I’ve attended or watched every School Board meeting for six months. Administratively, glaring shortcomings stand out. Action items tasked to Superintendent Mueller and staff are rarely recorded in meeting minutes, nor do they appear on the next agenda. There is apparently no tracking system for action items.

Examples:

Development of community-based anti-bullying, anti-bias, and anti-harassment program, tasked May 2021 (Section 6.3). No follow up. Action requested again at the August meeting (section 6.1). In September’s Superintendent’s comments, the public was advised invitations to collaborate were sent. No detail on number of invitations, community response, or composition of participants. No timeline for a proposal for Board review.

Draft apology letter to the Basketball team and community for precipitous public comments following the June CIF Finals basketball game. (August 2021, Section 12). Nothing has been done.

Develop a plan to host a CUSD Town Hall meeting. (September 2021, Section 10.1) Nothing has been done.

Termination of No Place for Hate (NPFH) as a CUSD educational initiative. May 2021 during section 6.3, Student Services provided a NPFH update. The program was never characterized as a club. During discussion, Superintendent Mueller stated, “programs like NPFH are in response to CA Ed Code language that states schools are to take affirmative steps to be proactive to combat racism, bullying, sexism, some of those things.” At the August 2021 meeting (Section 6.1), Mr. Schmeichel, suggested NPFH may have overstepped the bounds of a “club,” affirming its introduction during the instructional day on all campuses by staff, not students, in Spring 2021. Superintendent Mueller stated that NPFH “was not a Board adopted character education program or curriculum.” During that August meeting, Mr. Schmeichel stated that “club” events during instructional time would violate AR 6145.4. Superintendent Mueller reiterated he “had directed all principals, regardless of club, that all club activities will adhere to 6145.4”. So why, at the November Board meeting, three months later, during her update on Silver Strand Elementary (section 5.3) would Principal Moore say Silver Strand is “evolving” their No Place for Hate Club to become a Community/Character Club. Why does a principal provide updates on “clubs” at her school site? Is the Superintendent working on “evolving” similar “clubs” on CUSD campuses? Are staff led “club” activities taking place during school hours? Are students being “encouraged” to participate by staff? Why is the community being treated to laughable denial doublespeak in the Eagle & Journal from the now Director of Special Programs who, as principal, personally facilitated the program at CHS, that “it may have looked, sounded and felt like it was mandatory,” while denying use of the program’s handbook with, “we facilitated charter education activities.”

Oh please…spare me.

Parent questions about who at CUSD contracted with the Anti-Defamation League for the NPFH program and how it was paid for have never been answered. Superintendent Mueller claims parents were confused by $15,000 paid to the SD County Board of Education (SDCBOE) because SDCBOE is has no affiliation with NPFH.

See evidence of that relationship here: https://www.sdcoe.net/news/Pages/adl-designates-no-place-for-hate-schools.aspx.

Research confirms NPFH club was not on the list of 42 approved clubs for the 2020-21 school year at Silver Strand. NPFH was also not on the list of 53 approved clubs for the 2021-2022 at CHS or at CMS per Mr. Schmeichel at the September meeting. However, a copy of an approved club application for CHS, dated 7/7/21 (when school was out of session) was received on 12/7/21 as part of a public information request from the District.

Bottom Line:

No Place for Hate has been addressed at almost every board meeting for six months. A board proposal to eliminate it was rejected by Superintendent Mueller’s claim that as a “club” No Place for Hate cannot be eliminated without running afoul of student First Amendment assembly rights.

Solution:

Prepare and approve a Board policy that states “NFPH or its core principles are not to be incorporated into curriculum at any CUSD school site, and no appropriated funds may be expended for NPFH directly or through any affiliate organization. All activities shall be held outside instructional hours at no cost to the District, including all administrative expenses for production and distribution of content and ongoing curation of content in hard copy and digital formats.

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