Fresno CA School Racist Photo Investigation Update
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Good morning! Today is Monday, May 9. Meet Rob, the Education Lab Editor for The Fresno Bee.
From the chaos and pain that erupted last week around the racist”dehumanization of social media posts and pages“In Fresno high schools, many student voices have emerged as community leaders.
“We don’t want to hear about it,” said Rain Carter, vice president of Edison High School’s Black Student Union. “We want to see action. We need to help our fellow students at Bullard High who are going through this traumatic time of anti-darkness and racism.
Talented students are often described as “the leaders of tomorrow”, but youth at the front of Fresno Unified Black Student Union groupsespecially at Edison High, have demonstrated that they are already community leaders – and have been for some time.
“We just wanted to be heard, and I thought we were heard today,” said Edison BSU co-chairman Myles Lee.
What shall we do now?
Administrator Keshia Thomas, who represents the Edison High area, said “it feels like we’re in a state of emergency.”
FUSD Superintendent Bob Nelson promised training in discipline and cultural sensitivity for students involved in the KKK photo. And he also pledged to expand the district’s Race and Social Justice Advisory Council to include a student board of trustees in each high school to monitor and evaluate enforcement of anti-racism policies throughout the district.
Learn more about the promises FUSD just made to its students of color.
Thomas said it’s time for Fresno Unified to deliver on those promises.
“That’s my goal: it’s to deliver,” Thomas told The Bee. “And to make sure my babies feel safe. Many of them do not feel safe at school. So now it’s just our turn to make them feel good and safe and give them a safe haven.
But it’s unclear if everyone at Fresno Unified is on the same page as Thomas and Nelson.
Terry Slatic, the Bullard area administrator, appeared to take a softer approach, saying he would have “no opinion” on the racist photograph until the investigation is complete.
Speaking to the Ed Lab on Friday, Slatic said he spoke to about 40 Bullard-area residents, many of whom he said described the racist incident as children “making stupid things and being stupid with what they film”.
That stance likely won’t sit well with students and community organizers who have long been critical of the district’s responses to racism. Learn more about it here.
Since being elected nearly four years ago, Slatic has repeatedly been accused of racism, claims he has denied each time.
You can read more about it here.
And here too.
Slatic said he expects the final investigation to wrap up today.
However, the questions about the KKK photo that remain unanswered include at least one that occupied the minds of almost everyone in Fresno – where were the adults who were supposed to supervise the three students as well as dozens of others in the Work out room ?
Here’s the latest from The Bee’s Education Lab
Fresno State University Senate Supports Removing Racist Library Name. On Monday, the Fresno State University Senate quickly introduced, advanced and passed a resolution in favor of removing Henry Madden’s name from the university library, following a presentation by a task force charged with revise the name of the building.
Fresno Unified’s new school counselor is sworn in. With one hand on a book by his late father, Andy Levine was sworn in by his mother on Wednesday afternoon as the new Fresno High area trustee for the Fresno Unified School Board.
Fresno City College names new president. Robert Pimentel was named Tuesday by State Center Community College district trustees as the new president of Fresno City College.
Fresno Pacific University appoints new president. A Biola University graduate and administrator with 30 years of higher education experience has been chosen as president of Fresno Pacific University, the only accredited Christian university founded in California’s central San Joaquin Valley.
UC Merced Wins One of the Largest Cash Awards in School History. UC Merced won $6.5 million from the James Irvine Foundation to fund a worker resource center to improve public education about workers’ rights.
UC Merced helps launch California volunteer program to give students $10,000 for college. California Volunteers officials stopped by UC Merced on Monday to kick off the launch of their Californians For All College Corps program, which will give 6,500 students statewide $10,000 toward their education.
Fresno Area Education News and Notes
Fresno University High School won his 14th National Academic Decathlon Championship. The Fresno Charter School collected 42 medals en route to another small National School Championship two weekends ago, coach Sean Canfield said in a news release.
“Team captain Olivia Lin was the nation’s top individual scorer, Mia Uller had the (third) highest individual mark, and the college students finished among the top three scorers in their division.”
Located on the Fresno State Campus, University High School has long been one of Fresno Unified’s flagship schools, consistently ranking among the top performing schools in the nation.
Last year, US News and World Report declared the school one of the top 10 in California and in the top 100 nationally. Learn more about it here!
Enrollment in the small, music-focused charter school remains competitive. Learn more about how to enroll students in the program by this Ed Lab story from last year.
Fresno State Once More will host California State University’s Summer Arts program.
“For more than 30 years, CSU Summer Arts has brought together some of the world’s best creative artists to teach and inspire students through intensive masterclasses in all artistic genres,” university officials said in a statement.
The 2022 Summer Arts program runs from June 27 to July 24, with 15 classes at Fresno State and four classes in Ireland, Spain and Germany.
Participation fees range from $1,685 to $4,478, but scholarships are available.
Registration remains open until May 27. For more information or to register, click here.
Central Unified announces the winners of the Janessa Ramirez Scholarship. Ten recipients of the $2,500 scholarship were announced at a ceremony April 30 out of nearly 100 who applied. The scholarship is named after a 4th grade student at Steinbeck Elementary who was killed in 2015 by a stray bullet during a gang dispute. Learn more about the scholarship here.
Want more education news?
California Lawmakers Call for Audit of Fresno State Sexual Harassment Allegations. Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, questioned the transparency and effectiveness of an ongoing California State University investigation into Fresno State’s handling of sexual harassment allegations. | The Fresno Bee
Clovis student says alleged assault in locker room traumatized him. The Clovis Unified School District is being sued by a student who claims he was bullied, harassed and physically assaulted last year while on campus at Clovis West High. | The Fresno Bee
Fresno State aims to ‘go beyond’ with policy AB 367. Fresno State is working to be in compliance with AB 367, which will require the university to provide free menstrual products to students. | The middle schooler
Canceled student loan debt for 113,000 – and more may be eligible. But time is running out. The Civil Service Loan Forgiveness Program promises debt relief after 10 years of public service — or 120 payments — for teachers, firefighters, nurses and other civil servants with student loans. | The Sacramento Bee
Why teachers are leaving or not leaving: a look at the numbers. Prior to the pandemic, national statistics indicated that 8% of educators left the profession each year. Due to the effects of the pandemic, more people are expected to leave, whether for more stress under the same conditions or for pay. Many will stay despite the stress and pay either because they cannot afford to leave or out of love for their students. | Education week
California expands community college baccalaureate programs. Some say offering more bachelor’s degrees at colleges that typically offer associate’s degrees could be key to training California’s workforce. | EdSource
Peninsula School District opens affordable apartments for teachers and staff. 705 Serramonte opened this weekend as the first public school district in California to pass a bond to build and complete teacher housing. | San Francisco Chronicle
This proposal could solve the health insurance problem for part-time community college professors. A state fund for health insurance for part-time faculty hasn’t been increased in decades. Governor Gavin Newsom has offered to add $200 million. New data suggests this could solve the problem of part-time professors having to go without health insurance in some cases. | Cal Matters
Should a small municipal library be transformed into a police station? A small town in the Central Valley could convert its community library into a police station. The proposal has upset many residents who say the library is vital for reading, homework and community. | Education Beat Podcast, EdSource
This story was originally published May 9, 2022 9:37 a.m.