Thursday, December 2, 2021

Fact Checking Coronado Unified Leaders

Letters to the Editor submitted to The Coronado Times are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher, editors or writers of this publication. Submit letters to letters@coronadotimes.com.

Submitted by Deberie Gomez-Grobe, Ph.D.


Let us all be clear and make it simple. At [the August 19] School Board Meeting, former Coronado High School (CHS) Principal who is now Director of Special Programs did a seven-minute presentation attempting to respond to the twenty to thirty questions raised by parents about No Place for Hate (NPFH) at the May 20 Board Meeting. He stated simply, No Place for Hate is a “club.” The implication is that, spontaneously, kids in every school, elementary to high school, decided to have a No Place for Hate Club. Trustee Anderson-Cruz had done her own homework, found NPFH to be wrong for Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) and attempted to get it eliminated. Trustee Antrim, backed by the Superintendent, convinced Board President Pontes and the majority that the law would not allow them to eliminate NPFH because they are not allowed to eliminate a club. She convinced them that they would be sued for doing so.

Look at the Facts: On December 10, 2020, Coronado Times wrote an article entitled Coronado Schools Join No Place for Hate Program. Note the word that it is a program, not a club. The article begins by saying, “The Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) has joined the national program, No Place for Hate…an educational program of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)….”  The article goes on to say that “CUSD Equity Coordinator, Niamh Foley announced that CUSD has joined other San Diego districts in utilizing this.…’’ In addition, the article sites a Coronado Middle School Counselor’s goal with the program. The article further states, “The Coronado School District signed up for the No Place for Hate program in July 2020 to be implemented at all four CUSD schools.…”  It also said, “Coronado High School’s committee is led by Principal Schmeichel.…” (complete article)

Fast forward to May 17, 2021, Coronado Times offered another story headlined, CHS Offers No Place for Hate Activities. This article began with, “As part of the Coronado Unified School District’s No Place for Hate program, Coronado High School (CHS) recently held three thought provoking activities to combat bullying and discrimination in school.” It goes on to say that “CUSD joined NPFH at the start of the 2020-2021 school year and has implemented the program at Village Elementary, Silver Strand, Coronado Middle School and Coronado High School.” The article continues, “From April 30 to May 6, CHS modified its schedule to create a two-hour morning session for juniors to take the California Assessment pf Performance and Progress test. Students in the other grades used the time for NPFH activities.” It goes on to say, “The second NPFH activity took place in a morning session with the freshman class. Over 150 students joined a Zoom session with Principal Shane Schmeichel and CHS junior Katherine Wasilla to participate in the ‘Identity Iceberg.’” And finally, the article describes a third activity that, “…took place with the sophomore class. Students attended a two hour morning Zoom with a presentation and discussion about social justice. Principal Schmeichel’s presentation included questions about injustice….” (complete article)

So, fellow parents and citizens of Coronado, what do you think? Is No Place for Hate a club that was student initiated and driven by the desires of the students or was it a program adopted by CUSD leaders, including administrators and counselors, to be implemented in all schools K-12?

Deberie Gomez-Grobe, Ph.D.



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Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.” Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com
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