*Read Your 100+ Comments*—Was Central School Cleared of Race-Based Placement?



Update: theLoop received this letter from the parent in this case:

To the Editor:

 Recently, the U.S. Department of Education the Office of Civil Rights completed an investigation of the Central Elementary School in the Mamaroneck Union Free School District and found segregation occurred involving innocent kindergarten children including my son.. The Mamaroneck UFSD is the school district in which Tim Geithner’s (U.S. Secretary of the Treasury) son just graduated from.  The school district hid the federal investigation and the results from the community and local politicians until today.  The principal and superintendent continue in their respective roles.  I have asked the Department of Education/OCR to continue the investigation of the other grades as well as the problem of segregation is not limited to the kindergarten grade.  Please find (HERE a copy of the letter to download)  that I wrote that initiated the investigation and the report from the Office of Civil Rights detailing their findings.

previous story:

The parent of a Kindergartener at Central Elementary School in Larchmont/Mamaroneck filed a complaint with the Dept. of Education claiming racial desegregation. The result? Depends who you ask.

See the report on LoHud.  Larchmont’s Lou Young filed this report for WCBS.

Then, the letter that came today from Mamaroneck School District, reporting the results of a U.S. Dept.of Education civil rights probe, that caught even many parents at Central Elementary School, where these events took place, by surprise:

Dear Parents and Community Members,

In the fall of 2011, two Kindergarten families from Central School raised concerns about the racial/ethnic make-up of a particular Kindergarten class. While the District’s class placement guidelines require classes to be balanced by factors unrelated to race or ethnicity, these parents questioned whether the school’s administration had used race/ethnicity as part of the placement process and made a complaint to the Board of Education that the school’s administration had discriminated against a particular group of students.

In response to this serious complaint, the Board of Education asked the administration to conduct a review of Central’s class placement procedures and report the findings. In early November, the administration confirmed that Kindergarten students at Central were assigned to classrooms following district guidelines, which balance classes by gender, birthdate, daycare/nursery school attended, and special needs unrelated to race or ethnicity. On November 10, 2011, Central Principal Carol Priore and Superintendent Robert Shaps met with Kindergarten parents to respond to the initial complaint in an open forum and publicly reassure parents of the effort, care, and objective guidelines used to organize elementary classrooms in all our elementary schools.

In December of 2011, a parent formally filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s New York City Office of Civil Rights (OCR) about this issue. The District cooperated in the investigation –providing extensive documentation — and organized a series of interviews between OCR officials, Kindergarten teachers, Principal Priore, and district administration to describe our placement process in detail. In summarizing their findings, OCR found that our class placement guidelines are in fact race-neutral.

Typically, OCR also seeks to ensure that districts implement procedures in a consistent manner in compliance with federal law, and, in this case, OCR raised concerns about the consistent application of our placement procedures. Although we believe that the District application of its procedures was entirely proper, the District voluntarily entered into a resolution agreement with OCR to address OCR’s concerns that we “ensure that class assignment is based upon the consistent application of uniform criteria that does not have the effect of discriminating against students on the basis of race or national origin.” We continue to believe that our class placement procedures promote rich learning environments for all our students.

Moving forward, we will continue to maintain our existing policy of making class placement decisions without regard to race or ethnicity, assign students based upon the consistent application of our placement procedures, and ensure that our written procedures are clear to parents, teachers, and students. As a school district, we value the rich diversity of our community, families, and staff and believe it is what makes our school district special.


Dr. Robert I. Shaps
Superintendent of Schools

Nancy Pierson
President, Board of Education


photo: Central School by Jacqueline Silberbush

151 thoughts on “*Read Your 100+ Comments*—Was Central School Cleared of Race-Based Placement?

  1. Pingback: Mamaroneck Schools Promote Principal in 2011 Racism Complaint at Central | theloop

  2. Sometimes parents are afraid to speak up. When my daughter was in second grade at Central I complained because the teacher called her a name in front of the class and she was really upset . The superintendent at the time told me there were consequences for this . I asked her what the consequences were and if she was threatening me and she did not answer . I got off the phone with her and I called the American Civil Liberities Union and I was told that if there were any “consequences ” I should contact them .I told her this and my daughter was switched into another class.

  3. To Anon Mom….Unless someone had a child in that class they’ll never realize the level of contempt one has for the administration. We all know who was bought off. We all have seen their beautiful orchestration of that PTA meeting in November and the recent meeting at the high school. The had shills present that basically sold their souls. Though I knew the makeup of the class when I saw the photo in the Journal news I broke down and cried. Deep down whether you agree or disagree you know it happened by no accident. Just some people just don’t have the guts to standup whether you had or didn’t have a child in that class…they’re afraid or just don’t give a sh..because their child wasn’t affected.. You I can’t blame. I wish you luck! They know if the picture were ever shown to a jury….it’s all over. 5 year old children….what kind of animal does that to a 5 year old child. There isn’t any excuse for it.

  4. “We requested specific measures to help lessen the effect of the uneven distribution on our child”

    I have a kid in K myself, and still haven’t heard anyone clearly state what ‘effect’ this distribution actually had.

    So, while schools on the north end of town may be more diverse, our schools on the south end have up to 30% more kids in their K classes than you have. Maybe I should sue for discrimination against whites.

  5. As a parent in the class, I was not informed about the Nov 10th meeting. I heard about it on the playground….just like I heard about everything in Middle School. (ha, but not really funny…). So, I did attend and was surprised when Dr. Shaps said there was an uneven distribution in my child’s classroom. I had silently wondered, but would never have had the nerve to ask. As I was trying to take this information in (while parents who didn’t have Kindergarteners where yelling insults at eachother) the administration asked “what do you want to do about it?”. How was I supposed to answer that question in the moment? And, isn’t that the job of the administration? They allow this distribution to happen, then ask us ‘what do you want to do about it?’ It felt like a dare…..I dare you to say you want the classes adjusted! They knew if they surprised us we would be deer in the headlights. Also, they should have had a moderator at that meeting. It was so ugly. What a mess. That was all I had to see to start looking at private schools. And my father was a public school teacher. I just find the whole thing so sad….. And I don’t appreciate anyone posting strong oppinions unless YOUR CHILD was in one of the two classes! If so, go for it.

  6. Many more than two families complained. My husband and I met with the administration several times last year. We requested specific measures to help lessen the effect of the uneven distribution on our child. We were never very satisfied with the Administrations’ actions, but we did not choose take it to the government or courts. This does not mean we were ok with the situation AT ALL. We are now looking at private schools or another school district. My trust in MUSD is shot. Not a great first experience here….

  7. Anonymous, it’s never a wise idea to piss ANY parents off!

    And I speak as a Tiger Dad who’s gone into an IEP meeting with his lawyer at his side, when that seemed a wise precaution.

    Unfortunately you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

  8. “Should the district relook at their policy for placement so it does include race/ethnicity as a criteria? That’s the question that will now go before the policy board – and arriving at an answer will not be easy.”

    In my opinion, it IS easy; it should not, as I’ve said before. No selection criteria should ever include race.

    A set of classes with a very homogenous racial distribution may well not be ‘right’.

    A set of classes with a very heterogeneous racial distribution may well not be ‘wrong’.

    Race should simply not be a factor, period – and that goes for the parents as well as the district. Certainly no intentional segregation, equally no whining if a fair and educationally appropriate placement policy results, as a byproduct, in unintentional ‘segregation’ – or, more correctly, statistically uneven distribution.

    It doesn’t *matter*.

  9. I can tell you the administration never asked the parents in the kindergarten class to vote on any issues about remedying the situation. They had ample time to make corrections or using a novel approach. But then again it just proves what their intentions were. Unfortunately, the parents should have taken the issue to federal court. The judge would have thrown the book at the administration!

  10. TWO families complained…..not seven.

    This was not a two year class – it was together for the 2011 – 2012 school year.

    Both sets of parents claimed they did not want the classes re-distributed although initially one couple was hinting at just that – but they seemed to change their tune when they heard the response to that possibility from other families (both white and non-white)at the meeting at Central. Then one family left – to Chatsworth, cause you know, there are more white families there, and the other was offered a transfer to another kindergarten class at Central. They denied that offer stating that their kid was settled where he was and was doing fine. So, what’s the problem here? Some of us are still shaking our heads trying to figure that one out. The class wound up with more non-whites because race/ethnicity was not used as a criteria for placement – they’ve said it a hundred times and will continue to because that’s what happened. There was no intent to segregate students based on race. Should the district relook at their policy for placement so it does include race/ethnicity as a criteria? That’s the question that will now go before the policy board – and arriving at an answer will not be easy.

  11. I’m completely confused…what was the outcome of the meeting? No mention of the report and asking parents if they want to switch K classes that are 2-years long?

    LOL…so much for that packed library.

  12. I watched tonight’s Board Meeting and I am puzzzled- 7 parents went to the District and complained. Then after their review of the situation the District/central school asked the parents what they wanted to do split the kindergarten or let it remain. So the majority won over the minority ? Also I believe this was a 2 year class , so why let it stay for 2 years – why not correct the problem at the end of the year if this was the case.

  13. Do you honestly think a 1/2 hour meeting can fully address the issue. The deck is stacked. An address by Pierson and questions/comments presented by shills planted in the audience. The library will not even accommodate those wishing to attend. With the time allotted I calculate just enough time for 8-10 questions.

  14. Seriously everyone…stop feeding the trolls here and they will move on. This last post doesn’t even deserve a response. If you have something to say, say it at the board meeting.

  15. Jimenez is a true hero for showing the courage, the fortitude and perseverance to take on an inept administration that practices and condones racial/ethnic discrimination. How many of us would have advocated for our child? Most of us would probably have cowardly feared reprisals. Not Jimenez! She took on the administration and practically brought them to their knees. Look at their videos and you can see the stress in their faces, the bags under their eyes, and the strain in their voices. We have witnessed a squall move through with regard to the aftermath of the federal report, but I’m sure the eye of the storm looms on the horizon. I read there is a potential for another comprehensive federal investigation by OCR and maybe DOJ, and various state and local government agencies as well. We can only hope she doesn’t file a personal lawsuit against the school district….that would be the death knell to the school budget, school board, and the town. We need to look at the big picture…Priore must go for allowing this situation to occur; Shaps needs to go and the board needs to resign. The feds have fixed the situation by monitoring the school so history doesn’t repeat itself. Its only a matter of time before the segregation story makes prime time national news. Who would want to raise their children in a perceived racist community. Real estate sales would suffer. Taxes would rise to cover costs of litigation and a jury award. I could see the Supreme Court decision and case law called Jimenez vs Mamaroneck UFSD. Just think of all that negative publicity. The only positive note will be the wonderful lesson to be learned on the workings of a democracy. Jimenez will be an inspiration and legend to all!

  16. wow Phyllis…..so what your saying is your willing to accept whatever crumbs they’re willing to throw your way, even if they give you a separate and somewhat equal education. Just ceases to amaze me human nature….so you would have excepted the situation that Jimenez found her child in? And it was ok that they have segregated that kindergarten class for the last 2 years and the 2011-2012 was described as significant by the feds. And it was Ok to do this to 5 year olds?

  17. Phyllis, don’t feed the trolls :-)

    A troll is a common species on the internet. Properly done, trolling can almost be art form, but more often they’re lower forms of life, such as here; this is not art, it’s abusive and confrontational as you point out.

    Add the stigma of anonymity and the sin is compounded by cowardice.

  18. wow anonymous. FYI, I am a mom of 3 kids at central school (one now in hmx). No ties to admin other than great respect for how well they have served my children who are half minority and one special needs. I could not have asked for more from a top private school for all 3 of them. Your extremely confrontational attitude is destructive…have you read the post by jsacks? do you want to resolve real issues in a constructive manner? Your words and attitude say no.

  19. Sounds to me you’re one of the shills or you’re part of the administration. I think Jiminez let you off easy for now or lolled you into believing she’s done. But like the administration thought the segregation issue would be swept under the carpet and they wouldn’t have to tell the community and they underestimated her tenacity and ability….I wouldn’t be sleeping nights. So…..sleep tight while you can….

  20. What is likely to be heard from the “shills” are the questions raised by Jsacks. Reasonable, valid questions that deserve careful thought and consideration in order to resolve the real issues.

  21. PR people, lawyers and shills? Describes to me Ms Jiminez and her gang… who have been camera and media hounding any outlet possible to trash a top rated school district to further her goals. Shaps et al have been going about their business of running a top rated school district.

  22. I’m utterly open about who I am, and a brief Google would confirm it. I am what I am and I say what I think, like any honourable Scotsman. Since you’re too lazy to Google, this is on my personal website:


    Either that’s me, or the real Mike Ross is in for a hell of a surprise :-)

    Not that I have to prove anything to YOU, Mr/Ms Anonymous Coward. But I’ve nothing whatever to hide either – which is more than you can say. What are you hiding?

  23. Careful there are shills out there. The administration is in damage control mode. Shaps is known to stack the deck. He has PR people and a team of lawyers working hard for him and spending mega bucks. Taxpayer dollars. Don’t be surprised to see lots of people at the board meeting that are planted by the administration. I’m sure they’ll be on the question/answer sign in sheets.

  24. What proof does anyone have your name is Mike Ross? It’s the Internet, you could be having a “holier than thou” attitude & your name is Susan Jones?

  25. “…four kindergarten teachers.. those women…”

    They were 100% female???

    Do we need to take a close look at sexism in the school district as well as racism? Is any group or gender over or under represented in the teaching staff? How should we address this… fire teachers until we achieve gender balance?

    Ye Gods. Remember what I said about giving little respect to anonymous contributions? ‘Anonymous’ is proving my point for me…

  26. I worked for federal agency I won’t name for 22 years. What usually happens in cases like this someone cracks and then the finger pointing starts. If the OCR were to start another investigation its all over for people at the top. If the DOJ comes in here the pressure will be intense like a vise. Expect to see teachers and staff pointing fingers. I just wouldn’t want to be one of those teachers. My advice never cover for your superiors. They could never be fired for telling the truth whereas they risk being fired if they are covering for the principal. I remember a case I was involved in, I won’t say where, but they cleaned house. I’m sure people are not sleeping nights over this.

  27. Don’t see how 4 teachers, school psychologist, assistant principal, and principal all ignored race-neutral guidelines and created segregation in kindergarten. Amazing when you consider all that brain power sitting at a table and they couldn’t do their job. They couldn’t get it right. Someone is covering for someone!

  28. To the uninformed and ignorant person who posted that the four kindergarten teachers lied to the commission – shame on you. Those women are all well respected educators, with high integrity. You obviously are not. These teachers are loving, caring, intelligent and not racist, just as we want are children to be. Thankfully they taught our children wonderfully last year, despite the turmoil around them. They should not be thrown under the bus with the administration nor district.

  29. I’m afraid I’m from the old-school internet where anyone unwilling to put their name behind their opinion was generally treated with considerably less respect.

    There were exceptions of course – in one area I frequented back in the ’90s, ‘Gharlane of Eddore’ was a frequent contributor of the highest quality and reputation, and he remained entirely anonymous until after he had passed away. But he was the exception rather than the rule; the netiquette I was inculcated with held anonymity to be childish, unless the poster was a dissenter under threat of persecution, for instance. But I digress considerably!

  30. IMHO…its nice to have the anonymous option. you will get more people willing to respond. perhaps a reminder though, because it IS so easy to forget putting that info in when you are just focusing on replying.

  31. Mike, some great points you’ve made! If someone were to ask me the “what are you” question, my response would be “AMERICAN”. So would my kids. Going beyond, getting racial and asking our race…well that is entirely up for debate. My kids LOOK caucasian. But are half south asian. Does this mean that THEY will get to choose for their own benefit whether they belong to the “white majority” or to the “south asian minority”? America is a melting pot. we are all AMERICANS first and foremost. We have come such a long way since the birth of our country and race should not matter, should not be a defining criteria in ANY setting. That is how I have seen this community and this school district operate. This school district is top rated and there is reason for this.

    and just a note abt anon posts…when you rip off a comment without pausing to fill in the top of the form, it doesnt remind you to log in, add your name etc. It just posts. I did this once, ripped off a reply OOPS forgot my name at the top and it just posted as anonymous.

  32. Oh I missed a question from DM, asking if any posters were non-white?

    My skin is white, but I’m an immigrant from a very different culture – in fact, from friends I’ve made and conversations I’ve had, in some respects my culture and ‘worldview’ has more in common with Native American and Pacific Island cultures.

    I may look like you but I am not you – and neither are my kids.

  33. Oh and there are too many people here posting under the ‘anonymous’ handle; it gets quite confusing. Have the courage of your convictions and use your own name as I do!

  34. “Equal education it was not.”

    If you define equal education as simplistically as having x number of every color in the class, no it was not.

    If, however, you define it as something greater and better, than yes it was absolutely an equal education.

    The bottom line is that the school district stated that it does NOT consider race in class placement. And, on their response on the district website to this whole three-ring circus (started by a failing paper desperate for a scoop) they again stated that they have no plans to start using race.

    In so doing, especially in a district with so many minorities, you will end up with statistical anomolies from time to time. But one or two classes do not make a pattern. For all of the screaming done by a small number of mostly non-parents, there are a ton of us with kids in the schools that know that this district is anything but discriminatory.

  35. People are banging on about black and white, yearbook photos… would someone please explain the problem to me?

    IF a selection process (any selection process, let’s not restrict this to this class or this school or education generally – ANY selection process) is truly colourblind, and produces a result that is correct and fair based on all *relevant* criteria, BUT a result that is also in some way or by some measure racially unbalanced, is there a problem? Does something need to be ‘fixed’?

    That’s as simple a yes/no question as you can get in this debate.

    If your answer is ‘yes’, you’re arguing against colourblindness and in favour of racism and quotas, and you and I have nothing further to say to each other…

    I’m not interested in the colour of the skin of the kids in the yearbook photo, I’m only interested in knowing if they were in the ‘right’ class for their educational needs. NOTHING else matters, whether the result is statistical complete uniformity, or significant racial segregation.

  36. You someone to explain the OCR report to you. Your missing the point. Equal education it was not. I have shown the class picture to many many people….all with the same reaction. Their jaws hang in amazement. This was not the difference between white and off white or black and gray. This was the difference between night and day or black and white. Shame on you for even thinking it was acceptable. I also implore you to view the other grades, especially the 5th grade. I saw the 2011-2012. The teachers are foolish for covering for the Principal. My wife is an ex-teacher at Central. Never lie to a federal investigator! It’s a crime.

  37. I didn’t say that at all. We should be race neutral – which is what the school was and look where it got them. I don’t want my child’s placement dependent on her skin color, I want it dependent on where she will do her best learning (and I never said anything about her level of achievement as a criteria). I could care less what the rest of the kids look like, how smart/struggling the kid next to mine is or what the first language of the teacher is. I don’t want white and non-white kids counted based on their appearance and I sure as hell don’t want my kid’s class picture held up as an example of something “bad” and distasteful. That class was a wonderful group of kids and families and to imply there was something wrong with it is disgraceful. I sat at the meeting – I heard what the criteria was directly from the people involved including the teachers. I believe them. I have no reason not to as the kids had a great year and received equally good instruction and had the same great experiences as the other kindergarten classes. As someone else stated in another post, there are four kindergarten teachers – 2 are white, one is Hispanic and one is African American. Not buying for a minute that they sat around and intentionally placed more non-white children into one class. Did it turn out that one did have what appeared to be more non-white kids? Okay, I’ll bite and play the “let’s base a kids race/ethnicity on what they look like game” and say yes. So, maybe they were guilty of not considering race. I think some call that being “race neutral”. So, they’re being told they better not make that mistake again. Which will come with a price – but I’ve already discussed that in my previous post.

  38. If your stating we shouldn’t use race-neutral criteria and use intelligence instead I think it best you not send your child for a public school education but a private school would be a better choice to suit your phobias. We live in a democracy and there are laws to uphold.

  39. Oh, and Anon E Mous…your statement of …”personally I didn’t see anythng wrong with showing class photos. It is published in a book that can be bought and viewed by anyone. The Mamaroneck School District has published photos of our students on their website, and no one is complaining.”
    The yearbooks are not available for just anyone to buy – they aren’t advertised for public purchase but are sold only to families in the school. And the important point you don’t mention about the website photos is that the district has acquired permission to post pics of those students. Parents have to sign a form at the beginning of year allowing photos of their child to be published. That’s why you don’t hear families complaining – because obviously, they’ve given that permission. Did Ms. Jimenez allow the same courtesy to the families of those five year olds when she held up photos and names of all those children for the world to see?
    And please stop making assumptions about income status based on the fact that people live in apartments.

  40. Are any of the posters here non-white? If so, I’d like to make sure that you’re going to be available to come and help me explain this all to my child when she isn’t matched with the best teacher/class to meet her needs because well, that class already has its quota of non-whites. Because that’s what all of this going to result in. Now, instead of the staff thinking about what my child’s academic needs are and how best to meet them, they’ll have to first count how many minorities are already in the class they’re considering for her.
    For those of us who are directly effected by this at the school there are reasons that we’re not all clamoring to support this woman with her agenda. Thought about that? Thought about the fact that maybe we don’t want our kids’ skin color to be a factor in what class they are placed in? My guess is that most if not all of you who are screaming, “Segregation; Discrimination; Intent;” are white liberals who need to step back and realize that you’re fighting a fight that many of us aren’t asking you to. I understand the criteria they used for placement because I heard it explained firsthand. The class wound up with more non-whites because 1. They didn’t have racial/ethnic information on many of the students when the classes were formed 2. Even when it is available it is self-reported by parents, so let’s think about the validity of the info. 3. Many parents choose not to reveal that info on the form which is their right 4. Unlike Ms. Jimenez and her friend who happily got her transer to Chatsworth, the staff does not make assumptions/judgements about race and ethnicity based on a last name…and last but not least, they do not use it as criteria for placement anyway.
    But of course, now they will have to and I won’t repeat myself as to why I don’t appreciate it. And have any of you thought about the implications for class size? It’s been past practice, that as new students are enrolled once classes are formed or the year has begun, the new student is placed in the class with the smallest register – because there’s all that good research about how class size impacts learning… Well, I guess that will get thrown out now as well. Sorry Michael’s mom, you’ll have to go into the class of 25 students even though another class has less students because you’re the wrong color and will throw off the balance.
    Again, thanks.

  41. Well Said Anon! Do we want the Superintendent Dr. Shaps, the Central School Principal Priore, the School Board, and teachers that have lied and deceived Federal Invesigators and lets not forget the community of Larchmont/Mamaroneck, to be role models for our children. Do we want our children to grow up and think segregation is OK and that it is OK to violate Civil Rights statutes and it is OK to lie…I think not! Go get a 2011-2012 Central School Yearbook and take a look at the other grades I did as someone suggested. It doesn’t matter if you feel good things were done at Central. Criminals do good things too.

  42. What do our administrators get paid for ? I thought it was oversight and supervision. I guess no one thought it was their job to correct the “statistical anomaly”. Also I wonder how the children in the other classes perceived this class. When my daughter was in kindergarten she went with her dance class to a nursing home . She told my mother there were mostly grandmas and and hardly any grandpas. Children process their environment and try to make sense of it

  43. Agreed. The segregation may have ended up as race, but I find that we also segregate according to income. All of these kids seem to live in “rental apartments.” This is all about “we vs them.” Where does it start? I believe in the homes, in our country clubs, synagogues, churches and social situation where we don’t want our kids to socialize with each other. We are a community known to separate and now got caught by OCR in segregating.

  44. Mike, personally I didn’t see anythng wrong with showing class photos. It is published in a book that can be bought and viewed by anyone. The Mamaroneck School District has published photos of our students on their website, and no one is complaining.

  45. Thank you so much for your insightful remarks. I am so ashamed of our district for violating our children’s Civil Rights and insulting behavior. Dr. Shap in his video looked like a cartoon character. He insults our intelligence. Get rid of him.

  46. Intent can be proven. Ignorance is no defense in the eyes of the law. Priore was an expert! She obviously knew the result of her class placement actions. Its her job to. She thought she was above the law and could get away with it. She got caught. My neighbor had last terms yearbook. The problem was not just limited to kindergarten. Guilty as charged!

  47. Today’s anonymous post is spot on…

    Will this make Race a primary criteria in class selection?

    There are at least three separate issues here:

    1. How did the district handle this situation and was it appropriate:
    a) Was this parents concerns and the child’s needs properly addressed (putting the child first)?
    b) Was the handling of notification to the community adequate and appropriate.
    c) Was the districts process of review of this situation consistent, fair and objective?

    2. Was the school district Policy adhered to during the placement process:
    a) OCR says there was no intent to discriminate, but the end result of the current selection process ended up in a biased class. Is that acceptable to both the district and to the community?
    b) In an attempt to use one criteria over another (i.e. parent requests) was it appropriate to negate age of child as a criteria (sic: OCR Finding)?

    3. And the broader issue “Should race be a factor in class selection?”:
    a) How can the district stay both race neutral and incorporate race?
    b) If criteria factors to be considered are Gender, Age, Attendance in Pre K, Special Needs, where does race fit in? 1st, 2nd, 3rd,….?
    c) Why does race matter? Why can there not be a racially imbalanced class? Should it not be the job of the school system to place children in the most “appropriate” class to foster maximum learning?

    Staying focused on these issues and creating a healthy debate with all of the facts having been disclosed is the only way to create the best situation for our children. There are quite a few facts that this writer is aware of that have yet to come to light that should be disclosed in the proper forum.

    As a person close to school operations, as member of many school committees, an involved PTA member and a parent of two children in the district, I firmly believe (and confirmed by the OCR report) that there was never an attempt to segregate or discriminate and that the best interest of the children was always taken into account.

    However, I do believe that there are issues that need addressed:

    1. The current complaint/resolution needs to be put to bed. The determination that OCR will monitor the district for 2 years and during that time the district will better define the policy that is both acceptable to the community as well as meet all the criteria specified by the DOE should be accepted as adequate.
    2. This episode highlights a problem between the district and from my experience many members of the Hispanic community. A lack of trust and a sense of the district not giving Hispanics their fair share of resources.

    Both of these should issues need to be openly explored and debated in a constructive way. Threats and intimidation on either side will only be counterproductive.

  48. As a result of this mess, here is my vision of what is most likely to happen: Children are placed in classes for their optimal learning experience. Classes are then reviewed for head count by race. Childen are moved out of optimal learning experience so that race is “evenly distributed” regardless of other factors. Hence classroom selection is going to be BASED ON RACE.

  49. I am a formet central school parent and my daughter had Donna Russell . My kids years at Cental were great. OCR found that there was discrimination and intent is not what their decisions are soley based on.

  50. Well said, JRC, on 9/18. A quick review of blog comments here and at the Patch reveals that most of the negative comments come from people without Central experience. Many of the parents with Central experience (like me) believe that the admin and teachers were trying to form the best learning environment for all of the incoming kids.

  51. It does not matter what the intent was the end result is the problem. The result of unintentional acts are sometimes wrong/hurtful. A person’s rights can be violated unintentionally. This could have been rectified by the principal and/or the superintendent when the matter was brought to their attention . Their dismissive self righteous behavior is also a big factor .

  52. I saw a story or post that said the parents have Norman Siegel as an attorney and are going to sue the district for 15 million dollars.

  53. You need to look at the facts of the case against central. It’s not what u think or don’t think…look at the objective findings. I’ve read that the parents are looking for a more comprehensive OCR and DOJ investigation. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this story.

  54. There seems to be some real gaps here in understanding the placement process. Many of you seem to think that the principal forms the classes – not so. It was explained to us at a meeting last year at Central that the teachers make the classes using the criteria that was described at the same meeting and repeated in the report. The administration comes into the picture late in the process to look over the lists and if necessary, suggest changes based on criteria that the teachers may not be privvy to (i.e. parent info shared with admin about peers, prior experience with one of the teachers, etc.) Given that of the 4 kindergarten teachers two are white and two are non-white, I find it hard to believe that they sat around and purposely said, “Let’s put as many non-white kids in one class as possible”. It not only doesn’t make any sense to do that, but more importantly, given what many of us know about the character of the teachers and the administration, we KNOW this didn’t/couldn’t happen. Did it turn out that there were more non-white students in that class? Apparently, yes – but as they have explained over and over again, it was not intentional as race/ethnicity is not a criteria they consider for placement. Perhaps this is why other parents haven’t backed the ones who are making all the fuss? Because they trust what they know about the individuals involved unlike many of the negative posters here.
    It’s a shame that in this day and age, we jump to assume the worst about people and their intentions. However, I can say from a long history of being involved with Central as a parent of 3, that I’m going to assume the best in this situation because the explanation makes sense to me; I know the people involved and that they are fiercely devoted to kids and have their best interests at heart; and I know they are human – and in hindsight even if they would have done things differently, they didn’t do anything to intentionally hurt children or to create this situation with malintent. Had they purposely created race dominant classes, it would be a civil rights issue. However, since it was not intentional, it’s not.

  55. Hey, I’d dismiss Shaps just for the 6-day specials schedule, but that is another issue entirely! ;)

    Why is this Shaps’ fault, though? Did anyone find that he was aware of this? We are at another school, and they absolutely are not doing this, so why Central? There had to have been a reason, I wish they would just come clean and move on past all of the speculation. If the principal had ill intentions, dismiss her, not him.

  56. When my special needs child approached grade k, his wonderful speech teacher gave me words of wisdom tht i will never forget and always look for to ensure the best education for my kids. “You dont want your kids to be at the TOP of the class…this can tend to foster boredom and complaceny. You dont want them to be at the BOTTOM of the class because that can crush confidence and self esteem. Being somewhere in the middle gives them ability to strive harder, be prouder of acheivements and also teach them empathy and helpfulness to their peers.”. There is a reason that our district is top rated…they structure the classes so that as many kids as possible are in that middle zone. It tends to even out after grade k, after those k-kids who come to school from day care not knowing ABCs, not being readers yet get that basic foundation. Placing kids based on their race rather than where they could do best will only serve to disrupt and shrink that middle zone. i thought a couple of times thqt i knew better thqn the school and made a teacher request which was denied. turns out that the teacher i thought would not be best for my kid was actually the best he ever had.

  57. Case closed!…the question remains how wide spread was the discrimination? We should be asking for the dismissal of those responsible and those that condoned the discrimination! Shaps has a history of creating problems in school districts! His path of destruction runs from New Hampshire into Westchester County.

  58. In the Journal News article today on page3A I quote this response to a followup questions by the newspaper. “the Department of Civil Rights spelled out the allegations emphatically” Their response was “According to our office for Civil Rights, yes .we found discrimination had occurred” a spokesman said via email.

  59. “The majority of the comments completely miss the point: the school violated federal civil rights laws and has agreed to oversight.”

    This is simply NOT true! Did you even read the report? It is not even required to take race into account in K placement. Eastchester openly admitted that they don’t even look at race. All we were found guilty of is being ‘inconsistent’ in following our normal placement criteria. Yes, someone should have said ‘now, this seems odd!’ on the first day of school, but nobody found any evidence that we were specifically creating ‘minority classes’. Please, stop making us to be racist. If anything, Mamaroneck is so much more accepting than neighboring communities. And now this woman wants us to pay for her kid to go to Scarsdale?? The difference between Scarsdale and Mamaroneck is that in Scarsdale, the WHITE parents would be complaining about having too many minorities in the class. Good luck over there!

    Most of you also miss the fact that she was offered another class. She wanted to transfer to the whitest school in the district. When she was denied, she wanted to be sent to one of the whitest DISTRICTS. If she didn’t have such obvious ulterior motives (and had any backing from other hispanic Central parents, which she does not), she’d have more credibility.

  60. Polly:

    “having worked as a journalist in many different media, that one must ask permission of a parent/guardian before showing the face of a person under 18 on TV or in the newspaper”

    That’s simply not the case as you well know. I’m going downtown in a few minutes to cover the Occupy Wall Street protests, in the hope I get some saleable images. I can positively guarantee you there will be people under 18 in many of those images, and I can positively guarantee you no parental consent will be obtained before they’re published, because the publisher won’t know who they are or how to contact the parents.

    To go to the other extreme, if someone under 18 is named and interviewed on camera, that might be different – although even there it’s a matter of balancing competing interests – the rights of the parents versus the rights of journalists to report a story. If there are good reasons why the parents should not be asked or informed and the story is in the public interest… “Congress shall make no law…”

  61. The majority of the comments completely miss the point: the school violated federal civil rights laws and has agreed to oversight. The statements by the school board make the situation worse by omitting this fact. The district should apologize for the “inconsistent” application of its policies which caused a disparate impact. It doesn’t matter what the mother’s motives were or whether you like her- the violation of federal law was there. Don’t you want race neutral classrooms? The students deserve better.

  62. xanthe,
    I can tell you, having worked as a journalist in many different media, that one must ask permission of a parent/guardian before showing the face of a person under 18 on TV or in the newspaper. In terms of crime, the courts seal records so that identities/punishments are not publicly available for minors.
    A yearbook, on the other hand, is public domain. You often see news subjects’ photos from yearbooks because reporters were able to get that legally. Using the likeness of a 5-year-old in a yearbook is probably legal, but just feels wrong.
    Just because this parent showed the news media the yearbook does not mean the individual media should not have weighed whether showing the children’s faces was ethical/proper. In all the reports I saw, and in cases like this on theLoop, the faces are blurred.

  63. Can someone please clarify why I sometimes see pictures with the faces blurred. Also why did the major news media blurr faces? When a minor is arrested they do not release the name or the picture. This is confusing . Thanks

  64. “illegal to put yearbook pictures in the newspaper”

    If you’re claiming it’s illegal then cite the damn law. I’m rapidly losing patience here.

    The *only* vague, slight possibility that might exist is that it could be argued to be *unlawful* (not illegal) as a matter of copyright. But if you do a little research on the ‘fair use doctrine’, you’ll rapidly conclude that any such claim would be doomed to fail. So please tell us, exactly what law do you think was broken?

  65. The Law is The Law – you’re referring to commercial use for advertising or trade, as the law states. That’s a VERY particular circumstance and irrelevant to this case; it’s down to the USE of the image. I can photograph your child in a public place – anywhere where there’s no expectation of privacy – and blog that image, or use it in a news story, or any similar literary or journalistic use. What I *can’t* do, as you rightly point out, is use that image to advertise something without parental consent; they can therefore veto advertising they don’t approve of, and they can demand to be paid…

    Think about it: if the law were as you claim, every news crew filming anywhere in New York state would have to scrupulously ensure there were no minors in the shot, even unintentionally in the background, because the footage would be going out without parental permission – which is obviously bullshit, that’s not how it works!

  66. “If your child is in special education, then you are more than aware of the strict confidentionality built into the laws involving such classifications. You have to sign-off on the people you allow to see your child’s diagnosis and IEP. NO ONE can reveal/make reference to special education classifications without written consent from that child’s parents.”

    Yes, all true – but *that only applies to school district employees* (and other professionals dealing with the care of the child under laws such as HIPPA). It does NOT apply in any way to Joe Public! If I am aware that my neighbour, or anyone else, has a special needs kid, there’s no law whatever preventing me publishing that, or blogging about it. If you believe there is, cite it! Otherwise I cite the 1st amendment. And at least I have the integrity to do it under my own name…


  67. Mike Ross- if you are, in fact, a photographer, please reference the law below for your own protection…

    Section 50 of Chapter 6 of New York’s Consolidated Laws provides:

    A person, firm or corporation that uses for advertising purposes, or for the purposes of trade, the name, portrait or picture of any living person without having first obtained the written consent of such person, or if a minor of his or her parent or guardian, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
    Section 51 allows such a person to bring an action for damages.

  68. Mike: There IS NOT anything shameful about being special Ed, however IT IS AGAINST THE LAW for that information to be made public.
    If your child is in special education, then you are more than aware of the strict confidentionality built into the laws involving such classifications. You have to sign-off on the people you allow to see your child’s diagnosis and IEP. NO ONE can reveal/make reference to special education classifications without written consent from that child’s parents.
    If you are not aware of the laws, I suggest you speak with a SEPTA representative so you know your own child’s rights & make sure they are protected.

  69. LindaP:

    “outed special ed kids”


    You make it sound like there is, or should be, something shameful about having, or being, a special ed kid – that it’s a secret, something that people should be expected to conceal.

    I have a special ed kid. Sandy Donald Ross, late of Murray Avenue, just left to start at his new school on the other side of the world – we’re moving! I couldn’t be more proud of him.

    My feelings towards YOU at this point are unprintable. ‘outed’ my arse!


  70. I’m afraid I’m going to have to use the ‘b’ word again.

    “you releasing the document about which race of children were held back, placed in classes, your showing photos of children without permission… your 15 minutes of fame have led to reporters videotaping children on news channels without permission, publishing photos of children/faculty without permission (where even if they were taken down, you can still find them throughout the Internet.).
    You have violated many privacy rights, civil rights, educational rights, special education rights, et cetera.”

    Excuse me, I call bullshit here.

    You’re asserting a bunch of ‘rights’ that don’t exist. What privacy rights are you talking about exactly? I’m a photographer/cinematographer, and I can assure you there are no ‘rights’ of privacy involved here. If I can see it, I can photograph it. I don’t need anyones permission. That’s the law. Educational professionals may be restricted, by law, professional standards, or district policy, regarding what information they can release about students, but there is no such restriction on private citizens. Provided it’s truthful and not defamatory they can publish what they like. ‘So-and-so has an autistic child in special needs’ is not a state secret!

    So many people these days go around aggressively insisting they have ‘rights’ – rights to privacy, rights not to be photographed, rights not to have things said or published about them – it’s all bullshit, all has no basis in law, and just makes them look ignorant, aggressive, and nasty.


  71. “It makes no difference what criteria were used to select the students for the classes. The end result is racial segregation! Fix it.”

    I’ve heard a lot of this in the fire service (and please note I’m speaking for myself, and NOT about, or in any connection with, MY fire department here).

    The FDNY, the New Haven 20… in all cases the cry has been ‘it doesn’t matter how fair, even-handed, inclusive, or racially-neutral the selection process was, if the end result happens to be racially unbalanced, it’s racist and unfair and discriminatory’.

    I’m a Scotsman. I call a spade a spade. I call that thinking *bullshit*.

    Some people here are speaking and acting like the first and most important criterion in class selection should be that the end result is racially balanced. I call that bullshit too. The entire process – at school, or anywhere else – should be colourblind.

    (And I don’t get this whole American thing of regarding ‘Hispanic’ as a race; to a European they’re all European, whether they’re blonde Scandinavians or dark-skinned Mediterranean types.)


  72. The facts will come out (some are starting to here).

    Mr. Luis Quiros, is behind Ms. Jimenz, he is the militant leader of Padres Unidos. The group that pulled out of Hommocks this year refusing to be a parent/teacher organization stating that they must maintain independence from the school to properly represent the entire Latino community, not just parents (even though they are a Parent committee at the school to help provide support on both sides, parent and school).

    This event is a smoke screen to their real agenda, unfortunately they are not sure of what their agenda is other than to be a thorn in the side of the district.

    They have vowed a vendetta against the school system for mostly petty issues (and a few legitimate ones). They are using this situation to gain leverage to negotiate their agenda.

    They feel they do not get their due in the system and want more, not through constructive dialog but through threats and now intimidation.

    You are all falling into a trap of a fiction that was created around a mistake. A mistake that was meant to be in the best interest of the children, not for some intention to discriminate.

    The real issue to be debated is what should the school system do to pick Kindergarten classes?

    Should it do it by blind lottery?

    What if it turns out to be biased, then do they re-sort it out to make sure it is gender, age and racially balanced?

    Should the school district take into account special needs, such as ESL, Learning Disabilities and physical handicaps?

    Should the school district be able to put friends together at parents request to help ease the separation and anxiety for a child?

    Who has even determined that race in some way balances a class? Is there any data to show that students will learn better in a racially diverse class?

    Shouldn’t the school be color blind? How can they be color blind when they are asked to consider race?

    These are the real issues, will everyone be 100% happy? No. 60+ comments on this site and not one has made a suggestion as to how this problem is solved.

    Well, Mr. Quiros got what he was looking for a scandal that he created to divide the public and you have all fallen into the trap.

  73. why does everyone think that providing a newspaper with pictures of a yearbook is illegal… Did you guys go to crappy kindergartens or something??

  74. If she want’s to go to Scarsdale, let her. I can think of no more fitting punishment. Those women will eat her and her “poor, minority, living in the project” kid alive.

    But seriously, if there is an attorney willing to fight against this woman, post a link here or something. If she wants to fight dirty, the gloves are off.

  75. I believe it would be helpful to seperate whatever feelings people have about this one person from the facts noted in the OCR report. Also, Ms. Jimenez is not the person who originally approached the administration. The mother who approached first has been very low key but firm in her position. Our school is not perfect, or awful. No school is perfect. None. Pretending that problems don’t exist hurts the school, students, and parents.

  76. truthanothingbtruth – you may as well just reveal who you are since it’s pretty obvious by a few of your comments in the thread below. Those of us that have dealt directly with you have no doubt.
    And I applaud Ms. Russell for “taking the fifth”. You state that this was in response to her being “asked to appear with Lou Young”. Um, no, not exactly. She was approached in a hostile manner (not by Lou Young, but you already know that)while other children and families were around at dismissal time. And when she refused to comment she was threatened that she would be subpoened….Nice. On school property with children in close proximity. Being the professional that she is,she did the right thing in not commenting at such an inappropriate time and to someone who approached her in such a hostile manner.
    You and I agree on one point only – you state below, “Here we are talking about defenseless precious, innocent 5 year-olds that don’t see skin color, that don’t harbor any prejudice. They just see another 5 year-old in the playground and want to have fun.” So then why are you and Ms. Jimenez making color such an issue? What lessons do you think her innocent child that she’s plastered all over the internet and in newspapers is learning from this circus about acceptance and skin color and prejudice? If she was so bothered by the skin color of her son’s classmates, she should have taken the administration up on the offer of changing his class a year ago.

  77. TRUTH-
    That’s a repulsive thing to do!
    You failed to mention the Spanish teacher that was part of this group… Interesting “spin” on your part! In fact, you don’t have all the teachers for the year in question correct at all!
    You’re for equal rights? I take TREMENDOUS offense to the “black teacher” comment YOU wrote.
    This mom had an agenda & used race to get it.
    As part of a “minority” community at Central, I feel she is 100% WRONG about Central & I KNOW her TRUE motives. WE DON’T SUPPORT HER BECAUSE SHES WRONG ABOUT THE SCHOOL WE LOVE!
    She’s just greedy!
    If there was discrimination, we certainly would’ve been behind her… THERE WASN’T!
    SHE’S DOING ALL THIS TO GET INTO WHAT SHE CONSIDERS A BETTER SCHOOL & ULTIMATELY A BETTER SCHOOL DISTRICT… BOTH ALMOST ALL WHITE! Why not just move to those zones/districts. She was offered a choice of whatever class she wished! SHE REFUSED… Wanting a whiter school only… Now a whiter district!
    Obviously Central is racially diverse if she’s running to whiter and whiter schools/districts. Why not STAY where it’s diverse & get on all the commitees Central has for minorities & build them even stronger!

  78. Xanthe – I read the article…
    1. It’s in the “opinion” section, which means someone sent it in.
    2. It DOESN’T slam anything. In fact, it reinforces there was no intentional segregation.
    3. It CLEARLY states THE MOTHER approached the newspaper, not that The Journal News went to her.
    4. Again, she loves posing for her 15 minutes of fame… Exposing her son’s image each time… Where will he ever not be known? We’ll have to pay for him to constantly change schools. Her son has become a pawn in her game.
    5. Where are all these Central minorities that she claims are behind her? She’s always pictured alone! It’s because they know Central & see through her!

  79. Did you read page 14A in today Sunday Opinion page where they say “The district would do well on its own to secure independent outside help. Or Neither he(shaps) nor the school board seems equiped to judge given the short shrift they gave Jiminez’s earlier complaints and their lack of candor since the government intervened … these are a few of the “not blasting ” a statements made in the editorial today. Also, states there are a lot of questions District should be asking after being called on the carpet for producing what was an essentially racially segregated kindergarten classes “

  80. Mary Mcleod Bethune said it so eloquently…”If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything….that smacks of discrimination….” I leave you, finally a responsibility to our young people.” All of you who are taking the side of the administration should be ashamed of yourselves. What happened during the holocaust? There were people that just stoodby. Here we are talking about defenseless precious, innocent 5 year-olds that don’t see skin color, that don’t harbor any prejudice. They just see another 5 year-old in the playground and want to have fun. The school administration, in particular Principal Priore made race an issue. She had the final say in the class creation process. Though the Federal probe just looked at the kindergarten year for 2011-2012, and called it a statistical significant disparity, racial segregation existed in the other grades as well. In fact if you look in the 2011-2012 yearbook you will find Ms. Plati’s class significantly white to the same degree as the segregated kindergarten class. This was not an ISOLATED incident. But I’m sure Dr. Shaps will issue his clownish statement and call it a “statistical anomaly”. It should be noted that Mrs. Russell, the kindergarten teacher for Class 1 in the report, the segregated class, had the same class for the 2010-2011 year and the Federal investigators found the same disparity of minority students. One can only wonder why she was given this class for 2 consecutive years. Mrs. Russell, a black teacher, was a 2nd grade teacher for the 2009-2010 school year. Mrs. Russell was asked to appear on the camera for Lou Young of CBS news and stated “I plead the 5th”. The district released a statement to the community Wednesday, saying, in part, “In summarizing their findings, OCR found that our class placement guidelines are in fact race-neutral. ”Norman Siegel, ‘The’ most prominent civil rights attorney today, a former director of the New York ACLU, and a former candidate for the city advocate position called the school’s statement, signed by Superintendent of Schools Robert I. Shaps and board President Nancy Pierson “disingenuous.”
    “The way they applied the guidelines were not race-neutral,” Siegel said. “The OCR found that it had a disproportionate, adverse impact on students of color.”
    Siegel said he was alarmed by the school’s attempts to “spin the letter to say they did nothing wrong.”
    “It’s troubling that they are not being candid. The way to remedy the situation is to first admit your mistake,” he said. Furthermore, the school board and Dr. Shaps have known about the OCR federal investigation since December 2011 and had been in negotiations since at least June 2012 to tone down the language in the OCR report. The School administration/board knew of the resolution agreement in early August yet during all this time they failed to tell our community about the Federal probe until Sept. 12, 2012 when the news media descended upon the Central School. Our school board has 2 attorney’s, and as lawyers have a higher standard to uphold. They had a fiduciary responsibility as attorneys to notify this community of these serious allegations and the report outlining the resolution. They failed to do so. I wonder why?
    Robin Nichinsky, then the school board president and now a member of the board of trustees, failed to attend a board meeting with the parents of the segregated class, but sent 2 other board members to deal with the most important issue EVER to face the School Board. Ms. Nichinsky is a Public Defender/attorney and previously was the chairperson of the Larchmont Mamaroneck Human Rights Commission. Presented the Martin Luther King award annually. She has openly stated she is the daughter of holocaust survivors. You would think with those impeccable credentials she would best to deal with this situation. Ms. Nichinsky distanced herself from addressing the segregation issue.
    Principal Priore, was the captain of this ship and when the commander of any position of importance is derelict in their duties they are relieved of their command. Principal Priore and Dr. Shaps as well as some of the board members must go for the good of the community. As Mary Mcleod Bethune stated…..we “have a responsibility to our young people”…we need to standup, organize and protest. We need to advocate for our children. The administration has failed us as educators, administrators, and human beings! They have brought shame to our diverse community. The educational administrators of this community need to see they are the “physical anomalies’ when they look at themselves in the mirror.

  81. Let her move, she’ll just start somewhere else, revealing her TRUE colors!
    Parents who were in that meeting & heard HER racist comments, whose children’s photos/names were exposed, whose children’s special ed status was exposed… ban together and SUE HER!
    You will have A LOT of parents behind you… Minorities included!!! She KNOWINGLY & VINDICTIVELY violated so many laws & rights! Lawyers will line-up to take this case! GO FOR IT!

  82. The Journal News says no such thing. They say that we could have taken the lead on investigating what was pretty obvious to the naked eye but blasting? Not even close.

    It would be nice if they started stating what precipitated this fight, so they can see her for what she is.

  83. Okay, I read it. It states, “In this case, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights highlighted no overt discrimination in the assignment practices at Central School.”
    They may not have liked that using race/ethinicity is not a criteria, but that doesn’t mean the district has anything to apologize for. I’m still so dumbfounded by all of this. This was a no win situation for the district. If they admitted to looking at a child’s skin color as an indicator for readiness for kindergarten, they would have been BLASTED as racists. So, they don’t use it as an indicator and now the same thing is happening….As a parent, I sat in the meeting at Central School last year as the administration explained the kindergarten placement process. After the 5 criteria were described and it was mentioned numerous times that the focus is on forming classes that are balanced based on readiness, a parent (the one that wanted to be at Chatsworth Ave.) asked, “So, you don’t look at race?”. And the response was that they don’t always have that information readily available when classes are being formed in late spring – and it’s self-reported by parents anyway and many choose NOT to disclose this information which is their right – and above all, they didn’t believe that race and ethnicity has anything to do with how ready a child is for kindergarten. The parent persisted and said something like…”What do you mean self-reported – are you blind? If you have eyes you can tell what someone is and you can consider last names”. I’m not even going to get into how many levels of wrong that statement is.
    An important piece of this that people should understand if they weren’t in that room that day is that there were a number of non-white parents in attendance who were absolutely appalled that these two people wanted staff to consider their child’s skin color when determining placement and they were vocal about that fact.
    It’s the beginning of a new school year – the mother has stated that she is happy with the kid’s placement this year and yet she turns around and asks to be transferred to Chatsworth or for the district to pay for her kid to go to Scarsdale (???). She’s obviously got an agenda and she’s going to stamp her feet until she gets her way. I’m sure the powers that be can see right through this. In the meantime, Central is a fabulous school on so many levels and they have important work to do as the year gets underway. It’s time to focus on ALL the students and realize that this craziness is effecting their right to the education they deserve – enough with the reporters on school grounds, the grabbing of parents in Trader Joe’s parking lot as they try to go to their cars at dismissal…..it’s all distracting and as a parent of two kids at Central, I resent it. I’m hoping this woman moves or if she refuses to let her fifteen minutes be over, then go somewhere and carry on quietly so that Central can go about the business of what they do best – educating kids in a wonderful environment that cares for all kids.

  84. Read the editorial in the Journal News today in the section Opinion . They really blast the District and the way they handled the matter

  85. Things ONLY went this far when SHE posed with the names & photos of kids. It went further when SHE, AFTER getting what she wanted, wasn’t granted MORE! OUR schools need OUR tax dollars. She’s ONLY going to WASHINGTON to now get SCARSDALE.
    Next, she’ll want her son’s college paid for by the district. Go to Scarsdale. I’m sure she’ll start something there too! Then maybe people will see the school wasn’t wrong! BYE!

  86. Central K Mom, the report found that it was unintentional, why should anyone have to apologize for something that they clearly did not intentionally do? Would you be willing to apologize for something you did not do?
    I would rather classes be divided by educational needs than who’s a minority and who’s not!
    Zoning goes by who has main custody of the child, so she doesn’t have the right to go anywhere else.
    Stop just giving in because someone throws a temper tantrum!

  87. The mom is question lives in the acres on Richbell Road. What about the father of the child? I see him at the meeting but not on the TV. It is my understanding that the Father lives in the Chatsworth School District. She has every right to move her child there and I wish she would. Between her carrying on and puting the kids photos on TV and the Internet, she is not making a lot of friends. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and end it already. If she wants to put her kid in Scarsdale that is fine with me too. MOVE!!!

  88. I have seen the actual class statictics. They were not good last year. None of the K classes were as diverse as they could have been. If we truely value diversity, we should all be dissapointed by this fact. Wether the result was intentional or not, the administratin should have appologized. An appology would have gone a long way to heal the parents pain and restore faith in the school district in general. Maybe things would not have gone this far.

  89. The OCR results are clear. The district should appologize for the reality of the distribution. Even if they truely feel it was unintentional. None of the K Classes were as diverse as they could have been last year. If we truely value diversity, parents should be unhappy about this fact. I do not understand why the District continues to spin the results. A sincere appology would be the most effective way to move beyond all this. And…..would help to heal pain and regain trust of the parents in that class.

  90. Central has had in place for MANY years a Latino PTA, a bilingual psychologist, bilingual social worker, bilingual teachers, aides, and given services/donations galore to this population. An ADDITIONAL Welcome breakfast is given JUST FOR SPANISH SPEAKING FAMILIES. They parent programs… IN SPANISH, EVERY flyer/newsletter that goes home is in SPANISH too. The PTA at Central had a language lunch program for kids to learn Spanish.
    It’s disgusting when someone takes something as serious as racial discrimination and uses it for personal gain.
    Also, READ THE FULL OCR REPORT before you make racial assumptions!!
    Other news media are reporting that Latino communities struggle with building bridges in this community. When you accept help from someone over and over and then say they hurt you, YOU are tearing down the bridge. This is how you loose/don’t gain the support you had or would’ve had.
    Call it what it is… A personal gain case, NOT a discrimination case!
    If she cares so much about children as she said, why use children’s photos and NAMES to subject them to possibly harassment… PERSONAL GAIN!
    If she did not refuse a different class, if she did not file a complaint ONLY AFTER another “latino” mother was granted Chatsworth & she wasn’t, if she and her friends did not call parents in the class asking them their ethnicity (another illegal act), & if it weren’t for the fact that she is now taking it to Washington, because the district won’t PAY for her child to go to Scarsdale Schools, then perhaps I would find her more credible.
    Discrimination is disgusting in this day and age, but using it to get what someone else has in life is tragic! It makes people judge the credibility and motives behind true discrimination cases & that’s scary.
    Also, she’s trying to spin it to be a “Latino” issue, there were many other ethnicities that this involved.
    Central is a LOVING family that is TRULY is for EVERYONE. I guess there has to always be one person in every family that only cares for themselves. Stand strong Central. You KNOW this is not who you are & that’s why she stands alone and the rainbow of ethnicity that is Central stands united & PROUD!! The “rainbow” hallways of our school are there for an even deeper reason now! There is riches for EVERYONE at the end of the rainbow, because we are the RAINBOW!

  91. It makes no difference what criteria were used to select the students for the classes. The end result is racial segregation! Fix it. Apologize. And don’t do it again.

  92. Yes. I agree with you. Wrong. Responsible media blurred the photos. And while I have been at central many times u are much better at judging the internal struggle than I. I just think we should focus on the big picture. The district was wrong and then tried to spin.

  93. MurrayMom – if you read what everyone is blaming the mother for, it’s because she showed photos of all the other children in other classes WITH the names. Perhaps we should get a Murray Avenue yearbook and post it on new websites and then show how much more racially diverse Central is then Murray Avenue. This would include your child’s name and photo.

  94. With all due respect, by your handle I would assume you have never walked into, let alone attended Central. Talk to anyone at Central and you’ll see why this woman invites such criticism.

    She had ulterior motives from the beginning…still does. First, she wants Chatsworth, now she wants to transfer to Scarsdale. Look at your own yearbooks, people. Do you see a system-wide policy of discrimination? Not in the least. She is on a witch hunt, and costing us a ton of money in retaliation for her not getting her way. She is more of a child than the 5 year old.

  95. There is no reason to blame the mother for this sh*tstorm.

    Debbie Manetta (the PR person that makes six-figures) and The District spun this to their own benefit in both a letter to parents and this ridiculous thing on YouTube.

    Had they been honest from the beginning, said they made a mistake and were sorry, this whole thing would have been over long ago.

  96. I do not blame the mother for standing up for her child in a situation that she perceived as discriminatory and exercising her rights . This was done before the yearbook pictures were taken at the start of school. I never said I condoned showing chidren’s pictures and names .I blame the District for this mess.

  97. Xanthe … actually, you did condone the mother showing the yearbook photos when you stated, in response to comments about the photos and the publicity this mother is creating from her photo,
    “…place the blame where it belongs, on the district and not the mother standing up for her child.”.
    You claim she did what she had to do. Apparently to you making innocent children suffer is doing what she had to do!
    Besides, blurred photos or not (other sites have them crystal clear) you would be upset. It is ILLEGAL to use the photos as she did and she exposed what children and families were effected by this.

  98. Your right about that( The financial aspect I do not know about the other part ). But the fact that her complaint was credible now puts her in a stronger position to acheive that . Maybe we would not be in this mess if the District followed their racially neutral procedures consistently and objectively

  99. Just wondering how this story would be playing out if the said few “white” parents of this class complained they were in a class with all “minority” children?
    What if “affluent” families complained that their kids were “disproportionately placed” in a class with “project-economically poor” kids?
    Why don’t these parents have a “civil rights” case as well?

  100. As a taxpayer, you should be more upset that, according to The Patch, this mother only brought this on when the other mother complaining was allowed to transfer to Chatsworth and she wasn’t.
    Further, the Patch also says she now wants your tax dollars to pay for her son to now attend Scarsdale schools, which is even “richer” and “whiter” than Mamaroneck!
    Several articles state that she was offered to select a class of her choice, but refused, demanding Chatsworth. Your tax dollars are paying for all the districts legal expenses & will now go to Scarsdale Schools, instead of Mamaroneck schools because she wants what the other mom got!

  101. I never met the woman . I am a former Central Scchool parent and taxpayer who resents being told half truths by the district I have not made any comments about the publication of the yearbook pictures but have mainly addressed comments made that imply her complaint was not credible when in fact the OCR found credibility in her complaint The yearbook pictures and the validity of her complaint are two entirely different issues . I guess if I were making comments you approved of you would have no problem with me answering every comment. Having a strong opinion on this does not make me her or her best friend. The way this was positioned by the District makes me wonder what other distorted information I am being told. I do not approve of the way that it was handled . As for the pictures I do not feel that names and faces of minors should be published without parental consent. When I saw the news 4 or 2 the faces were blurred and unrecognizable .Apparently this must not have been the case elsewhere .

  102. Xanthe – you must be either the mother who filed the complaint or a close friend. You seem to be the only one responding to every comment.
    If you care so much about kids, and you are not the mother, why do you support her exposing all those children’s photos?
    I agree with the other posts, I feel each parent whose child’s yearbook photo (names were shown) was used in the photo this mother posted, should look to sue this mother. Follow her lead!

  103. This was a credible accusations since the OCR found in favor of the parent and not the District. They were not following their procedures which were not a problem . The problem was that they were not followed in a consistent and objective manner

  104. Where do you get that it is not a credible accusation? OCR found that the procedures were race neutral but that they were applied inconsistently and subjectively./ There is now federal monitoring of placements in kindergarten at Central . The District set themselves up for this .

  105. F.Y.I. – The OCR is obligated to take every accusation seriously, If a report is made, they must investigate it, that DOES NOT mean it was a credible accusation. Knowing this & having the OCR report state that the there was no intentional race issue found, speaks volumes about this Mother’s TRUE intentions.
    Complaining about poor use of your tax dollars? Perhaps you also need to ask this mother what her real intentions are for pursuing the case to Washington if “won”. What is she plotting and what it would mean to your wallets?
    As for the attorney agreeing with this mother… he’s paid to defend and agree with you… THAT’S HIS JOB… TO REPRESENT HIS CLIENT. If you have an attorney that publically disagrees with you, I think it would be wise to fire him!
    Perhaps all the parents who children’s photos were unlawfully made public, faculty who’s reputations may have been compromised because of this mother displaying the yearbook and all the other ramifications her actions may have caused, should seek an attorney willing to represent them against this mother!
    The school/district never released names, photos, etc. of people who weren’t directly effected by this. This mother, on her own merit, proudly posed with the yearbook, and then RE-POSTED the same picture & released a sensitive document when SHE wrote to the editor in response to a news report based on The superintendent’s message. I’m sure an attorney these parents would decide to get, would agree with those group of parents and be willing to represent them.

  106. Thank-you WhoCleansUpSelfish for putting into writing what so many others have been feeling and talking about. This woman is arrogant, self-serving and obnoxious and she has handled this situation disgracefully. Let’s hope that your post will encourage others who have been so affected by this to express their own thoughts. Fortunately, I know there are some families of other children at Central who are not going to stand by and let her get away with the fact that she displayed photos of their children WITH their names revealed all over the internet. Talk about an infringement of rights. I do agree with her on one count – she is in the minority. But I’m not referring at all to race or ethnicity. She’s a minority because the vast majority of families at Central are proud of the diversity of the student population. It is viewed as a caring, child centered and tight knit community – staff and families alike. Sadly, she has not had time to experience this though because she spent last year making assumptions about kids’ race based on what they look like and what their last name is. Seriously? She and a “friend” actually called all the families in the class last fall to ask them “what they were”. Imagine getting that call as you’re finishing up dinner. I must admit that I would’t mind her being granted her request for a transfer but then again, I know that would be the wrong thing to do. After all, the state is pushing the anti-bullying curriculum this year. I guess Central will have to start with this parent.

  107. This is wrong on so many levels. I have kids in the district, and I’ve never seen them group minorities like this. Obviously someone dropped the ball on this, but for this woman to insinuate that we’re putting minorities on the back of the bus still, well it’s sickening.

    If I recall, some of the posters here send their kids to private school. Before judging, talk to the scores of parents that will defend this district’s inclusion policy. They found inconsistencies, yes…racism? Absolutely not.

    This is a very small town. Why she thinks she’d be welcome at ANY school here at this point is perplexing. Just because she is racist doesn’t mean everyone else is.

  108. Sorry I do not like the way the District handled this situation Saying only that their policies were found to be race neutral (true ) but leaving out that OCR found that they were applied inconsistetly and subjectively . The District would have swept the whole mess under the rug and did not count on all this publicity . What else is Dr Shaps and the Board spoon feeding the taxpayers? Bottomline her complaint was considered credible by OCR

  109. Firstly, knowing Central and if your claiming “Hispanic Racism”, your son would have been placed in the other kindergarten class where the teacher is fluent in Spanish.
    In reading the document, minorities were ANY non-white children, INCLUDING mixed-race, Asians, African Americans, Native Americans, the list goes on. Oddly enough, most of those parents did not agree with your opinions and wanted nothing to do with this
    Secondly, the African American teacher has been a teacher for years at Central and this subject has never been an issue in other grades this person has taught. Furthermore. If you are claiming “segregation”, I’m sure you are aware that stating “‘black'” teacher” is a terribly demeaning remark to use, given this is the population of Americans who fought for that term to not be used. They are also the reason you can even use this as an excuse to have your child moved to another school, which was your true motivation for this entire thing.
    You claim “Just look at the pictures, you can clearly see the disproportionate amount of minorities between the two classes.”.
    Besides CLEARLY violating each of those children’s & faculty’s right to privacy (as I KNOW you did not have anyone’s consent to use their photos, and the yearbook is NOT a public document, it is meant for Central Families ONLY), YOU are now being a racist.
    Are you stating that just by looking at a picture you can tell one’s ethnicity? That’s being prejudice (pre-judging). You are doing what you are accusing the school of doing, EXCEPT, the school has no photos of the incoming children, nor do they have information on their ethnicity, so who is really being the racist? The one who prejudges ethnicity based on photos, or the ones who are unaware of any heritage when placing children in classes & get accused of segregation because a parent want a different school that they are not zoned to attend? Why not just ask for a different class, if the class was your only issue and not being refused to be granted “out-of-zone” permission to attend Chatsworth School?
    As for your comment about “Larchmont Acres East” being “poor renters”, again, you are being prejudice (pre-judging) in ASSUMING that people living in the acres east are poor. Many are seniors, city communters, small families, singles, etc. PREFER apartment living, enjoy being close to schools and shops, and given the rental costs there, people renting there are hardly “poor”.
    Finally, I will be a “VOICE” for all the OTHER children of ANY race, because with you releasing the document about which race of children were held back, placed in classes, your showing photos of children without permission, you degrading the housing where many proud parents live and are happy; your 15 minutes of fame have led to reporters videotaping children on news channels without permission, publishing photos of children/faculty without permission (where even if they were taken down, you can still find them throughout the Internet.).
    You have violated many privacy rights, civil rights, educational rights, special education rights, et cetera.
    You claim that you have to be the “voice” for your child and do what is right, what are you teaching your child… Use your ethnicity and publicity to get whatever you want in life? Don’t care about anyone else’s privacy, pride, heritage, living, housing, whatever, just use whatever means you can to get what you want. It’s a disgrace.
    While you are sensationalizing your case, have you considered the parents that are now concerned that their rights and their children’s rights were violated directly by your actions?
    As you get what you want who will be the “voice” for the children who might now be teased for being “poor” because they live in the acres east, will now be teased for being a “minority” when perhaps they’re not, or a “majority” when perhaps they’re not, all because you showed photos and said, “You can seen the difference.”.
    It’s a very small community and by you doing what you VOLUNTARILY did, almost everyone in Central, will know what children are being referenced and by using the yearbook, the community now knows what teachers, faculty and students were effected.
    It’s sad, because perhaps if you had given Central a chance, you would’ve seen that Central is a warm, nurturing and caring school. It’s probably why you weren’t able to get supporters to respond to the media. You got an answer of “It sounds like discrimination” in response to the question, “When you hear of the difference in the numbers what does it sound like to you?” and a sound bite of “Parents need to be the voice of their children.” – question unknown. These were the only two quotes out of all the people, of varied races, they interviewed, and we’re obviously edited to get a more interesting story.
    Prejudice on ANY level is wrong. It is disheartening when “racism” is used as a means to get what you want in life. There are true cases of racism that exist and will not be viewed with the intensity that they should be because someone, like you, uses it in such a manipulative manner.
    If the investigation found anything significant, you would not have to be perusing your case to “Washington, DC” as you stated. Actions would’ve been taken and the ENTIRE district would have been put on review, since class placement procedures are generally a uniform format throughout a district.
    Congratulations on getting what you want, but who is going to clean up the mess of all the innocent child victims you left behind, who weren’t even aware of what was going on, or that they were different… They were just enjoying learning and playing with their “FRIENDS”!
    I’ve yet to hear a child at Central say “This is my black friend”, “This is my white friend” or “my friend who looks like a minority.”.
    Strange… The one crying “segregation” used ALL these terms…

  110. The racist in this case is this poor excuse for a mother. She wanted her kid to be transferred to what she perceived as a better (i.e. whiter) school and sullied the whole district as a result. She was mad she wasn’t zoned for Chatsworth, mad that she got a black teacher, mad that her kid got lumped in with ‘poor’ renters…the list goes on. She published photos of the kids, outed special ed kids, showed a huge picture of her kid and posted a letter with her HOME ADDRESS!! Crazy much?

    If you look for anything hard enough, you’re bound to find it. Sure, the district has some inconsistencies in following their policy and in this case it could have easily been handled by transferring classes as was offered. Instead this woman pulled the race card and wasted a ton of OUR money, so she deserves every bit of scorn that she gets and then some.

  111. If the District had handled this in an appropriate manner instead of spinning the facts in such a way that was insuting and deceiving to the taxpayer thenall this publicity would not have occurred, Place the blame where it belongs on the Distict not the mother who stood up for her child’s rights and . And why was the superintendent on You Tube ?

  112. The initial argument this woman and two others had did not involve other kids at all!!! They had initially complained that their kids were put in the class because the teacher happened to be “BLACK”, and was the only minority teacher in the grade!! This whole spinoff was done by OCR!! Who through their investigation found the “Other Inconsistancies”!!

  113. This is in reponse to post by Mom2:

    Are the words “Jewish clique” and “tribe” yours? If they are, as they appear to be, then you’ve just outed yourself as a racist. And btw, there’s no such thing as a “Jewish Preschool.” You need to educate yourself and spare the rest of us from your ignorance and lack of tolerance.

  114. As a mom at central in this grade I am LIVID that our entire grade’s racilabeled labeling and special needs’ statuses are now published by this mother for everyone to see. It is very easy for anyone with any knowledge of this school to know who is being described in the letter, especially as we are in a small town. So whatever the point was for this lawsuit is sullied by this woman not respecting her child’s peers who had nothing to do with creating this issue nor how the administration ultimately dealt out class placement. While probably available within the public domain, she just made it so much easier for everyone to view!

  115. lneighbor, what the OCR found was that central may not always apply their procedures consistently (ie they listen to and grant parent requests which very unfortunately resulted in a disparate situation) They ALSO found thatnCentral is not discriminatory. You need to read the full OCR report. VERY sad this entire thing, all because a parent did not get the tranfer that she wanted for her kid. Walk through the halls of Central school and you will see the celebrations of diversity. My own family with 3 boys going thru this school are of Pakistani descent, dad grew up in Abbottabad Pak where OBL was hiding. AND my eldest is special needs. NEVER have we been discriminated against in any way. This whole thing is pure hogwash. Are thereproblems in this district? sure. but This for sure is NOT one of them. sad how she got the media vultures to chomp.

  116. I am surprised at the vitriol directed at the parent here. The OCR letter makes clear that it found a disparate impact, which is a violation of federal civil rights law and the school district agreed to federal oversight. we should all want our schools to comply with civil rights laws. This parent did the entire district a favor by shining a light on a practice (even if unintentional) that hurts us all. I also find the comment about the “aggressive” Jewish parents to perpetuate offensive stereotypes.

  117. As a “numbers guy” it always shocks me how little people actually understand them. It seems to me the issue is quite simple: nobody has ever stated the criteria for selection is purely objective or random, only that the subjective criteria used (which is aimed at ensuring that each student gets the best possible experience) in no way factors in race. If the outcome of that subjective process resulted in perfect racial diversity in each Kindergarten class, that would make me MORE suspicious that race was one of the criteria used to determine placement, since it would take an enormous co-incidence for a non-random process to result in perfect ethnic distribution. What a waste of precious resources for our district to have to deal with this circus.

  118. This takes the cake…people really will go to any lengths to go to Chatsworth!

    What this article omitted was that this woman was offered another class at Central and turned it down. Why she thinks she will be treated any differently at another school after publishing her face in a mystery to me.

  119. This woman should be tarred and feathered for publishing photos of her kid and his whole class in the paper. With a parent like that, he has no hope regardless of which class of school he attends. Good luck in Chatsworth, lady, since you had to sue your way in there. Your child will be the one that suffers, unfortunately. Nice work.

  120. My son’s experience at Cental also reflected poor placement policies and execution.
    He was one of 2 non Jewish boys in his kindergarten class of 18, 9 of which were boys. 6 of the boys had attended the same Jewish pre school. Their parents asked that they be placed together. The school honored their request, with no regard for the other children who were not part of the “Jewish clique”. One of the mothers, who felt sorry for my son, told me that they had wanted to keep the tribe together.
    I understand that these parents were aggressive with the school administration. However, because the school did not adhere to the stated placement procedure, my son had a difficult social experience in kindergarten.

  121. My son was a student at Central during the early 1990’s and I had the same experience when he was in 4th grade. There were 3 or 4 classes and his class had ALL of the apartment kids (read: poor) and the only new teacher (read: inexperienced). When I went to complain about the economic segregation the principal would not even see me! A subsequent meeting with the superintendent yielded nothing but spin, iced with an attitude of “what are you going to do about it?”. Kudos to the mom who took the next step in a search for justice! Cleary, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights found fire behind the smoke.

  122. In my opinion the situation speaks for itself .and I am offened by Shaps letter and so are other taxpayers . Norman Siegel civil rights attorney had same reaction I did .

  123. xanthe, I did watch channel 2 news….I was at the same meetings that the parent on camera was last year – she should have taken better notes. She raised the question about whether addresses were part of the placement equation and offended many people in the room in the process when she mentioned where she lives as an example – since many of us also live there. Totally out of line. The admin clearly stated that they do NOT consider addresses when placing kids and like many of the rest of us, wasn’t even sure what that had to do with anything. Yet this same parent says in the interview with channel 2 that we were told it’s a criteria. Absolutely untrue. She needs to move on….or preferably, out.

  124. My understanding from having lived through this at Central last year is that the school has 5 different criteria they look at when placing kindergarten students to make sure that all the classes are “balanced”. None of the criteria are about address or race, but about making sure that the classes are mixed by gender, special needs, age, kids learning English and I can’t even remember the other one now – maybe making sure they are with a friend or two from nursery school if they attended. If the administration looked at skin color as a criteria for placement, they’d be called racists. So, they don’t consider it and now they were investigated because of THAT practice? This parent has the school investigated because they didn’t look at skin color when placing kids and her kid wound up with a more racially diverse class than some of the others. Call me confused – if it WAS a criteria for placement they’d be considered racist and now they’re racist because they don’t look at it? This parent is saying that she’s offended because her child wasn’t with more white kids…. Who’s the racist here?

  125. Read the paper and the watch chanel 2 and chanel 10 news. The District was not completely off the hook. They found inconsistencies in the placement procedure and the District agreed to federal monitoring to insure compliance . Dr Shaps is not giving a totally accurate picture . My two children also went to central and I liked the school

  126. No spinning involved – sounds pretty clear to me. These parents have an agenda and no amount of investigating seems to appease them regardless of the findings (and the OCR report claims that the school was not found to be race-biased). Seems like Central is a bit too diverse for this parent – thus looking to move to Chatsworth Avenue which, in comparison, is pretty homogeneous as far as race/ethnicity. Good riddance. Central has always been proud of it’s diversity and considers it one of its strengths as a school community. As a member of this school’s community, I’d honestly be just fine seeing parents such as this leave – they obviously have their own issues with diversity and need to do some personal soul searching rather than accusing the school of exactly what they (the parents) are guilty of – focusing on skin color.

  127. Apparently the school district is spinning the facts on the outcome of this . Their version differs with the version in Lo Hud which states that there were inconsistencies in the placement policy. Two completely different versions of the same outcome

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *