A 12-year-old student and his mother say they have been harassed and intimidated by a California elementary school principal over their opposition to Common Core.
Katherine Duran said she has been barred for two weeks from walking on school premises, and her sixth-grade son, Christopher, has been harassed and intimidated by school authorities for attempting to distribute information painting the controversial school standards in an unfavorable light, according to the conservative blog, Caffeinated Thoughts.
Duran, who co-founded an advocacy group dedicated to informing parents about Common Core’s shortcomings, said her son asked if he could help his classmates and their parents better understand the stakes involved by passing out information. She agreed, she said, because she was impressed with his initiative, but events spiraled out of control, Caffeinated Thoughts reported.
The packet that Christopher wanted to pass out contained a letter explaining Common Core standards; copies of sample tests; a letter in support of the school and its teachers; a Concerned Parents of Elk Grove business card; and an opt-out form for parents.
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After Principal Rosario Guillen ordered that all the material be confiscated, Duran went to the school to speak to Guillen about the matter. During what Duran called an animated discussion, Rosario tried to prevent the mom from retrieving the packets from the principal’s desktop, then slammed her hand on the pile, saying, “They’re not yours anymore!”
“Respectfully, I will leave one for you, but I’m taking the rest with me,” Duran said she replied, according to Caffeinated Thoughts. “Good afternoon.”
Several days later, a policeman hand-delivered a letter to Duran, informing her that she is banned from stepping foot on school property for 14 days and making what Duran described as other threats. Meanwhile, Christopher’s friends continued to ask him for information, saying they and their parents did not know anything about Common Core.
“In the school’s repeated attempts to block the information from being disseminated to the kids on campus, my son has been abused, his right to distribute leaflets on campus violated, his opt out forms confiscated,” Duran told Caffeinated Thoughts. “My son was removed from class, double-teamed and harassed by the principal and another teacher, his lunch pail searched, his friends made to fear taking the forms and another kid forced to open his backpack in search of this ‘offensive, inappropriate material.’”
Duran said school officials are harassing her son, and she’s told him to call her if things get out of hand. In one instance, Duran said, the principal called him to her office, told him to wait until she could get a witness, badgered him to reveal where he kept his flyers, had him eat his lunch in the hallway, and refused to allow him to call his mom.
“He was afraid! He believed them!” Duran told Caffeinated Thoughts. “Since he knew I had been ‘suspended’ and that the police had driven all the way out to the house to deliver those papers, they made him believe I would be arrested if he called me, and I came to his rescue!”
While the school district’s lawyers decide how to proceed, students are prepared to testify that Christopher did nothing to disrupt school activities. Several teachers also have hinted that they also have been subject to intimidation tactics by school officials.
“On Monday, Duran said the police delivered a letter from the school principal,” according to Caffeinated Thoughts.
The letter said:
Dear Ms. Duran:
I take pride in maintaining Mark Twain Elementary as a school that is open and receptive to the entire Sacramento community. Consequently, it is with a great deal of reluctance that I write this letter to you.
The District may be conducting an investigation into your conduct that occurred on March 20,2014. Your aggressive behavior and inappropriate conduct impacted the well-being of students, staff, and parents on the Mark Twain Campus.
Because I consider your actions on the Mark Twain campus to interfere with the discipline, good conduct and lawful performance of school activities, I am withdrawing consent for you to remain on campus in accordance with California Penal Code Section 626.4(a) (enclosed).
Therefore, effective the date listed above, you may not come into any school building or upon school grounds for the next fourteen (14) days unless the purpose relates to the legitimate educational needs of your children who attend Mark Twain. In such case, you must obtain my permission in advance.
I also want to inform you that the Education Code (full text attached) considers the following to be misdemeanor offenses:
Willful disturbance of any public school or any public school meeting. California Education Code Section 32210.
Willful interference with the discipline, good order, lawful conduct, or administration of any school class or activity of the school with the intent to disrupt, obstruct or to inflict damage to property. California Education Code Section 448 1 0.
Conduct which disrupts classwork or extracurricular activity or involves substantial disorder. Education Code Section 4481t.
Further disruption of classroom or school activities, disturbance of school employees, or failure to comply with this letter may result in a misdemeanor and subject you to arrest. In addition, the District will consider further lawful proceedings,such as obtaining a temporary restraining order and other civil action to maintain safety and order on campus. The District will seek reimbursement for attorney costs the courts may impose.
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