Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

December 20, 2006

More public school socialization

Filed under: race, Socialization — texased @ 2:34 pm

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Education Columnist Scott Parks:

For those who abhor injustice, Judge Lindsay’s spine-tingling narrative is comparable to the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King. But the judge’s writing is nonfiction. And it should be required reading for every principal and administrator in Dallas Independent School District.

Here is what he found after a trial that pitted Hispanic parents against DISD and Teresa Parker, the Preston Hollow principal.

To appease wealthy white parents who live near the school, Ms. Parker regularly grouped their children together in adjoining classrooms. In another part of the school, Hispanic and black children were put together.

This class-based – and to a large extent, race-based –assignment scheme was designed to make white parents feel better about sending their children to a DISD school that is 66 percent Hispanic, 18 percent white, 14 percent black and 2 percent Asian.

“In reserving classrooms for Anglo students, Principal Parker was, in effect, operating at taxpayer expense a private school for Anglo children within a public school that was predominantly minority,” Judge Lindsay wrote.

How depressing. Why bother with vouchers when you can have segregation?

5 Comments »

  1. Honorable Sam A. Lindsay Has Erred
    In

    Santamaria, et al
    v.
    Dallas Independent School District, et al

    Federal District Court for North Texas
    Case# 3:06-cv-00692

    In filings with the Federal District Court of the Northern District of Texas, the legal team defending DISD and Principal Teresa Parker have stated in
    Court Document 203:
    “….the Court committed a clear abuse of discretion in including conclusions of law not supported by the evidence or even its own judgment.”
    A. Erroneous Findings of Fact
    FED.R.Civ.P.52 (b): The central “purpose of motions to amend is to correct manifest errors of law or fact.”
    B. Erroneous Conclusions of Law
    After ultimately concluding that neither the Dallas Independent School District, the Board of Trustees, Superintendent…………violated U.S.C. 1983 or Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964……the court concluded the Defendants’ motives were nefarious, and attributed legal arguments to the Defendants that they did not make.
    7. Much discretion is afforded a trial court in consideration of a case. However, “such discretionary choices are not left to a courts’ inclination, but to its judgment; and its judgment is to be guided by sound legal principles’” See Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, U.S. 405, 416 (1975). Moreover a district court abuses its discretion if it: (1) relies on clearly erroneous factual findings; (2) relies on erroneous conclusions of law; or (3) misapplies its factual or legal conclusions. Alcatel USA, Inc. V. DGI Techs., Inc., 166 F.3d 772, 790 (5th Cir. 1999).

    8. Here, the Court’s discussion of Plessy and Sweatt is misplaced and not supported by the record. Not once did the Defendants ever utter or embrace the “separate but equal” argument. Nevertheless, the Court appears to attribute this arcane argument to them. The statements in the Court’s Conclusions of Law under the heading of Defendants’ ‘Separate But Equal’ Argument” are plainly erroneous conclusions of law.

    Judge Lindsay claims the Defendants relied on a “separate but equal” argument. The Defendants never made this a claim. No evidence or documents were filed with the Court making this claim. The Plaintiff’s attorneys never made this argument, for there is no reference to Plessy v. Fergson, 163U.S. 537 in the Proposed Findings of Fact presented to the Court by both Plaintiffs and Defendants on 1 September 2006.

    As stated in the filing, “….the Court committed a clear abuse of discretion…”

    By placing his ruling in the hands of Plessy V Fergson, which was never argued, Lindsay has opened himself up for appeal.
    Additionally, the ruling against Principal Parker used a set of standards that were completely counter to all other standards used to find DISD and Principal Parket NOT Guilty in their official capacity. As Principal, how could Ms. Parker act as an individual while in her office, in the school, on DISD payroll. Lindsay’s ruling is Machiavellian.

    Comment by CoverPoint — December 21, 2006 @ 9:02 am

  2. I take it you think she shouldn’t be held accountable because she was acting in capacity as principal. I won’t even pretend to understand the legal basis for the arguements for or against. For all I know, you’re arguments are correct. But what she did was still wrong.

    Comment by texased — December 21, 2006 @ 1:03 pm

  3. Much has been written about Preston Hollow and Principal Teresa Parker in the past few weeks. In my opinion most of the news reports and blogs report from the surface without looking deeper. Specifically, there is a great deal of information and testimony that Judge Sam A. Lindsay chose to ignore when making his ruling as well as overruling the Court Magistrate’s preliminary motions rulings. In practice, Magistrate’s rulings are rarely if ever superseded by the presiding Judge. But this was not a normal case, especially in the eyes of Judge Sam A Lindsay.
    First off, lets get a couple of things corrected.
    There have never been separate classes, with 100% white/Anglo students at Preston Hollow; there are not enough “white” kids to fill class on a grade by grade basis in this alleged manner when taking the state mandated classroom size into consideration. See the Preston Hollow Demographics below.
    There have never been separate open houses, or round-ups. I would challenge anyone to produce a schedule or record that shows this to be a clearly identifiable fact. No specific documents were produced in court or presented showing an open house at Preston Hollow that was deemed or could remotely be interpreted as to be “Whites only” and a separately scheduled open house for “All Other Non-Whites”
    These facts were never independently confirmed in court documents except by the testimony of the plaintiffs saying it was so.
    Also, I would bring to your attention that the photograph used in the “PTA Brochure” that was consistently referenced as a racially bias product was not selected by the PTA, its President, Ms Bittner or Ms Parker. The photographer selected the actual photo to be used because all the kids were smiling happy and did not have their eyes closed in that one photo.
    As a side to the various comments Judge Lindsay and the Plaintiffs about the PTA and Ms Bittner, it should be noted that the PTA has raised and spent over $160,000 on improving Preston Hollow, from new playground equipment, fencing, etc., and no where do you find a “Whites Only” sign. Each and every child that attends Preston Hollow benefits from the efforts of the PTA, not withstanding what Judge Lindsay or David Hinojosa thinks.
    n
    I believe the term minority continues to be misapplied not only in the Preston Hollow case but across DISD as a whole. From the Oxford English Dictionary:

    Minority
    • noun (pl. minorities) 1 the smaller number or part; a number or part representing less than half of the whole. 2 a relatively small group of people differing from the majority in race, religion, language, etc. 3 the state or period of being a minor

    The following numbers do not apply directly to the 2005-2006 school year in question, but they are a close approximation for discussion purpose. I doubt a radical shift would exist between 05-06 and 04-05.
    Preston Hollow Demographics: 2004-2005 TEA
    African American 149 17.3%
    Hispanic 560 65.0%
    White 138 16.0%
    Native American 0 0.0%
    Asian/Pac. Islander 14 1.6%

    Limited English Proficient (LEP) 457 53.1%

    DISD Demographics: 2004-2005 TEA
    African American 47,808 30.3%
    Hispanic 98,680 62.6%
    White 9,125 5.8%
    Native American 448 0.3%
    Asian/Pac. Islander 1,682 1.1%

    Limited English Proficient (LEP) 48,331 30.6%

    As far as African American Students being placed in ESL classes, the fact of the matter is Preston Hollow accepted legal immigrants from various African nations, specifically, Nigeria, who spoke almost no English.

    I have a question. Who is the minority?

    Given the numbers above, I would argue that Preston Hollow is more ethnically diversified than any other elementary school in the entire DISD.

    Ms. Gonzalez: She testified that her child was placed in ESL because Principal Parker that he child belonged in ESL because of her national origin. This statement was to have occurred during a meeting which was also attended by plaintiff Santamaria, and a DISD representative Mary Morehead. Judge Lindsay overlooked the fact that Santamaria, in open court, testified that Principal Parker made no such comment. Judge Lindsay should have, but choose not to discount the statement of Ana Gonzalez’s child to her mother about her “being ugly” etc. Understand, we are not talking about the statements of adults; we are talking about children, 5, 6, and 7 years old. Children can be cruel and not even realize what they are saying or how it affects others. I would have thought that Judge Lindsay would have taken this basic approach to the statements of a child.

    Ms. Santamaria: The primary plaintiff in the case. As with Ana Gonzalez’s child testimony the same test should have been applied to the Childs statements as relayed by Ms. Santamaria. I would also recommend downloading the entire 108 page ruling by Judge Lindsay and carefully read Ms. Santamaria’s testimony. The real interesting read is the Finding of Facts presented by each side which details direct testimony of the plaintiffs and witnesses. The documentation provides Volume and Page specific location of testimony. The actual ruling is hardly based on and gives very little weight to Ms. Santamaria’s direct testimony as described in the Findings of Fact.

    OFE: Organization formed by Gonzalez, Santamaria, and a independent contractor hired directly by Principal Parker, Grace McKay, to improve the relationship and interaction between the Hispanic and Anglo students and parents. This organization exists in name only. There is no formal structure, membership list, record of meetings and those who attended these supposed meetings. Judge Lindsay, in his ruling says there are approximately 50 members because Gonzalez says so. Interesting that Santamaria contradicted this figure in her direct testimony. LULAC was approached. Joe Campos testified in open court that he met with Gonzalez and Santamaria at Preston Hollow. He properly announced that he was there to observe the school to the Principal and she did not obstruct or provide guide for Mr. Campos. He was free to roam and observe as he pleased with Gonzalez and Santamaria. He announced his presence and affiliation (LULAC) to Principal Parker as a courtesy and according to proper protocol. After touring the school Mr. Campos testified that he met with Principal Parker alone without Gonzalez or Santamaria present to discuss the accusations raised. He testified that Gonzales and Santamaria were very upset and accused him of taking her side of the issues. He denied this directly to Gonzalez and Santamaria. He also stated that he believed that the women had a “personal agenda” against Principal Parker. Judge Lindsay in his wise ways elected to discount Mr. Campos’s testimony as “irrelevant”. It is my opinion that at this point in time Grace McKay contacted MALDEF and MALDEF accepted the case.

    David Hinojosa: MALDEF Staff Attorney. Lead Attorney for the plaintiffs. It should be noted that in my opinion Mr. Hinojosa’s courtroom mannerisms were boorish at best. He also was called down by Judge Lindsay at various points during the direct examination and cross examination of witnesses. At one point outside the courtroom he actually approached Joe Campos following his testimony and asked him how and why he would testify for the defendants, implying a disgrace to the Latinos. The defendant’s attorneys witnessed this and were stunned to say the least. Judge Lindsay was made aware of Mr. Hinojosa’s actions in open court by the Defendants attorneys. Judge Lindsay slapped Mr. Hinojosa’s wrist telling him he was a bad boy and not to do it again. That is my observation of the courtroom action. As to the ethical behavior of Mr. Hinojosa, I doubt the State Bar of Texas has even been made aware.
    David Gabriel Hinojosa, Bar Card Number*: 24010689, Work Address: 110 Broadway St, Ste 300, San Antonio, Texas 78205, Work Phone: (210) 224-5476, Texas Licensed: 11/01/2000
    From the Austin American Statesman: Mr. Hinojosa commenting on support of affirmative action and on his admission to the UT Law School, First-year student David Hinojosa said he was initially skeptical about attending UT because he was admitted later than some other students, so he was considering other schools as recently as last Friday.
    “I didn’t know about all this faculty support, so I apologize,” Hinojosa said. “I had my own reservations because my LSAT (Law School Admission Test) score wasn’t great. I thought UT was afraid to admit me because they were afraid of another lawsuit.”

    Robert McElroy: Assistant Principal at Preston Hollow. Judge Lindsay found Mr. McElroy’s testimony credible and compelling. If Mr. McElroy was so credible why did he place his own children in the “All White” “Neighborhood” classrooms? And if he felt there was an injustice being perpetrated by Principal Parker for a long period of time, why did he not go to the higher ups in DISD? I would call his lack of action spineless at best if Principal Parker was actually guilty. By the way did I mention that Mr. McElroy and his children are African American? That shoots down the “All White” classroom accusation does it not?

    Sally Walsh: Teacher at Preston Hollow. Her direct testimony was properly challenged by the defense attorneys as outlined in the Finding of Fact presented to the court by the defense. Ms. Walsh claims to have approached DISD officials at various times over a period of a couple of years with her concerns regarding the student placement in Preston Hollow. This claim was never verified by any documentation provided by Ms. Walsh or during the discovery phase of the case when DISD was required to produce documents relating to Preston Hollow.

    Judge Lindsay discounted and discredited every witness presented by the defense as well as direct testimony and cross testimony by the plaintiff’s witnesses. The Finding of Fact document presented by the defense to the Court as required on September 1, 2006 was completely ignored as if it had not been presented at all. In my opinion the ruling was determined by this time, Judge Lindsay just was left with a case of justifying the ruling that he wanted to make. The 14th Amendment was constructed to protect the individual citizen from the actions of the state in the same manner the individual is protected from the actions of the federal government. For Judge Lindsay to rule, with reservations, that the state (DISD) was not guilty and Principal Parker was not guilty as a agent of the state (DISD) is one thing, but to then remove and then apply a whole different set of standards to Principal Parker (as an individual) thereby making her guilty as a individual is another. Note that she was Principal of Preston Hollow, an official position sanctioned, and hired by the district (DISD) to implement and enforce DISD policies within her charge, Preston Hollow. Judge Lindsay, in my opinion has contradicted and then misapplied supporting case law in finding Principal Parker as an individual, guilty of violating the plaintiff’s rights under the 14th Amendment. I guess if I as a parent/individual had gone into Preston Hollow and made the classroom assignments myself, I could be found guilty as an individual also, but with Principal Parker making the assignments, she should have retained her individual immunity protection as described and various rulings surrounding the 14th Amendment. It could be said that Judge Sam A. Lindsay’s ruling was Machiavellian.
    Again I would recommend reading the Finding of Fact presented by both the Plaintiffs and Defendants. A great deal of insight or lack thereof can be found in these documents in light of Judge Lindsay’s ruling

    Comment by CoverPoint — December 22, 2006 @ 10:27 am

  4. And now comes Graciela McKay

    IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
    FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
    DALLAS DIVISION

    Docket #: 3:06-cv-2325-L
    Assigned to the Honorable Sam A. Lindsay

    Graciela Serna McKay, Plaintiff
    v.
    DISD;
    Michael Hinojosa, DISD Superintendent, Official Capacity and Individually;
    Teresa Parker, Official Capacity as Principal of Preston Hollow Elementary and Individually;
    Meg Bittner, Official Capacity as President of Preston Hollow PTA, and Individually;
    Kaky Wakefield, Official Capacity as Secretary and Vice-President of Preston Hollow Elementary and Individually;
    Ana Cranshaw;
    Preston Hollow PTA;
    The Texas PTA Association; the PTA Association, Defendants

    First Point: Judge Sam A. Lindsay will be required to rescues himself from hearing this case because of personal remarks he placed in print in his prior ruling in the case of Santamaria et al v. DISD etal in which he found Principal Parker guilty of 14th Amendment violations. Judge Lindsay also took liberty with his assessment of PTA President Meg Bittner. Judge Lindsay clearly demonstrated an existing bias against these two defendants and it would be impossible for him to be impartial as required by his oath of office.
    In addition, the case of Santamaria et al v. DISD et al is not concluded due to a brief filed with the Court challenging Judge Lindsay’s conclusions of law, to wit:

    “….the Court committed a clear abuse of discretion in including conclusions of law not supported by the evidence or even its own judgment.”

    “The statements in the Court’s Conclusions of Law under the heading of Defendants’ ‘Separate But Equal’ Argument” are plainly erroneous conclusions of law.”

    Judge Sam A. Lindsay will remove himself; otherwise the grounds for appeal will be vast regardless of which side prevails. Federal Judges don’t like having their rulings overturned on appeal.
    Ok, now The Honorable A. Joe Fish, Chief Judge of the Northern District of Texas appoints a new judge to hear this case.

    Plaintiff McKay: Hired by Defendant Parker to improve Preston Hollow’s overall relationship with the Latino community. I am not sure she ever actually taught a class. She was working under a term contract which was not renewed. She was instrumental in organizing OFE (Preston Hollow Plaintiff) with Santamaria and Gonzalez.

    McKay originally filed a grievance with the OCR (Office of Civil Rights) in the Department of Education which refers to the DOJ. In the current case McKay is claiming a whole host of violations; 1st and 14th Amendment, Title VII Sections 1981, 1983, 1985, 2000 (d), 2000 (e), etc, etc, etc. What jumps out of the filing is McKay’s claim of Freedom of Speech, Association, race and retaliation.

    You should note that McKay was turned down by the EEOC/OCR, In McKay’s Filing, Page 4, Paragraph 14, “McKay has exhausted required administrative procedures by filing an EEOC Charge alleging that McKay had been discriminated against by DISD, her employer, by ultimately terminating McKay’s employment because of her race and in retaliation….” So she has elected to give it a go in the court house. I wonder why the EEOC/OCR turned her down. I would think that this information will eventually come out.

    McKay has requested a Jury Trial, looking for some equally oppressed citizens I assume.

    Rumor has it that McKay applied for a position in a North Texas ISD. She was not offered a position after she (McKay) told them she was the one who brought Preston Hollow down. Now, why would anyone openly admit to such an act. You are instantly recognized as a problem or a problem waiting to happen.

    It is my opinion that McKay took the Preston Hollow case to MALDEF after LULAC turned Santamaria and Gonzalez away. There was no big monetary judgment in the Preston Hollow case and McKay on the outside looking in, she was deposed but never testified. Her husband nevertheless was in the courtroom everyday, listening to the trial.

    I also find it interesting that MALDEF has chosen NOT to represent McKay. Why not?, Is she not a Latino, victim of discrimination by the very group (DISD et al) MALDEF charged in the case of Santamaria et al v. DISD et al? In the Civil Cover Sheet Part VIII, Related Case(s) Pending or Closed: Santamaria et al v. DISD et al is referenced by its Docket # 3:06-cv-692-L. McKay’s attorney is one Brian P. Sanford.

    I am sure Mr. Sanford is a very capable attorney, but I am not sure he will have access to the support resources MALDEF had at their disposal.

    Who will represent the Defendants this time around? This is not known at this time, but I am sure that the various Defendants will NOT rely on DISD’s hired guns to properly defend their (Parker, Bittner, Wakefield, Cranshaw, PTAs, etc) individual interest. I would not personally. Why not you ask? Because McKay is asking that any judgment in her favor should be imposed on the Defendants Joint and Severable.
    I guess there will be a multitude of depositions in this case. These will run the legal bills up to ridiculous numbers. Of course, the Plaintiff McKay could try to have depositions admitted from the “Related” case. Trying to benefit from MALDEF’s hard work. Not likely.

    Let’s see where this one goes. I think it will be a very different environment than the previous case.

    Comment by CoverPoint — December 22, 2006 @ 10:33 am

  5. It is extremely clear from reading the court’s decision that Parker’s practice was a form of segregation. If it were not, neighborhood kids would have been placed in ESL alongside the kids bused in from Hispanic neighborhoods.

    Since CoverPoint seems to be an attorney who attended the proceedings, we might assume that he is a DISD recipient of attorney funds. Maybe CoverPoint has been paid handsomely by DISD, but the rest of us, especially those who had heard of this practice for the past decade, were well aware of what was going on. The only real problem with the judge’s decision is that there was not enough time to gather witnesses to describe how many ways this practice had already been reported to many superintendents and board members. If there had been time for that, then the top administrators and Parker could have been held responsible in their official capacities as well.

    Comment by rosaparks — January 8, 2008 @ 4:21 pm


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