Tuesday, November 21, 2006

All-white classes at predominantly black and Hispanic school

Kent Fischer:

For years, it was an open secret at North Dallas' Preston Hollow Elementary School: Even though the school was overwhelmingly Hispanic and black, white parents could get their children into all-white classes. And once placed, the students would have little interaction with the rest of the students.

The result, a federal judge has ruled, was that principal Teresa Parker "was, in effect, operating, at taxpayer's expense, a private school for Anglo children within a public school that was predominantly minority."

Judge Sam Lindsay's opinion paints an unflattering picture of the elementary school and a principal who was so desperate to appease the school's affluent white parents that she turned back the clock on school desegregation 50 years.

In April, Hispanic parents sued, claiming illegal segregation. The three-week trial concluded in late August. On Thursday, Judge Lindsay declared that the school's principal violated the rights of minority children by assigning them to classrooms based on race.

The judge ordered Mrs. Parker to pay $20,200 to Lucrecia Mayorga Santamaría, the lone named plaintiff, who sued on behalf of her three children.

Although the judge did not find the Dallas school district liable for Mrs. Parker's actions, he strongly criticized DISD administrators for being "asleep at the wheel."

"The court is convinced that several of the area superintendents knew, or should have known, about the illegal segregation at Preston Hollow," the judge wrote in his 108-page ruling.

Principal Busted For Segregating Students

DISD principal found to have segregated school


At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting.

Of course, as the item you posted yesterday shows, Blacks and Hispanics learn more slowly, in some cases much more slowly. Which would seem to mean that a mixed class would have to cover less material, which in turn would mean that some students, eg Whites and Asians, would learn less. To avoid this, parents normally send their children to private school, or find a way to send them to another public school, one with fewer non-white students. And for doing so, ie for doing something logical to further the education of their kids, they are viewed negatively.

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Rosco said...

Great! Another judge who doesn't live in the real world. When are these judges going to realize that integrated classrooms only cause the grades of white students to go down without causing the grades of black and Hispanic students to go up?

At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What will happen next?
DISD will be forced to retire the principal, Teresa Parker.
The original plaintiffs and their legal counsel MALDEF will rebuff any and all changes made to the classroom makeup at Preston Hollow. Why you ask? Simple, Judge Lindsay did not find DISD guilty. Judge Lindsay only awarded actual and punitive damages to plaintiff Santamaria. OFE and its President, Ana Gonzalez recieved no monetary compensation. MALDEF did not get their fees paid by the loser as customary in federal cases. Each side is liable for their own cost of litigation. Guess what? MALDEF is pissed off. No big pay day. MALDEF and the plaintiffs will be back, no doubt claiming that Teresa Parker and DISD are in violation of Judge Lindsay's order on January 18th, the day after the deadline. This time MALDEF will argue for additional sanctions, monetary damages, and attorney fees. So the court room battle for Preston Hollow will continue.
And who are the real winners and losers? There are no winners, only the kids are the losers. None, not the Latinos, Blacks, Asians, and Anglos.

At 11:12 PM, Blogger coverpoint said...

Much has been written about Preston Hollow and Principal Teresa Parker in the past few weeks. In my opinion most of the news reports and blogs report from the surface without looking deeper. Specifically, there is a great deal of information and testimony that Judge Sam A. Lindsay chose to ignore when making his ruling as well as overruling the Court Magistrate’s preliminary motions rulings. In practice, Magistrate’s rulings are rarely if ever superseded by the presiding Judge. But this was not a normal case, especially in the eyes of Judge Sam A Lindsay.
First off, lets get a couple of things corrected.
There have never been separate classes, with 100% white/Anglo students at Preston Hollow; there are not enough “white” kids to fill class on a grade by grade basis in this alleged manner when taking the state mandated classroom size into consideration. See the Preston Hollow Demographics below.
There have never been separate open houses, or round-ups. I would challenge anyone to produce a schedule or record that shows this to be a clearly identifiable fact. No specific documents were produced in court or presented showing an open house at Preston Hollow that was deemed or could remotely be interpreted as to be “Whites only” and a separately scheduled open house for “All Other Non-Whites”
These facts were never independently confirmed in court documents except by the testimony of the plaintiffs saying it was so.
Also, I would bring to your attention that the photograph used in the “PTA Brochure” that was consistently referenced as a racially bias product was not selected by the PTA, its President, Ms Bittner or Ms Parker. The photographer selected the actual photo to be used because all the kids were smiling happy and did not have their eyes closed in that one photo.
As a side to the various comments Judge Lindsay and the Plaintiffs about the PTA and Ms Bittner, it should be noted that the PTA has raised and spent over $160,000 on improving Preston Hollow, from new playground equipment, fencing, etc., and no where do you find a “Whites Only” sign. Each and every child that attends Preston Hollow benefits from the efforts of the PTA, not withstanding what Judge Lindsay or David Hinojosa thinks.
I believe the term minority continues to be misapplied not only in the Preston Hollow case but across DISD as a whole. From the Oxford English Dictionary:

• noun (pl. minorities) 1 the smaller number or part; a number or part representing less than half of the whole. 2 a relatively small group of people differing from the majority in race, religion, language, etc. 3 the state or period of being a minor

The following numbers do not apply directly to the 2005-2006 school year in question, but they are a close approximation for discussion purpose. I doubt a radical shift would exist between 05-06 and 04-05.
Preston Hollow Demographics: 2004-2005 TEA
African American 149 17.3%
Hispanic 560 65.0%
White 138 16.0%
Native American 0 0.0%
Asian/Pac. Islander 14 1.6%

Limited English Proficient (LEP) 457 53.1%

DISD Demographics: 2004-2005 TEA
African American 47,808 30.3%
Hispanic 98,680 62.6%
White 9,125 5.8%
Native American 448 0.3%
Asian/Pac. Islander 1,682 1.1%

Limited English Proficient (LEP) 48,331 30.6%

As far as African American Students being placed in ESL classes, the fact of the matter is Preston Hollow accepted legal immigrants from various African nations, specifically, Nigeria, who spoke almost no English.

I have a question. Who is the minority?

Given the numbers above, I would argue that Preston Hollow is more ethnically diversified than any other elementary school in the entire DISD.

Ms. Gonzalez: She testified that her child was placed in ESL because Principal Parker that he child belonged in ESL because of her national origin. This statement was to have occurred during a meeting which was also attended by plaintiff Santamaria, and a DISD representative Mary Morehead. Judge Lindsay overlooked the fact that Santamaria, in open court, testified that Principal Parker made no such comment. Judge Lindsay should have, but choose not to discount the statement of Ana Gonzalez’s child to her mother about her “being ugly” etc. Understand, we are not talking about the statements of adults; we are talking about children, 5, 6, and 7 years old. Children can be cruel and not even realize what they are saying or how it affects others. I would have thought that Judge Lindsay would have taken this basic approach to the statements of a child.

Ms. Santamaria: The primary plaintiff in the case. As with Ana Gonzalez’s child testimony the same test should have been applied to the Childs statements as relayed by Ms. Santamaria. I would also recommend downloading the entire 108 page ruling by Judge Lindsay and carefully read Ms. Santamaria’s testimony. The real interesting read is the Finding of Facts presented by each side which details direct testimony of the plaintiffs and witnesses. The documentation provides Volume and Page specific location of testimony. The actual ruling is hardly based on and gives very little weight to Ms. Santamaria’s direct testimony as described in the Findings of Fact.

OFE: Organization formed by Gonzalez, Santamaria, and a independent contractor hired directly by Principal Parker, Grace McKay, to improve the relationship and interaction between the Hispanic and Anglo students and parents. This organization exists in name only. There is no formal structure, membership list, record of meetings and those who attended these supposed meetings. Judge Lindsay, in his ruling says there are approximately 50 members because Gonzalez says so. Interesting that Santamaria contradicted this figure in her direct testimony. LULAC was approached. Joe Campos testified in open court that he met with Gonzalez and Santamaria at Preston Hollow. He properly announced that he was there to observe the school to the Principal and she did not obstruct or provide guide for Mr. Campos. He was free to roam and observe as he pleased with Gonzalez and Santamaria. He announced his presence and affiliation (LULAC) to Principal Parker as a courtesy and according to proper protocol. After touring the school Mr. Campos testified that he met with Principal Parker alone without Gonzalez or Santamaria present to discuss the accusations raised. He testified that Gonzales and Santamaria were very upset and accused him of taking her side of the issues. He denied this directly to Gonzalez and Santamaria. He also stated that he believed that the women had a “personal agenda” against Principal Parker. Judge Lindsay in his wise ways elected to discount Mr. Campos’s testimony as “irrelevant”. It is my opinion that at this point in time Grace McKay contacted MALDEF and MALDEF accepted the case.

David Hinojosa: MALDEF Staff Attorney. Lead Attorney for the plaintiffs. It should be noted that in my opinion Mr. Hinojosa’s courtroom mannerisms were boorish at best. He also was called down by Judge Lindsay at various points during the direct examination and cross examination of witnesses. At one point outside the courtroom he actually approached Joe Campos following his testimony and asked him how and why he would testify for the defendants, implying a disgrace to the Latinos. The defendant’s attorneys witnessed this and were stunned to say the least. Judge Lindsay was made aware of Mr. Hinojosa’s actions in open court by the Defendants attorneys. Judge Lindsay slapped Mr. Hinojosa’s wrist telling him he was a bad boy and not to do it again. That is my observation of the courtroom action. As to the ethical behavior of Mr. Hinojosa, I doubt the State Bar of Texas has even been made aware.
David Gabriel Hinojosa, Bar Card Number*: 24010689, Work Address: 110 Broadway St, Ste 300, San Antonio, Texas 78205, Work Phone: (210) 224-5476, Texas Licensed: 11/01/2000
From the Austin American Statesman: Mr. Hinojosa commenting on support of affirmative action and on his admission to the UT Law School, First-year student David Hinojosa said he was initially skeptical about attending UT because he was admitted later than some other students, so he was considering other schools as recently as last Friday.
"I didn't know about all this faculty support, so I apologize," Hinojosa said. "I had my own reservations because my LSAT (Law School Admission Test) score wasn't great. I thought UT was afraid to admit me because they were afraid of another lawsuit."

Robert McElroy: Assistant Principal at Preston Hollow. Judge Lindsay found Mr. McElroy’s testimony credible and compelling. If Mr. McElroy was so credible why did he place his own children in the “All White” “Neighborhood” classrooms? And if he felt there was an injustice being perpetrated by Principal Parker for a long period of time, why did he not go to the higher ups in DISD? I would call his lack of action spineless at best if Principal Parker was actually guilty. By the way did I mention that Mr. McElroy and his children are African American? That shoots down the “All White” classroom accusation does it not?

Sally Walsh: Teacher at Preston Hollow. Her direct testimony was properly challenged by the defense attorneys as outlined in the Finding of Fact presented to the court by the defense. Ms. Walsh claims to have approached DISD officials at various times over a period of a couple of years with her concerns regarding the student placement in Preston Hollow. This claim was never verified by any documentation provided by Ms. Walsh or during the discovery phase of the case when DISD was required to produce documents relating to Preston Hollow.

Judge Lindsay discounted and discredited every witness presented by the defense as well as direct testimony and cross testimony by the plaintiff’s witnesses. The Finding of Fact document presented by the defense to the Court as required on September 1, 2006 was completely ignored as if it had not been presented at all. In my opinion the ruling was determined by this time, Judge Lindsay just was left with a case of justifying the ruling that he wanted to make. The 14th Amendment was constructed to protect the individual citizen from the actions of the state in the same manner the individual is protected from the actions of the federal government. For Judge Lindsay to rule, with reservations, that the state (DISD) was not guilty and Principal Parker was not guilty as a agent of the state (DISD) is one thing, but to then remove and then apply a whole different set of standards to Principal Parker (as an individual) thereby making her guilty as a individual is another. Note that she was Principal of Preston Hollow, an official position sanctioned, and hired by the district (DISD) to implement and enforce DISD policies within her charge, Preston Hollow. Judge Lindsay, in my opinion has contradicted and then misapplied supporting case law in finding Principal Parker as an individual, guilty of violating the plaintiff’s rights under the 14th Amendment. I guess if I as a parent/individual had gone into Preston Hollow and made the classroom assignments myself, I could be found guilty as an individual also, but with Principal Parker making the assignments, she should have retained her individual immunity protection as described and various rulings surrounding the 14th Amendment. It could be said that Judge Sam A. Lindsay’s ruling was Machiavellian.
Again I would recommend reading the Finding of Fact presented by both the Plaintiffs and Defendants. A great deal of insight or lack thereof can be found in these documents in light of Judge Lindsay’s ruling


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