Thursday, December 2, 2021

Focus on Academics

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 Laura Eastlick


I have heard the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate (NPFH) program is political, partisan, based on Critical Theory, inspires social activism, segregates kids by identity groups, confuses kids over their gender, and takes up valuable class time. But on August 19, 2021, I heard something that I have never heard about the program from the Superintendent, Mr. Mueller, it is a club!

Prior-CHS principal Schmeichel delivered a long-awaited briefing on NPFH that failed to address most of the over twenty questions parents raised at the May 20 school board meeting. Instead, he spent 3 minutes reviewing four slides centered around the Administrative Regulation (AR) 6145.5 which governs student clubs; treating as fact Mr. Mueller’s statement, “NPFH is a club.”

Mr. Schmeichel and the Superintendent claimed that “the line between instructional and free time was less defined during the pandemic” and that (going forward for 2021-22) he has instructed Administrators at each school to treat NPFH as a club and abide by AR 6145.5.

Once again, the Superintendent’s statements surrounding NPFH are incongruous with the facts. Both the Coronado Middle and Coronado High School webpages have alphabetical listing of clubs; NPFH is not listed. All four school websites either announced NPFH designation or posted pictures or documentation of NPFH activities with no reference to it as a club. The multiple NPFH Coronado Eagle articles, written by a CHS student, make no reference to NPFH as a club.

AR 6145.5 regulates student groups or clubs. AR 6145.5 defines clubs as ‘student-initiated groups’ that “shall be given equal access to meet on school premises during noninstructional time without regard to their religious, political, philosophical, or other speech content.” There is no evidence that NPFH was a student-initiated group (or club).

In fact, the opposite is true, NPFH was CUSD-initiated. CUSD Student Services Administrator, Niamh Foley, worked with the Anti-Defamation League’s San Diego Field Office to bring the Program to the District. During a May 20 Board Meeting, Niamh Foley, proudly stated, “We initiated this in September [2020] and it was a tremendous effort on behalf of the committees at each campus…what they did was form committees: parents’ support, student voices, administrators, and teachers — and they led schoolwide activities.”  She went onto say, “the activities had to be approved by education consultants of NPFH.”  She justified CUSD’s partnership with the ADL stating, “the work of NPFH committees aligns with our long-range plans (LRP) 3.0 and 3.2.”

Additionally, the Superintendent exclaimed, “Using a program like NPFH is in response to California Educational Code language that states that schools are to take affirmative, proactive steps to educate and guide our students on communal expectations and kindness.”

AR 6145.5 also states that there “shall be no sponsorship of the meeting by the school or staff. The term sponsorship means that school staff are promoting, leading, or participating in a meeting.”  School staff promoted, led, and participated in meetings. In fact, contrary to AR 6145.5, the NPFH Coordinator’s handbook states, “the program [is] designed to be carried out with staff involvement schoolwide.”

NPFH was not executed as a club during the 2020-21 school year. However, for some Trustees, to suggest that CUSD cannot end its affiliation with the ADL or request that each school’s designation be removed because students have the right to form a club is disingenuous. NPFH does not meet the definition of a club nor operate as a club under AR 6145.5. CUSD adopted NPFH, as clearly stated by then Principal Schmeichel’s email to CHS parents in early October 2020. Schmeichel then recruited a student and parent leadership committee.

Furthermore, CUSD is not permitted to “sponsor or endorse a club” which is in fact what CUSD is doing by advertising their NPFH designation and their partnership with ADL, and conversely by permitting the ADL to advertise each school’s designation on their website.

It’s time to tell the Board to end NPFH and focus on Academics not Social Engineering.

Sincerely,
Laura Eastlick 



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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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