SDUSD Board of Education to discuss border wall, Islamophobia, pink slips, sex education

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education postponed Tuesday night adding 190 employees to a list of 1,500 who have received layoff notices, instead agreeing to negotiate further with the unions of the affected employees.

The proposal comes as district officials seek to eliminate a $124 million budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year.

"We’ve got a long and strong track record in this district of solving problems together, and that includes negotiation," Board President Richard Barrera said. "The negotiations can be tough at times, but they can also identify solutions that we would not have identified had we not worked together and negotiated."

Those to be added to the list of employees receiving layoffs included more than 40 library technicians, mental health workers and bus drivers, along with other support staff.

Notices have been served on teachers, tech support staff, special education assistants and others.

The district has also proposed cutting the work year by between 11 and 14 days for classified and administrative employees, depending on their schedules.

Those cuts will be considered again at a May board meeting.

Related Link: SDUSD considers supporting bill to prevent business with border wall contractors

The item was taken up at the board’s meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday at district headquarters in Normal Heights.

Also at the meeting, the board unanimously approved a resolution to support a bill in the state Legislature that would prohibit California from doing business with contractors who help build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

SB 30, by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, would prevent the state from awarding or renewing a public contract with any person who provides goods or services to the federal government for construction of a wall, fence or barrier along the border.

Related Link: Group to oppose SDUSD support program for Muslim students

According to the school district, endorsing the legislation would send the message that the "Board of Education believes a proposed border wall between California and Mexico would do serious economic, social and environmental harm to its students and the larger San Diego community."

Opponents of a new district program to combat Islamophobia in San Diego schools were also in attendance. 

In an email sent to reporters, Citizens for Quality Education-San Diego said they opposed the implementation of "anti-American Sharia Law policies" at local schools.

The program is the result of direction by the board last July to address discrimination against Muslim students and their families, who trustees said are more likely to be bullied than other students.

And lastly, a group of concerned parents asked the board of directors to suspend a controversial Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP).

On April 14, 2017, parents initiated a petition effort on which, along with paper petitions, has gained more than 600 signatures in its first ten days.  

SDUSD has made some changes, including at the insistence of administrator and teachers, who themselves felt blindsided by the lack district transparency in the process.

However, parents do not believe the changes go far enough.  

The main concern expressed by many SDUSD families who have reviewed the SHEP materials is that they expose children to too much, too soon.

"The curriculum is not age-appropriate. SDUSD has introduced a very aggressive curriculum that will over-sexualize our young and vulnerable children and undermine parental values, without first obtaining sufficient input and buy-in from parents," stated concerned parent Ashley B.  "We are not asking SDUSD to not teach about sexual health. We are asking them to suspend this curriculum until more appropriate materials can be identified with parent input that are in better alignment with community values."

The San Diego parents join other parent groups throughout California who are rapidly mobilizing, petitioning their local public school districts to pull controversial sex education materials because they are not age appropriate, and include graphic descriptions of anal, oral, and vaginal sex, being introduced to boys and girls as young as 11 years old (the SDUSD curriculum starts in 6th grade — though not required by law). 

In many cases, California school districts, including SDUSD, have been quietly adopting these aggressive course materials without parental knowledge, input, or consent over the past few years, attempting to comply with the 2015 California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA).

Categories: Local San Diego News