Black Parallel School Board Lawsuit Exposes SCUSD Lack of Commitment to Equity, Access and Social Justice
On Thursday, September 5, 2019, the Black Parallel School Board filed a lawsuit in federal district court on behalf of SCUSD students that alleges that the Sacramento City Unified School District “has created and perpetuates an unlawful school system that results in modern day-segregation and mistreatment of students with disabilities, particularly Black students with disabilities.” You can view the lawsuit here.
The suit names Superintendent Jorge Aguilar, School President Jessie Ryan and other school board members as defendants.
We have worked closely with the Black Parallel School Board for years, and the lawsuit sets forth a number of issues we have also been raising with the District. Several of the remedies sought in the lawsuit parallel the proposal we made to the District when we met the District, SCOE and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond in June 2019. You can read our proposal here.
In the Spring of 2016, the Black Parallel School Board (BPSB) and SCTA joined together to oppose the District’s efforts to impose unilaterally a top-down, centralized program called SPARK, purported to establish restorative practice standards in the District.
As a result of this agreement putting SPARK on hold, the District agreed to negotiate in good faith with SCTA to implement a restorative practices program.
BPSP and SCTA jointly developed a restorative practices proposal that we incorporated into our collective bargaining proposals in 2016-17. The SCTA proposals also included the development of a robust early intervention program as part of the broader implementation of Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS), which is virtually non-existent in Sac City.
The District rejected our proposal and refused to include restorative practices and implementation of MTSS as part of our agreement.
After the contract settled in November 2017, we continued to work with BPSB to advocate for these issues with then-new Superintendent Aguilar and Board President Ryan. After receiving input directly from Mr. Aguilar in several meetings, we revised our proposal to incorporate his edits. You can view the latest version our proposal here. But Mr. Aguilar then failed to follow through.
After several months without follow-up from Mr. Aguilar, SCTA president David Fisher and Carl Pinkston of the BPSB wrote a joint letter (which you can view here) to Superintendent Aguilar on August 21, 2018 asking to meet discuss our shared interest in developing a bottom-up community-based restorative practices culture in the District. Mr. Aguilar rejected meeting.
The BPSB lawsuit (paragraph 71) also notes calls out the District for reneging on its agreement with SCTA to use savings from potential health plan savings to improve services for students.
It is truly unfortunate that educators, parents and civil rights organizations are being forced to resort to the courts to hold accountable a District leadership that claims “Equity, Access and Social Justice” as its mission.