Thursday, September 4, 2014

#TBT Blocking the School House Door Today, Blocking the School House Door Tomorrow, Blocking the School House Door Forever? #hsvboe

"Whose side are they on?"  On this day in 1957, the Governor of Arkansas used tax dollars to block African American taxpayers from entering Central High School in Little Rock. Fast forward 57 years later, Huntsville City Schools is still using tax dollars to prevent African American Students from having access to a quality public education, enabled by the United States Department Justice.

In a letter sent to parents with students enrolled in grades 3-12 HCS claims they have invited the Department Justice to meet with students in order to gain information related to the long standing desegregation order, which they are bound and determined to be released from, by hook or by crook.

A couple of points of interest:

1. If you do not return the form by September 4, 2014, your child will be entered into a potential pool of students to be interviewed by the Department of Justice SEEMINGLY WITHOUT PARENTS PRESENT FOR THE INTERVIEW. The interviews will take place after school at Boys and Girls Club locations across the city. Not every child will be chosen. This is an “opt-out” procedure. If you don’t opt-out, and your child is at a Boys and Girls Club location during the week of September 8th through the 12th, your child will be interviewed without a parent being present.

2. If parents wish to participate in similar Parents Meetings being held on Saturday, September 14, and Sunday, September 15, there is a separate form to sign and return to Barbara Cobbs of Huntsville City Schools. They will then chose which parents they wish to interview with the stipulation that parents agree to the following: "I understand that participation in the parent focus groups is confidential. I shall not disclose the fact of my participation or any information or discussion from the focus group meeting."

There is just one thing wrong with their little plan, it is unconstitutional for HCS to conduct an investigation or interview a child on private property without the parent present.  I can understand HCS ignoring the constitution because they've been doing it for years, but you would think the United States Department of Justice would know better by now.
The U.S. Department of Justice, a party to the case, objected to the assignment plan and in February the dispute landed before Haikala, who'd been appointed to the bench by President Obama in 2012.
In the judge's 107-page ruling, she blasted school officials for failing to provide required reports on the district's integration progress for two decades. She also criticized the Justice Department for failing to be "proactive" and to "keep an eye on" the marked disparities in schools serving mostly white children and those serving mostly black ones.
Opt in or to Opt Out? That is the question.  At the June 17, 2014 BOE meeting HCS approved policy 6.28- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.
Translation: if parents don't notify the school district they don't want their students information printed in the hand book, or  their image/ names to be used,  and they don't Opt OUT, their child is automatically IN. This change requires parents to take action when they otherwise would not have been required to. Under the old policy, they had to give written consent for their student to be INCLUDED in the directory. The difference is not subtle.  It's the old silence gives consent Idiom. 

Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.  I'm beginning to think neither side wants a solution, which plays right into the segregationist strategy of segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever?

Time will tell the truth.  Sigh


Brian said...

If I am reading the Minutes from the June 17th, 2014 school board meeting, the school board did not approve the policy 6.28.

New Policy 6.28 - The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) - NO ACTION WAS TAKEN ON THIS ITEM

Wardynski recommended that they approve it but based on the comment that "NO ACTION WAS TAKEN ON THIS ITEM", it reads like they didn't approve it.

Brian said...

I do agree with you that it should be an OPT-IN rather than an OPT-OUT though.

Brian said...

The Supreme Court has ruled in the past that students in an educational situation have limited constitutional rights. The school can limit speech so that it does not disrupt the learning environment. Schools have a more lenient burden of proof when searching students so that they may provide a safe environment for students. School administrators only need reasonable suspicion in order to search a student's locker and possessions where a law enforcement official needs a warrant.

As to the constitutionality of questioning students without the parents being there. I have mixed feelings about this. Constitutionally, since this is not a criminal investigation, the student nor their parents are being charged with a crime, I don't see an issue with the student being interviewed if it was held in a school setting.

I do have a problem with it being held after school hours and off of the school setting. I am not sure about Huntsville, but the two boys and girls clubs that I know of in Decatur are not operated by the school system but by private groups, one of whom is a church.

But it does give the parents a secondary way of opting out of the interviews. If the students don't go to the Boys and Girls club next week, they can't be interviewed there.

Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser 478 U.S. 675, 682 (1986), the student's constitutional rights are "not automatically coextensive with rights of adults in other settings."

Tinker v. DeMoines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 506 (1969), the constitutional rights of a student must be applied "in light of special characteristics of the school environment."

Redeye said...

This is the old if you can't dazzle them with brilliance baffle them with Bull Poop routine. Can't believe DOJ is falling for the Rope a Dope.

Brian said...

What would be the brilliant idea be?

What makes what they are doing bull poop?

Redeye said...

No Brilliance. Plenty of Bull Poop.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian said...

Why is interviewing students bull poop? "No Brilliance. Plenty of Bull Poop." isn't answering the question. If it is anything, it is trying to derail the conversation.

What should the DOJ and the HCS should be doing? What would be the brilliant idea in your opinion?

Redeye said...

I never said interviewing students was BullPoo. The process is BullPoop. The secrecy is BullPoop. The manipulation is BullPoop. The scheming is BullPoop. The violation of constitutional and civil rights is BullPoop. I could go on but I think you get my drift. This isn't about gathering information, this is a blatant attempt to control the message thereby controlling the outcome. The process and the interviews should be open to the public, not shrouded in secrecy. Surprised and shocked the DOJ fell for this BullPoop. Then again maybe not.