 30, 2012, 05:00 AM By Heather Murtagh Daily Journal Staff

Does the San Mateo Union High School District discriminate against certain students when it comes to school assignments?

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is investigating such a complaint, a spokesman confirmed this week. While details of the complaint are sparse, the allegation is that “the San Mateo Union High School District discriminates against students of Chinese descent in enrollment, by holding them to different standards — for demonstrating residency or guardianship — than students of other races or national origins,” according to the U.S. Department of Education spokesman.

Those who have met the families who lodged the complaint explained it stems from students who live in Millbrae and had hoped to attend Mills High School. Instead, students were sent to Capuchino High School.

The school assignment policy generally calls for students to attend the school of residency. Students living in Millbrae and those who went through the Millbrae Elementary School District, for example, are most often assigned to attend Mills. There are exceptions to that, however, said Kirk Black, associate superintendent of human resources and administrative services, speaking generally about the policy.

For instance, students may have requested and been approved for a transfer, have a sibling or senior privilege for a school outside of their normal assignment, to be part of a program like English language development or special that are not available at all schools, or may be transferred to make up units. School capacity issues can also play into assignment, he said.

The district declined to give further details but did provide a statement.

“The Office for Civil Rights is investigating a complaint, and the district is fully cooperating with the investigation. We cannot, however, comment on the substance of an ongoing investigation,” according to the statement.

No comments:

Post a Comment