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Letter from a parent

At last week’s school board meeting, Hayward superintendent Dale Vigil said something remarkable, in response to recurring allegations of racism at one of Hayward’s elementary schools. He said he’d visited the school, and could absolutely verify that there was “no racism” at the school.

My first reaction was laughter, quickly followed by a deep sense of sadness. How could any American, much less an American of Hispanic descent, assert that there is a school here where there is no racism?

At an earlier board meeting, Dr. Vigil insisted that any complaints about a specific school should not be raised with his office nor at a board meeting, but should be addressed at the school “site” level. Dr. Vigil has made it very clear that he won’t hear complaints about racism at a Hayward school.

Suddenly, I understood Hayward’s signs that proclaim “No Room for Racism.” They don’t mean that racism doesn’t exist in Hayward. Instead, there is no room for dissent: Complaints about racism and discrimination will not be heard.

Also at last week’s board meeting, board member Jeff Cook criticized the involvement of “outside organizations” attempting to help Hayward parents find a voice so their complaints might be heard. A week earlier, Mr. Cook had physically barred a Hayward parent and community advocate from attending a meeting at the school site, to prevent that parent’s complaints about racism from being heard.

Also at last week’s board meeting, teachers and parents from the school verbally attacked the parents who were objecting that their complaints were ignored.

Also last week, a “meeting” was scheduled by an assistant superintendent, purportedly to hear complaints from parents at the school. The meeting was scheduled for 3 p.m. on a weekday, when most parents are working, but that wasn’t really important, since the district didn’t invite or even notify parents about the meeting. At the end of that meeting, the district announced that no parents who had failed to attend that secret meeting would be permitted to attend future meetings on the subject.

Once again, Hayward has validated our family’s decision to transfer our child out of Hayward, to a public school where students and families are respected.

Mark J. Welch
Hayward

ksantos

  • hayward teacher

    While I do not teach at this particular school, I know several teachers that do. The Hayward community should know that the “meeting” from which a parent and a community advocate were barred was not a meeting at all. It was Back to School Night. This is an event that gives parents the opportunity to meet their child’s teachers and familiarize themselves with the school and it’s programs. This is not an open forum. Neither one of the people that were trying to enter the event have childrent at the school. They did not have clearance to present at Back to School Night.

    If there was an incident that occured that could be construed as racist, that incident should be dealt with…absolutely. The problem is, every single teacher at that school was slandered by the blanket statements of these individuals. To say that all of the teachers are racist is absurd, inflammatory and damaging. The teachers of this school were not attacking anyone at the board meeting. They were defending themselves. The individuals accusing this faculty of racism haven’t even met most of them.

    Yes, legitimate concerns of racism should be dealt with. The concerns of these individuals have been addressed at the site level as well as the district level. Because they are not getting the result that they desire, they have resorted to name calling of the lowest level. Allegations of racism are not to be thrown around lightly. Not only is it damaging to the innocent, it degrades the true struggle to eradicate racism from our society.

  • http://! J. W. Kyle

    Congratulations to ‘Haywrd Teacher’! An excellent well reasoned response to charges of racism.

    Under the consitions described by ‘Hayward Teacher’ one might surmise that individuals raising a charge of racism are in fact guiilty of racism.

    One of the problems we face in “The Heart of the Bay” is that folks simply do not understand
    how to peoperly approach administration, with well prepared inquiry and to do so diplomatically within the confines of the Ed Code and this State’s well known Ralph M. Brown Act.

    Perhaps in the coming elections we will acquire leadership which sees and understands the history of poor communications which did not start with present administration.

    Following the rexample of the City of Hayward, we ought seriously consider creation of permanent commissions, or committees whose membership ought be broad enough to
    attract those whose interests lay within the charge made to a particular committee.

    City has nine such committees or ‘commissions’ while HUSd presently has but two.
    I believe that the “personnel Commission’ and the ” Partners in Education” are well needed activities.

    I suggest that the reported loss of $ 100,000 per year due to vandalism ( only on off the cuff estimate by Asst’ Supt. Schimmel,) is a good place top start. The loss of $ 100,000 is unacceptable and for that reason, the ‘site resident’ concept introduced to Longwood School about nine years ago, is persently neglected, simply because the ‘staff’ needs help in assessing the need and finding the technique for installation of site residents at all schools.

    To accomplish that, we need a committee of interested residents of the School District who understand that vandalism is a cancer which destroys wealth in school budgets while it also
    gives cause to consider the affect upon neighborhood real property valus.

    I have a list of about four or five other needs for which we ought create committees or ‘commissions’ One example : The loss of ADA money due to students with unexcused absences is costing the district about $5,000,000. per year.

    While Dr. Schimmel says there are programs in place to fight that loss, he is yet to describe the specifics of thiose programs, it is my contention that qualfied residents ought to be brought into a permanent commission to learn, understand and in effect follow through on the present programs to see how chages can be wrought that will stop or at least reduce the current rate of loss. Why leave it to administrators who seem harried by other concerns when, in a town su
    such as Haywarthe City has nine such groups, each charged with a task and involving over 100 volunteers who offer their services in such activity where they deem themselves interested and where they meet on a scheduled basis at evenings convenient to the electorate who are
    invited to these meeting for the specific purpose of expressing concerns or suggesting
    solutions.

    I’ll soon be writing more on this subject… hopefully newwspapers, HUSD administration and Trustees will pick up on the idea……. maybe use it as tool for election purposes in 2008.

  • CONCERNED PARENT

    I also noticed Superintendent Dale Vigil, and the Board sending a clear message “if you have something negative to say, we do not want to hear it.” What ever the parent was complaining about, fell on deaf ears. Dale Vigil also stated, if you have a problem with a sight don’t bother the folks at the district level; We have more important things to do than listen to parents concerns. How are parents supposed to take care of the problem at the sight? That is why they go to the district, because administration at the sight is not addressing the problems I don’t attend this school, but, I have do have nieces that take their children there. Fortunately my nieces are fluent in both Spanish, English; And are intelligen enough to recognize ignorant racist behavior. My nieces daughters have come home stating, “My friend got in trouble because s/he can’t speak English good.” After further inquiry we understood, children are getting in trouble because they speak Spanish. My nieces hide the fact that they speak Spanish from the staff at this particular school!

    Parents of certain ethnicities are treated differently than their Caucasian peers. While it is true that not all teachers are bad, and some arn’t as overt with their actions, and yes most teacher’s try to do their best with what they have. However, one is just as guilty of the crime if you choose to look the other way and remain silent while children are mistreated, this is called AIDING AND ABETTING!

  • CONCERNED PARENT

    I am one who has my eyes wide open. I often hear comments, “When segragation of the schools ended,” I feel like saying, “News Flash! Nothing was ended, it was relabled. I had a Caucasian women tell me “Oh, that is the gehtto school with the problems.” We don’t have those kind of problems here. We have books for all our children and if they need to bring them home to do their homework, they can–imagine that!
    We need to evolve as a society, unfortunately some of the ignorance of our history has followed us into the 21st Century! Let’s be better than that, let’s face the porblems head on so we could move on to bigger. better, things, like the misspending of the HUSD board and the school closures.

  • Mark Welch

    “Hayward Teacher” — I’m not sure you watched the same school board meeting that I did. You wrote, “The teachers of this school were not attacking anyone at the board meeting.” At the board meeting, both a teacher and several parents turned their heads and directed their angry comments directly to a group of hispanic parents in the room (although I don’t think any of those parents present had made the accusations of racism). I’m sure that most teachers at the school haven’t used similar tactics.

    I don’t know if the complaints (which parents and community advocates are attempting to raise) are “legitimate,” or may represent “misunderstandings,” or perhaps even fabrications. Most likely, the complaints are based on incidents which parents, accustomed to both overt and covert racism, assumed were discrimination based on race. What I do know is that HUSD, through its Superintendent, Board Member Cook, teachers, and administrators, has refused to create any legitimate forum for complaints to be addressed, and has made clear that there is “no room for dissent.”

    Do you think it is unreasonable for me to be upset when the superintendent the Hayward Unified School District states that he will not listen to complaints of racism, that no such complaints should be brought to the school board (a statement which no school board member contradicted), and that there is “no racism” at a school? We live in America, and there is racism everywhere — often not “conscious” or “intentional,” but certainly disparate treatment based on race, ethnicity, or language.

    Hayward Teacher writes: “The concerns of these individuals have been addressed at the site level as well as the district level.” My understanding is that they have not, and certainly Dr. Vigil and other administrators have made clear that they will not listen to complaints of racism. As I mentioned, a meeting was scheduled by administrators, purportedly to discuss these complaints with parents, but neither the school nor the district actually invited any of the parents; two community advocates and one parent from the school did attend the meeting, but without the other complaining parents or students present, it was a waste of time, a “sham,” a “whitewash.”

    Often, when someone says something unpleasant, our “gut instinct” is to respond aggressively and unpleasantly. That’s what seems to have happened here.

    Unfortunately, those whom we pay to help manage the affairs of our district have joined the fray, and have refused to take any reasonable action to try to resolve the dispute. I doubt that any group of people sat down in a room and agreed, “let’s suppress complaints and intimidate any parents who wish to complain about discrimination.” Instead, the individual “gut reactions” (of many parents, teachers, administrators, and at least one school board member) have combined to create a climate of intimidation and hostility toward anyone who complains.

    The result is a climate of oppression that fosters midsconduct.

  • monica

    this is a sad situation that seems to be getting worse:(

  • Rosa Mendez

    This has been a sad situation for the last 12 years, for many cohorts of children passing through this particular elementary school. There are people, especially this board member who wants to maintain the “status quo” of ignorance and stupidity. I will not continue staying silent, this school has caused much damage to many children and parents. We see a few tokens, here and there, but the truth is going to come out. So for those of you who do not know what is going on, I suggest to give up the cheerleading role so you won’t look foolish when the ugly truth comes out.
    I am glad parents from other schools are looking into this stupidity and mental illness of those who are running the district and this particular school. I complained about this to the district and the board, 5 years ago, because of mistreatment towards the Latinos at this school. Nobody did anything, I hope now these courageous parents continue speaking up about the abuses. If I was a child being abused I would want someone, anyone, to break the door down come into my house and rescue me. That is what the “outside” parents as some have called them are doing, and I applaud them. We are all accountable for eachother, we all live in this community side by side and, if you think that what happens at the school 2 or 3 miles from your house does not matter, or wont affect you, you are just as ignorant as the people at this particular school.

  • hayward teacher

    Mr. Welch-

    My only issue with this situation is the blanket statements made by these individuals. I personally know some of the teachers on this staff. They are people of many different minority groups. Some are members of ethnic minority groups and some are members of other minority groups. Some are members of no minority group. They are all, however, decent people. I can’t speak for all of the staff, but the people I know are far from racist. These are teachers that work tirelessly for all of their students. It is grossly unfair to lump them in with whatever individuals may be causing problems at that site. By publicly stating that the teachers of this school are racist is damaging. Why can’t the individuals that have the concerns choose their words to encompass ONLY the employees involved. Why can’t they say, “John Doe said ______ to me.” or “Suzy Q said ________ to my child.”? Why can’t this be taken care of in a way that is not accusing innocent people of racism? The accusations seem to be very vague and broad. If an individual teacher or administrator is behaving in a manner that is inappopriate, that/those individual(s) should be dealt with.

    Once the words are out there, they can’t be taken back. You can’t “un-ring” a bell. It’s out there. No matter what comes of this, the reputations of these staff members will be tainted in the minds of many people. You say that you don’t know if the complaints are legitimate or not. Before an entire staff is accused of something so serious, don’t you think it is important to find that out? Before an entire staff is called racist in a televised public board meeting, shouldn’t there be some sort of evidence or proof that the entire staff behaved in a racist manner?

  • http://! J. W. Kyle

    Hayward Teacher ! You are level headed and honest in your remarks. The others seem to rely heavily on second hand thoughts from unnamed sources of the type found in ‘over the fence’ conversations between neighbors.

    What tyhe town needs is an open forum conducted on the basis of single topics. One such topic would be : “How to formally approach HUSD meetings and be assured that Trusttes will agendize the matter for formal consideration”

    None of these other bloggers seem to get the point that if their appeals to Administration or Trustees are ignored, the fault may lay the complainants. It’s called understanding the rules of conduct and diplomacy. The old gun to the head demand just dosn’t work !

  • Frog Mom

    The issue is NOT racism. The real issue is PREJUDICE against non-English speaking students and parents.

    Dr. Vigil was correct when he said, “I didn’t see it…” Of course he didn’t see it because he is doing it himself. He did it during the strike when he ‘mislead’ the non-English community and he’ll continue to “not see it” because then he’d have to admit his own prejudice.

    Plenty of parents, teachers and employees that have brought items to the school board meeting in a well done manner, they have been ignored also.

    The way Dr. Vigil ‘praised’ Eldridge was appalling. Not only was that disrespectful to the other schools and staff but pointless to the issue at hand. If there is ONE parent with a problem it needs to be addressed. Eldridge has over 600 students, parents and staff… are you telling me that NONE of the reports are true… that’s crap.

    The issue is NOT that a certain race being discriminated against. It IS that students and parents that do not speak English are being treated badly and misinformed. This is all non-English speaking students and parents, not just Spanish, however Spanish is the second language in Hayward and it is required by LAW that everything be translated into Spanish… “If 15 percent or more of the pupils enrolled in a public school that provides instruction in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, speak a single primary language other than English, as determined from the census data submitted to the department pursuant to Section 52164 in the preceding year, all notices, reports, statements, or records sent to the parent or guardian of any such pupil by the school or school district shall, in addition to being written in English, be written in the primary language, and may be responded to either in English or the primary language. http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/pf/cm/gavinab680ltr.asp

    With that said, if there is only ONE child or parent that is being treated badly then the staff should handle it and be held accountable for it.

    The “race” needs to be taken out of the conversations. “My CHILD was not allowed to take a cookie out of the cafeteria when another CHILD was.” This is about the children, the lack of consistency with the staff and the lack follow up with the school district on these matters.

    There is prejudice in the HUSD system, starting at the top. The President of the school board’s own comments saying it all… “Well we have three white guys on the board, lets bring in some…ummm… color”.

    This needs to stop, every child and parent deserves equal respect, it is not happening and that needs to change, now. If parents and students are still treated badly we are going to continue to point it out until the school board sees it, the superintendent sees it and the community sees it.

    ALL MEANS ALL… not just the english speaking ones.

  • hayward teacher

    Thank you, Mr. Kyle. It is aggravating to see people using such alarmist tactics to get the attention they seek. I fully understand the frustrations involved in getting results from HUSD. The folks in charge definitely have communication problems. That is not an excuse to publicly accuse an entire staff of being racist. A little bit of diplomacy would be a nice thing. Unfortunately, the concept of diplomacy seems to be flying out the window in this country lately. It seems that we are becoming a society of bullies.

  • Hopeful Citizen

    Hayward Teacher:
    The Hayward community should know that the “meeting” from which a parent and a community advocate were barred was not a meeting at all. Correction: The meeting was arranged by the parents’ advocates. A protocol that the school in question did not follow. Go to other schools, or look at the site where you work. If you have ELs in your site; as you are in your classroom teaching, the ELD coordinator and the principal hopefully are arranging or the meeting has already been conducted in the MPR, “with open doors to anyone that wants to come and listen”, and if the parents want to bring their own translators they can do so, nobody needs a clearance for that. This type of meeting is in compliance with the ELL Master Plan, (It’s in the HUSD website), to explain the programs available to the ELs. I hope teacher, that when there is an issue in your classroom you do not judge and condemn hearing only one side of a story. Do not forget that you work in the public sector. This is America, and that is a public school.
    They were defending themselves. The individuals accusing this faculty of racism haven’t even met most of them. The advocates for the oppressed parents are only stating that discriminatory practices are permitted at that school. It sounds better for the staff at that school to twist a bit and make it sound that the so call attack is at the whole school. Each one of those individuals harboring that kind of sentiment knows who they are. Don’t waist your time defending those that have the unconditional approval of the central office. In this district if you are the only school that has received national and state accolades at the Title I school level; you have license to do as you please. In fact you will warm the heart of the Superintendent, as Dr. Vigil stated at the last board meeting. If his children were young they would be attending that school!
    How easy it is for those that criticize the advocates! How do they know if this is not their last resort? How do they know if parents have not followed the proper channels and found retaliation instead? Maybe at the next board meeting you should meet these few brave souls and asked them if they have tried or not, to do what is right. Take the time.

  • hayward teacher

    Should anyone that works in the public sector be obligated to withstand false accusations? It was clearly stated that the faculty of the school are racists. The only thing I am saying is we should be specific in our accusations. Guilty by association doesn’t fly in this situation. If somebody in your workplace is a criminal, does that make you a criminal? No. The implication has been made that the faculty is racist. That’s what is being said and it’s not true. They didn’t say that there were one, two, three or ten faculty members that were racists. They said that the faculty was racist. Be specific. That’s all I’m saying. Don’t slander people. Be fair. Don’t take frustrations caused by a few out on the whole.

    You tell me to “take the time”. Have they taken the time to get to know each and every one of the staff members they accused? I know they have not. They are making the public accusations, not me. It is their responsibility to “get to know” the people they are accusing. I have heard and read what they have to say publicly. That is what I am responding to. Every citizen of Hayward can not “take the time” to talk about the specifics with them personally. This is why they have to be careful about how they represent themselves and their positions in the media. When someone makes the decision to “go public” with anything, they must be sure to present all of the facts. It is irresponsible to do anything other than that.

  • M. Mom

    I know that there is discriminatory practices at this school. Parents have come to me for help because I am bilingual. Many parents have been ignored and the discriminatory practices continue. I have spoken to middle school students, high school students, and current students, all corraborate the discriminatory practices.
    Intentional or not, it is what the children feel that matters, they have to live it. If you hurt someone but you really did’t mean it, I don’t think it matters to the person that is hurt, it is the end result that matters.

  • another tired teacher

    This school most certainly DOES have a history of attacking and discriminating against the Spanish language and accusing Latino parents, children as well as bilingual teachers of being ignorant. They have not been welcoming to English Language Learners. One of their teachers was on a crusade for years to get the board to end bilingual education in Hayward. She had parents convinced that the district was not allowing their children to be in English classes if they requested them, and that bilingual teachers were trying to get rid of Eldridge’s English Immersion Program. (Untrue.) Cook was always sitting with her at meetings before he became a trustee by the way.

    The word is they have historically redirected children who do not speak adequate English to Schafer Park, then they brag at Board Meetings about the amazing results of their English Immersion program. These things have been going on for years. The District Office has not looked into the practices of this school because their test scores have been high. I say hahaha because I see Bowman beat them and they are a bilingual school!

    I applaud the parents for speaking up. It’s about time.

    Parents have told me that the principal told them when registering their kids that “Eldridge was not for all children” and were asked by her about their childrens’ test scores when registering. What kind of garbage is this? If all schools did this maybe they would have high test scores too.
    The district needs to investigate.

    The truth needs to finally come out. I hope that the Daily Review follows up on these allegations. This school has been pulling this stuff for way too long. There is no room for this garbage in Hayward. It is a disgrace.

    What’s in the dark always comes into the light.

  • another tired teacher

    Mr. Kyle, and Hayward Teacher,
    I don’t think that you are aware of all that has gone on at this school site over the years. People who feel mistreated do act emotionally. That does not make them or their claims unreliable or untrue.

    Mr. Kyle,
    I see that you have a list of what you think is most important to be done in HUSD. I
    contend that until the Board and the Supt. are accountable and trustworthy to the public little can be accomplished. You cannot ignore people just because you do not like the way that they bring things up or what they are saying. Read what the other bloggers are saying. It is all very valid and things that I have heard and seen for years in HUSD. The truth is uncomfortable.

    The mere fact that so many different people are saying the same thing in public and on this blog about this school should lend validity to the claims that something is not right at this school site. Just because teachers there may be of different ethnic groups does not mean that they do not discriminate against Latinos who speak Spanish. Latinos can and do discriminate against other Latinos when they are against speaking Spanish. It may be about feeling that all people must assimilate the way they did. It may even be a bit of self hate turned outward. The fact is that that school is all about English only, and proud of it. That makes parents who do not speak English shut out. Parents should not feel shut out of their child’s school.

    When is Eldridge going to accept that California is a bilingual state whether they like it or not? And this is not the early 1960’s. Perhaps the staff should watch the movie “Walk Out”, and receive some training on dealing with Immigrant Families.

  • http://! J. W. Kyle

    Dear another tired Teacher:

    Have you read the llist attributed to me? Who provided it?

    Why is the beef limited to one school ?

  • another tired teacher

    Mr. Kyle,
    this school site/staff brought it on themselves. You obviously do not know their history or what has gone on and goes on there. Read what so many parents have written here, and listen to them at the board meetings.

    I believe that your comments about graffitti and unexcused abscences are out of place under this heading. There is a specific topic here, and it is not “what people think most plagues the district”. My point was that, and that there are many issues to be dealt with, but the district and board needs to deal with parents and gaining their trust. If the public and parents do not trust the district, nor the board, little progress can be made. This situation and how they are NOT dealing with it is an example of how they are NOT going to garner the public’s trust nor confidence. Do they need to be reminded that parents (not teachers, nor principals) elected the board? (and the board elected Vigil). The public will remember this next election. Despite what they think Latinos do vote too!!! We are NOT all here illegally!!!

  • Lorie T.

    It is true Eldridge discriminates against the Spanish speaking Latinos. They are trying to hang on to a time that simply does not exist anymore. Just because it is other parents, speaking on behalf of Eldridge parents, does not mean they are not speaking the truth. I know that it was Eldridge parents who reached out to these parent advocates for help. The night Eldridge was forced to provide the informational meeting for the Latino parents was the same night as “back to school night” the meeting was to take place 5:30-6:30, yet the staff at Eldridge called the parents to come at 6:30 so they would not come to the bilingual meeting. Also I have gotten phone call when the ELAC meeting was to take place to say it’s cancelled. Then I find out later that they called many parents to cancel the ELAC meetings. Finally some parents are speaking up, I wish these parents strength and courage to continue fighting for the voiceless. I’m ashamed to admit that I am guilty of looking the other way for the first three years. Finally a year ago I made phone calls to Mrs. Quinn, she never called me back, I also called Sharon Ough, Mimi Deversy, and I was told maybe there’s a miscommunication problem, I have been a parent at this school for 5 years, that is a long time for miscommunication!!

  • Lorie T.

    Hayward Teacher,
    I do not see any alarmist tactics, nor do I see anyone trying to benifit from this sad situation the Spanish speaking parents at Eldridge have endured. Finally someone with some courage and the knowledge is going against these ignorant people like J. Cook, and others you know who you are.

  • juan santana

    Im glad to read that people is finally speaking out, it’s not just a group of “outside parents” who have personally experience discrimination at this particular school, but others too. This school has a long history of discrimination, a friend of mine told me, that some years ago there was 2 latino brothers running for student body (amongs others), right before the election the principal came to their classroom and said: make sure who you vote for, you don’t want the “garcia” family running the school do you?.
    This is another example of what these parents are triyng to bring to light. keep up the courageous work!

  • Bilingual Teacher

    I substituted at this school before, I made a formal complaint in writing and I cc’d the School Board. I recieved no response, not the board nor the district. Eldridge is a very hostile environment if you speak Spanish even for children, parents are ignored, and if they speak up their children are retaliated against. I hope the parents, no matter where they’re from continue to pressure the district to make some changes at this school.

  • Watchful Mother

    Over a year ago my friend and I went to pick up her daughter from that school. I was waiting for them when I watched with my mouth open as the secretary yelled at a lady. The poor woman was trying to explain something in her broken English, but the rage in which the secretary was speaking to her was so overwhelming that a tall Latino man that was also waiting there for his children stopped the secretary. He was very upset and told her that she should be respectful of her elders. Was this the first time this secretary behaved in this manner? Does she verbally abuse older folks that can’t defend themselves? Her behavior is condoned by the administration, I was told. Would she treat fluent English speakers this way? No, I was told. Jokingly a woman outside told me that I should see how the secretary treats the students, especially the ones that are not “the perfect fit” for the school. I found out later that the lady that was disrespected was a volunteer grandmother that helps there everyday. If that lady was my mother, that secretary would not be working at any school period; my children will not be attending such place either. I wonder if the son or daughter of that poor lady found out about this and complaint to the administration.
    I am sure when Vigil and company make a scheduled visit he does not see that. The “show” is on then.

  • Bilingual Teacher

    There are many problems at the district and Mr. Kyle if you think vandalism is such a huge problem, collaborate your energy with someone who is passionate about the same issues as yourself. The parent advocates are a good example of what a good citizen does. Acively participate to improve the conditions not just for themselves, but the rest of the community. The parents are passionate about this issue, I can’t dictate to people what they should or should not care or advocate for. We all have to do and help where we can, there is a great need in this area, Spanish speaking people are our neghbors our childrens friends, and peers. The district continues to take from their programs, and they are unaware of the dealings behind closed doors. I am thrilled at their strategy, because it seems it is working. We all have seen Mr. Kyle complain to the board about various issues, have they listened? This is why the parents are using legal methods to get things done TO THE PARENTS GOD SPEED……………………………..

  • http://! J. W. Kyle

    Once again ‘another tired taecher’ refuses the direct question I asked in my previous submisssion. Please recite the list attributed to me !

    Why is the beef limited to Eldridgre?

    What I believe is that hiding behind a ‘nom de plume’ offers opportunity for mindless cheap
    ‘shots’ at the Trustees who gained the respect of the people who elected them. For that reason
    alone, stop the ‘cheap shots’ !

    Learn the ropes on the proper way to get attention of the Trustees; you may not be aware of the conditions imposed by law which limits their response, especially if the matter has not been agendized so that public are enabled to ask legitimate questions under ‘public
    comments’ opportunity provided agendized items.

    Trusttees are not able to respond to questions put forward to them under the “public comments” found at initial period of the meeting simply because it is not agendized. No matter how long the list of speakers or the lack of self restraint shown by many parents, applause, jeering etc., they must just sit and not respomnd under the law entitled Raplh M. Brown act.

    If in truth you are a teacher, why is that difficukt to understand?

    Now, until you come out of hiding and drop the ‘nom de plume’ I advise…..

    “30″

  • hayward teacher

    I do not contest the things that Another Tired Teacher says. I, in fact, do know what has been going on at that school. I was in the board meeting of which you speak. I saw exactly what you are talking about. I was just as disgusted by this as you. I do, however, know that not all teachers at Eldridge should be lumped in with those that have caused the controversy. I haven’t posted about the bilingual vs. non-bilingual issue. My views are right in line with everything you stated. I am upset by the blanket statements of racism made by the parents and advocates. If they really want to make a change, they should be specific in their charges. They have deeply hurt many people by their statements. They made character judgements on people they don’t know. They judged an entire staff on the actions of a few.

    Tired Teacher, you are assuming that ALL of the teachers are English only proponents. They are not. You are making the same assumptions that these parents and advocates are. You don’t know the same teachers I do, apparently. The teachers I know speak Spanish to their students (as much as they can based on their skill levels). They go out of their way to have papers and forms translated. They call on their friends (who are bilingual teachers) to help them in their communications with parents. These people are hurt that they would be called racists simply because they happen to be employed at this school.

    Do I personally believe that Eldridge has problems? You bet I do. I always have. I was appalled by what I saw at that board meeting a few years ago. Do I think something needs to change? Of course I do. I don’t feel that accusing the innocent simply because they work there is the way to go about it. It is important to be specific when making such serious charges.

  • Bilingual Teacher

    If so teachers know about the problems at Eldridge with the Bilingual Prog. why hasn’t anything been done? Why haven’t the Eldridge teachers complained? Why?

  • Mark Welch

    Mr. Kyle: It’s amusing to see you gladly embraces pseudonymous posts that support your statements, and then attack others who use a “nom de plume” for doing so.

    If I worked in this district, I would certainly NOT use my name when making the kinds of posts that teachers make (on all sides) in discussions in this forum. Making public statements that aren’t 100% consistent with the district’s stated positions (even when made in support of district!) seems to be one of the worst offenses any employee can commit in this district.

    Mr. Kyle, you complained again and again to the school board that it simply ignored all communications, including your oral statements at board meetings and your letters. I realize that several months ago they did acknowledge one of your letters, and one of the trustees verbally acknowledged that you had a good idea worth considering — but surely you recognize that this was a “courtesy” (at best) in response to your repeated complaints. I’ve written letters, as have many other parents and teachers, and nearly all are ignored by the trustees and administration. And yet, when a teacher complained about misuse of the “automated phone calling” system before the strike, she was attacked in a bitter and untruthful email sent by the #2 administrator in the district to every employee of the district!

    I also understand why parents who have children in the district don’t want to speak out here using their real names. If our daughter were still enrolled in Hayward schools, I would NOT speak out as I have on this issue. Even if I assumed that nobody in the district would improperly retaliate against these parents’ children (and I certainly don’t assume that), it would create discomfort and conflict that would unnecessary unless a specific complaint were being made against a specific teacher.

    As to your question about “why is the beef limited to Eldrige,” it seems pretty clear from the comments here that there are a number of parents and district employees who agree that there is a problem there, and a number of parents felt that the problem was so severe that they sought to meet with district administrators, and when those requests appeared to trigger a “whitewash” and a backlash against complaining students, they raised their concerns at a board meeting — where they were told that their complaints weren’t appropriate and that there is “no racism” at Eldridge. As I noted in my letter, the district eventually scheduled a meeting to try to “facilitate” communication regarding the issues at Eldridge, but did not invite any of the complaining parents!

    We currently have a school board that has abdicated ALL supervisory responsibility, delegating all decision-making to the superintendent, who is unfortunately dishonest and unwilling to respond to the community.

    Yes, most speakers and attendees at board meetings don’t understand how the system works, often act boisterously (which is counter-productive) and their complaints (like yours) to administrators and to the school board almost always fall on deaf ears. As you have valiantly shown, that is no reason to stop complaining. I have great respect for your participation in this process.

    But parents who feel that Hayward schools or teachers are discriminating against them now have a clear message from the superintendent and board: there is no racism here, and their complaints will NOT be heard. This forum provides at least ONE place for parents and teachers to share their experiences, without posting their names to invite retribution. I applaud those who do so, and I ask that you show more respect for their difficult situation.

  • another tired teacher

    Point taken Hayward Teacher.
    I do not know all Eldridge teachers. It is not fair for the teachers who do not participate in these practices to be lumped in with those who do. In fact, it is only one teacher, the secretary, and the principal (the self proclaimed “Nordstrom principal at a Walmart school”) who have made obnoxious comments publicly and in print. There has been a group of Eldridge teachers who acted as “cheerleaders” (cheering and jeering) in board meetings for them many times however. There has been a “we are better than the rest of Hayward schools” attitude expressed at board meetings for a long, long time. This attitude does not promote unity, nor collegiality. If they really wanted to promote excellence and change in the whole district for example, they would be saying, “Come observe us, see what we are doing, we welcome other teachers to meet with us, and learn from us”, for example. But they shove peoples’ faces in their test scores and claim it is because they shove English only down students’ and parents’ throats.

    All that being said, if discriminatory practices are happening at this school, it is ALL teachers responsibility to SPEAK up and do something about it, albeit anonymously to SOMEONE. It is our responsibility to defend our parents and students from mistreatment.

    Thank you Mr. Welch. I wholeheartedly agree with your explanation and notes. I am sad we are losing your family.

  • Bilingual Teacher

    Parents can volunteer in their childs classroom, less than 8 hrs. during the school year are allowed with out getting finger printed. Latino parents wish to volunteer, are automatically asked if they have a “California Id” by the secretary at Eldridge, why do you think that is?

  • Bilingual Teacher

    I have also heard the comments “Nordstrom Principal at a Walmart School” I think a statement more to the point is “Walmart Principal, at a Nordstrom school.”
    Did anyone notice last board meeting Eldridge staff had a sign, “DON’T CRIPPLE OUR CHILDREN” why do they think mastery of Spanish is cripling? We live in a state where Hispanics are the fastest growing population, it is more cripling not to be fluent in Spanish and English. I know that if the children wanted to learn French, NE would be thrilled!!

  • hayward teacher

    I remember the “Nordstrom principal” comment and was horrified. It was that comment that horrified me more than anything.

    I am afraid that my posts are being taken as “Pro-Nancy” posts. I want to make it clear that I am in full agreement that the problems at Eldridge need to be dealt with. Ever since that comment was made, I felt it my obligation to let people know about it. I have been very clear that I totally disagree with what has been going on there.

    As someone that has a pretty good idea of what is going on at that school, it upset me to hear that good teachers were being lumped in with the “cheerleaders”.

    It seems that this blog has become a little more real in the last few days. People ARE being specific in their charges. More power to you! It just saddens me to think that teachers that are not in the “cheerleader” camp have to suffer. There are teachers there that are new or have only been there for a year. They had no idea this stuff has been going on. There are staff members that are assigned to that school by the district office (speech therapists, special ed. teachers, para-educators, instructional assistants…). Yes, Tired Teacher, it is everyone’s responsibility to advocate for ALL students. Keep in mind that some of the staff members may be new or are split between schools and haven’t really experienced or witnessed any of these incidents.

    One of the proposed solutions by the parents/advocates was to redistribute the entire Eldridge staff. I really don’t think that’s fair. The offending staff members should be investigated and dealt with.

    I think I have made my point, several times on this blog. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, so, unless I have something new to say….I’ll stop repeating myself :-)

    Fight the good fight!!

  • http://! J. W. Kyle

    September 5, 2007

    Moving on tp soloutions ! On Thursday September 6th I willuse public comments st the Meeting which occurs between City, HUSD and Hayward Area Recreation Disyrict. My subject is long and will not fit into time allowed for publuic Comments’ so it is in writing…. thus sufficient time lapse until meeting of Trustees on the following Wednesday.

    At that time an additiopnal copy will be placed before the Trusttess as a ‘public record’ introduced to the minutes. Another copy is being sent to Editor, as a test of their ‘public spirit’

    yt suggestion is that perhaps some of the brighter mionds in the ‘b;ogosphere’ will read my scribble and understand the intent as well as the path to creation of a better intellectual atrmosphere within the City and School District, which by the way have boundaries that differ widely.

    In the Days when serving as a member of the City’s Growth Management Task Force I repeatedlt stated ” The separate images of the School District and thgat oof the City are so entwined that you caannot improve one without exerting effort toward the other.”

    In the 15 year elapsed time since duisbandmanett of tyhat task force…. absolutely nothing changed excewpt that we observe making greater effort than the school district.

    Folks, nothing is going to happen unless WE make it happen !

    Postage for a copy of the first steps are available by sending postage in the amount of
    $1.16 to: J.W. KYLE
    22638 tEAKWOOD sT.
    HAYWARD, CA. 94541

    DROP THE ‘NOM DED PLUME’ IDENTIFY YOURSELF OR KEEP THE POSTAGE FOR SOMETHING ELSE.

  • Kim Santos

    Please read my UPDATE before trying to leave a comment. Thanks!

  • Frog Mom

    Testing the new ‘log in’ feature… cool.

  • No Longer an Insider

    Happily, No Longer an Insider

    I have knowledge of Eldridge School from the inside. I can guarantee you that the accusations of racism are true.

    I have witnessed:
    The Administrative Assistant attempting to intimidate, both verbally and non verbally, parents of ELL students in regard to the parent’s decision to pull their child/children from Eldridge School in favor of a bilingual setting;

    The same Eldridge employee refusing to present to ELL parents, materials that would support the parent’s understanding of their child’s educational program. The principal was aware of these issues and yet, no attempt was made to rectify the situation;

    The principal speaking derogatorily of bilingual education, as well as students using their Home Language at school;

    Other staff members refusing to allow students to speak their home language at Eldridge School while on the playground;

    A teacher making unfavorable comments regarding a student’s home language.

    I repeat, these above examples are not hearsay. I have witnessed them.

    Please do understand, there are some wonderful and talented teachers at Eldridge School. However, in general, there is a culture of racism and discrimination.

    Dr. Vigil has an OBLIGATION to be involved in this situation. Eldridge School is part of his school district. By not addressing this issue and by sticking his head in the sand, he is telling us that he is not capable of participating in the resolution of a very important issue. Things regarding Eldridge are not getting better. The posts in this blog attest to that!

  • http://www.MarkWelch.com/perspective/ MarkWelch

    First, I’m glad that this thread was restored, as I think it would be horrible for HUSD to claim the power to not only prohibit discussion of racism in its schools and offices, but also on a public newspaper’s web site.

    As a former journalist and as an attorney, I certainly understand the issues here — HUSD has demonstrated unique irrational behavior in the past that gives credibility to its threats. Your solution (requiring registration with a validated email address, which isn’t published) is the one that most online forums eventually select, to block certain abuses.

    On the issue of posts from multiple IDs that are using the same IP address, I know that my wife and I both post here (we are two separate people and often enough, as on this issue, we disagree about some issues). Likewise, I assume that multiple teachers and/or administrators may share computer IP addresses;; of course, library users might also share IP addresses, and it wouldn’t surprise me if people who use the same computer often agree with one another. Hopefully, the editors will be courageous enough to identify and/or delete posts which do appear to be “coordinated” improperly, or which are known to be misleading or deceptive.

    Perhaps most important:

    I would like to stress that my letter (which Kim published to launch this discussion thread) was intended NOT to endorse the claims being made at any specific school in Hayward, but to condemn the actions and statements by HUSD’s administrators intended to prevent such claims from ever being fairly heard, now or in the future.

    It is possible that a legitimate inquiry would result in vindication of the principal and teachers — including any teachers named in complaints as well as all of the other teachers whose reputations have been tarnished by this episode. Uunfortunately, I believe that Dr. Vigil has made it impossible for these claims to ever be fairly considered, and therefore many of their reputations will remain tarnished (not by the accusations, but by the “whitewash” which they probably didn’t want).

    I am confident that the only possible outcome of the district’s recent “whitewash” attempts is a loss of trust; it seems quite likely that Dr. Vigil’s statements will be interpreted by a small minority of people as an endorsement or “free pass” for discriminatory conduct and refusals to listen to future complaints.

    The inevitable outcome of this disgusting episode will be further damage to the reputation of Hayward’s schools; the district continues to provide strong incentives for families to find other educational options for their children (as our family has done).

    Finally: If the district actually intends to hold a meeting with parents who have complaints about racism in one or more Hayward schools, notice of the meeting should be provided to all parents at the school — though it seems unlikely that the parents whom Dr. Vigil clearly sought to intimidate with his hostile statements at the past two board meetings will ever feel comfortable attending or speaking at such a meeting, unless their children are no longer at risk for retaliation.

  • another tired teacher

    I agree with everything you said Mr. Welch.

    Mr. Vigil is not doing his job. I hope that the parents do not give up. It is their school. They have more power than they think.

    Sara Gonzales is a trustee that I expect to be responsive on this issue. She has responded in meetings to some of the outrageous comments by Eldridge staff at meetings. I will be surprised and disappointed if she ignores these parents.

  • Bilingual Teacher

    I think it is going to take a strong individual(s) to finally stop the racism and discrimination at this school. There has been many complaints about this administration and they are collecting dust in Vigil’s file cabinet.
    Vigil claims there is no sign of anything wrong at E, higher intellectual
    minds would agree the impact of the actions by Jeff Cook and Eldridge (NOT allowing parents to participate in a Bilingual Program, getting upset because they were forced to provide this meeting for the new ELL parents; etc.)
    administration is so clearly discriminatory
    it allows no other explanation, than they are for impermissible purposes –NO SPANISH ALLOWED!
    Eventhough, some policies seem to be race neutral, i.e., closing of the schools, but are administered in a manner that discriminates against minorities and they have a disproportionate impact against us. For instance, when the Highland Elementary school was closed the kids went straight to a bran new school —Stonebrae. In contrast, when Shepherd closed the kids were packed in like sardines at Eldridge or Tyrell, what happened to what Shimmel said; “The programs will follow the children.” There was a Bilingual program at Shepherd k-3rd, what happened to the program at Eldridge? Jeff Cook knows what happened, Nancy Eaton happened…..
    Why wasn’t the new school built in the lower socio-economic
    communities?

  • another tired teacher

    The thing about all of Eldridge’s anti-Bilingual Ed. maneuvers is that parents are still entitled to choose the program that they put their child in; whether the Eldridge staff agrees with Bilingual Ed. is beside the point. I really hope that parents do not let themselves be bullied by them anymore. It is really no one else’s business which program parents choose to put their children in. I have never understood why certain people at that school cannot “live and let live”. It is so ironic that they are now withholding information from parents on the types of programs that the district offers; when they were accusing other schools of doing that a few years back. If in fact they are not informing the parents of English Language Learners of the different educational programs available in HUSD; Sheltered English Immersion, Transitional Bilingual Education, Dual Language Immersion, and Mainstream classrooms, they should be sanctioned. I think that the ELL Specialists should conduct these meetings at all school sites and inform parents in their home language to be sure it is being done, and done correctly. I believe that informing parents of their choices is part of the Master Plan for English Language Learners, and part of being in state compliance with Proposition 227 which Eldridge staff loves to bring up. They are actually out of compliance by not informing parents, and not holding the informational meetings IN SPANISH!!!!

  • J. W. Kyle

    September 9, 2007

    “Blingual Teacher” in her blog of September 6th, is upset by Stonebrae School location. It
    seems she thought it should have been located in flatland Hayward, presumably near Eldrifge school.

    Indicative of my need to teach, this contributorwould at least like to state that of all people, a teacher ought to know about open enrollment at schools where seats are available.

    I also think that after a land use battle which lasted in excess of 20 years over Walpert
    Ridge, Stonebrae developers certainly earned the right to locate the school where it is; after all, they did donate the land and grading costs for the school as well as the complete costs of the adjacent HARD Park. Then, Developer took it a step farther by pushing the school construction through the money source at Sacramento in less than half the time it would
    have taken HUSD.

    A last minute lawsuit threatened funding on the source of construction funds, where a
    ‘sunset’ threatened, once again, to destroy some propetrty rights. Something in excess of $1,000,000 was extotred as persuasion to drop the lawsuit !

    Bi-lingual teacher also ignores the new Burbank School which is now welll along in construction in an area where Spanish finds common usage. Bi-lingual teacher ought also recognize that the new Burbbank School was brought about by our former city Managrer, a Latino, whose leadership was singularly responsible for this soon to be opened facility and upon whose walls we will probably see a repetition of the names of the trustees upon the plaque at Stonebrae opening, even after over 100 hours of meetinhgs at which ad hoc endured much belittlement by preservations of Hayward Area Planning Association who have yet to say thanks to Stonebrae for the donation of 1200 acres of open space to East Bay regional Parks.

    Ad hoc members attendingthe dedication were not even provided name tags by HUSD on dedication day !

    It was only last year that Stionebrae was opened and it was not until last last spring ( 2007)
    that Stonebrae development saw it’s first occupancy of a new home. ( introduced as the
    first by developer during the Hayward City Couincilo meeting…. those first occupants certainly looked to me as though they enjoyed a “Latino; heritage !) Yet, the school was pretty much full with students reflecting diversity of Hayward !

    Highland School atudents transferred as did many from Fairview. Note also that as a member
    of the Walpert Ridge “ad oc” committeee, we who were appointed by City Council under a memorandum of undrestanding where developer paid all the bills but was allowed to appoint about three of the 17 members, discussed at great length the probability that at the proposed development, presumed to involve purchases by wealthy folks, the birth rate would be less than that on flat lands; so the prospect of using ‘open enrollment’ opportunity wouid be available to those seeking to leave ‘flat land’ schools theough HUSD’s open enrollment policy.

    Since my retirement in February 1991, I have witnessed the ‘firing’ and attendent payout on the emploment contracts of three of the last four HUSD Superintendents. Between each firing and hire we enjoyed the presence of “rent a supe” at some expense to District of course.
    At that time I was a member of the HUSd Strategic Change Task force and during those meetings i asked the first of the string of ‘rent a supe’ what she thought was the basic
    problem underlaying the turmoil…….. her answer ?

    ” Folks in this district spend and waste a lot of time pointing fingers at each other !”

    So dear reader… is it not time for the uninformed to make some adjustments in attitude
    as well as ability to ‘learn the ropes’ Failure to ‘learn the ropes” will see HUSD’s ship up on the rocks, all at the expense of children !

  • No Longer an Insider

    Dear Kyle,
    Where have you been? Our “ship” is already on the rocks. HUSD is consolidating schools like crazy, cramming more than 600 kids into a site, paying to bring in portables where playgrounds once existed. All this and nothing…………..nothing was ready when school started. This consolidation is happening during a time when research and common sense tell us that Small Schools are best for kids.

  • http://www.MarkWelch.com/perspective/ MarkWelch

    “another tired teacher” wrote: “parents are still entitled to choose the program that they put their child in; whether the (school) staff agrees with Bilingual Ed. is beside the point.”

    FYI, my understanding is that some of the accusations being made were:
    – that applications for the specific bilingual education program were “strongly discouraged” by multiple staff members;
    – that paperwork wasn’t available for parents who requested it;
    – that applications which were actually submitted were “lost” by staff; and
    – that students whose parents sought this bilingual education were treated unfairly by staff;

    (Note that if enough parents are discouraged or prevented from applying, then even if there are parents who do properly request the program, there may not be enough students seeking the program to fill a classroom at the school, which again would limit parents’ choices (forcing them to choose a different program at the specific school, or the desired program at another Hayward school; the latter option “ties in” with accusations that school staff actively sought to encourage non-English-speaking families to enroll their children at other Hayward schools, in order to exclude students whose test scores were likely to be low.)

    I don’t know if any of these claims are true (remember, I’m a skeptic), but combined with the claims about hostile office staff, it sounds like a pretty serious accusation of interference with parental choice — and the nature of these claims show that it was unreasonable for Dr. Vigil to insist that the problem be addressed only at the “site level.” Now that Dr. Vigil has categorically stated that everything is great at the school and that there is “no racism” at this school, the issue is fully resolved: no complaints will be heard.

  • J. W. Kyle

    Dear ” No Longer an insider ”

    Wow ! 600 children at one site ? Try Longwood which is now reduced from 796 to just 729 on the second day of the school year !

    Where have I been? Well, for one thing ‘out the door with a positive attitude’ knowing full well that my voice is being heard and that I do not bear the weight of knowing that I am no longer sn insider.

    If you send $1.16 (see phone book) in postage as well as identity I might just help lift you out of depression or whatever it is that brings your focus to negativism. Keep in mind that HUSD is in a perfect position to go no where if not up !!!

  • another tired teacher

    Mr. welch,
    I have been angered by the actions of the principal, secretary and one obnoxious very anti bilingual teacher on staff at this school for many years now. I am aware of what goes on at this school. There is no excuse for it. IT SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED. Any actions, words, or behaviors that make Latino, and especially undocumented individuals feel threatened, unwelcome, or uncomfortable (like asking for a California ID when wanting to volunteer) at a public school is actually illegal. ALL people living here have a right to a free education regardleSs of immigration or residency status. Public school workers are not authorized nor permitted to threaten or make parents feel unwelcome or to feel unsafe, which is what is happening over there. I found a great citation on this subject, and will post it here.

  • another tired teacher

    If things continue to be unsatisfactory for parents there, and the district is unresponsive, perhaps The Williams Act people can get involved. Someone needs to do something. Vigil is NOT the last word. PARENTS ARE THE LAST WORD.