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View from inside Mt. Diablo High

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, February 13th, 2012 at 12:16 am in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

William Maldonado, who is a senior at Mt. Diablo High, sent me the three photos above to illustrate problems with locked restrooms and others that are not sufficiently stocked with supplies at the school.

Here’s what he said about the photos in an email:

“These are the pictures I took. One is of the bathroom with no soap or paper towel fixtures even on the wall. That is of the shop building bathroom, the only bathroom usually available to students. The other pictures are pictures of the stair well in the Academic building where students often urinate because they cannot find a bathroom open or because they are too disgusted by the condition of the bathrooms to actually use them.”

Maldonado was one of several students who spoke to the school board last Monday, complaining about the lack of restrooms, lack of supplies in the few restrooms that are open, and the punishment that Principal Kate McClatchy requires when students are late to class — even if the reason they’re late is that they had to wait for a chance to use a restroom. They must get a tardy pass and pick up trash, which ends up making them even later, Maldonado told the board.

During a phone interview, Maldonado also expressed concerns about McClatchy’s plan to convert the school to an all-academy model. Maldonado has reached the highest rank in the school’s JROTC program. He and other members of JROTC fear that the program might not survive if the school converts to all academies, because students would not have enough options to take JROTC courses. He also said students would not be able to take courses from two different academies — such as woodshop and biotech. This is unfair because it limits their choices, he said.

During previous budget cuts, the school board considered cutting a JROTC program from MDHS or Olympic High. But students from both programs came to the board meetings dressed in their uniforms and talked about how it changed their lives. Teachers and parents also talked about how beneficial JROTC is on both campuses. So far, I have not heard this brought up at a board meeting. But, if the all-academy model would jeopardize the JROTC program, the public and the board should be made aware of that.

Do you think students should have to pick up trash if they are late to class because they were waiting to use the restroom?

FEB. 13 UPDATE: Toilet in the boy's restroom in the shop building at MDHS

Maldonado just sent me this additional photo, which he said was taken by his friend. Here’s what he wrote about it in an email:

“I found this picture on my friends phone and had him Bluetooth it to me. This is the only toilet available in the shop building bathroom.”

When I asked when it was taken, he responded: “This one was taken a couple weeks ago. The photo was time stamped as being taken on 1/17/12/”

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  • Realia

    I am troubled by the student’s report that McClatchy isn’t allowing rosaries to be worn on the MDHS campus. Other district schools ban red and blue rosaries only as gang affiliation symbols; banning them all has resulted in many districts across the country being sued. So, if McClatchy has said ‘no rosaries, period,’ the ACLU and other groups may be very interested. It wouldn’t take the Amnesty International club long to do a web search and learn more about the fallout from banning rosaries. Perhaps the school could make the national news – again.

  • Doctor J

    The political connection we all forgot about on “Toiletgate”, “QEIAgate”, “McClatchygate” and all the other Mount issues, plus perhaps others, is LIANE CISMOWSKI Vice-Principal of MDHS and formerly of Olympic High, and appointee of State Supt Tom Torlakson to his Transition Team and Co-chair of the Education Quality Team.
    http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/bp/documents/yr11bp0709.pdf#search=LIANE%20CISMOWSKI&view=FitH&pagemode=none

  • g

    Considering her many talents and affiliations and seating on National and State education boards, one can’t help but wonder where she was during all of the Mt D “gates”.

  • Theresa Harrington

    “We all” did not forget about Cismowski’s political ties to Torlakson. I reported on this when she was first appointed to his team.
    Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla also praised Cismowski during her comments at the Pleasant Hill Town Hall meeting (although she erroneously assumed Cismowski still worked at Olympic HS).
    Cismowski is a former Teacher of the Year in the district, achieved National Board Certification as a teacher and mentored others seeking National Board Certification. She has also served on the National Certification board and supports the idea of offering National Board Certification to administrators. She told me she was piloting the idea of being a teacher/administrator at MDHS.
    She is very well-respected in the education community and she is not in charge of MDHS. She reports to Principal Kate McClatchy.

  • Doctor J

    Theresa, I chime in with G — Liane Cismowski came to Mount with Kate McClatchy — they were approved at the same board meeting. No one doubts her accolades. However, I didn’t find where the board ever approved her as a VP at Olympic — but apparently she had that title. Where was Liane when the QEIA rules were being violated at MDHS ? Where was Liane when the MDHS bathrooms were locked, not stocked, and horribly filthy — take a look at the pics above ? Where was she when the “no confidence” vote against McClatchy ? She may not have been in charge, but she was selected by Kate McClatchy, is the VP of MDHS and should have been leading the “preventative and corrective action” to avoid these conditions.