Berkeley NAACP Calls on BUSD to Investigate Discrimination Against Employees, Students
Dec 2, 2015
Berkeley High School
By Ken Epstein
Manour Id-Deen, president of the Berkeley NAACP, met recently with Berkeley Unified School District Supt. Donald Evans to discuss allegations that the district is failing to address complaints of discrimination against Black students, teachers and non-teaching staff in the district.
The NAACP also wants the district to assign a qualified instructor to teach African American Studies classes at Berkeley High School.
Id-Deen met with Supt. Evans on Nov. 18, where the NAACP president discussed 17 issues, focusing on four that he said call for immediate action.
Following the meeting, Id-Deen sent a letter to the superintendent, dated Nov. 20, saying the district should hire an outside agency, Mason Tillman, to “investigate allegations of age discrimination, racial discrimination, disproportionality in discipline, hiring and promotional practices.”
The letter asked BUSD to investigate allegations of improper designation of Black students in special education and disproportional suspension of Black students.
Also of immediate concern is the failure to hire a credentialed instructor to teach courses in Berkeley High’s African American Studies Department.
Courses in the department have not had a credentialed instructor since the beginning of the school year. To resolve the issue, the NAACP says the district should hire retired BUSD history teacher Valerie Trahan.
Another immediate concern is the district’s Berkeley Peer Assistance and Review (BPAR) program, which is used to evaluate poorly rated teachers and can result in dismissal.
Id-Deen called the BPAR program ¨discriminatory and draconian.”
“The NAACP believes an immediate suspension of the program is in order,” he said in the letter.
Finally, the NAACP connects the district’s administrative failures to the Board of Education.
“The checks and balances of the system appear to not provide acute transparency or consistency in the execution of Board Policy and the (Education) Code…. It’s incumbent on the board to create staff policies to ensure that its policies are adhered to.”
Id-Deen told Supt. Evans that said his organization is committed to working to resolve these issues.
“The Berkeley BAACP is willing to meet with you to discuss remedies to the many pressing issues affecting the Berkeley Unified School,” Id-Deen said. “Immediate action is required.”