Mistreatment Of Students Under Scrutiny In SBCUSD

Roughly a month-and-a-half into the 2022-23 academic year, the San Bernardino City Unified School District is experiencing a variable degree of success in keeping under wraps reports of faculty members abusing students.
On September 7 the district officials found themselves in the unenviable position of having national attention drawn to the fashion in which students at Arrowview Middle School were subjected to having to sit on scorching hot pavement during the unforgiving heat wave that had descended on Southern California over the week commencing on September 4.
That day, television reporter Christine Gonzales with Fox News 11 in Los Angeles came to San Bernardino, summoned by calls from parents and reports on social media indicating that students at Arrowview, dressed out for physical education class in attire that included gym shorts, were made to sit on asphalt while their P.E. teachers were taking roll and that they had been forced to remain seated on the asphalt because some among them were talking and the instructors wanted them to be silent. While she was in San Bernardino on that assignment, Gonzales learned that at Arrowview Middle School, the students were not being allowed to use the restrooms.In the report, Fox News 11 displayed a memo or document which referenced math teacher Ms. Sanchez, English teacher Ms. Villarreal, history teacher Mr. Romero and science teacher Mr. Bicondova and appeared to be a set of rules or protocols for the school. Among the rules was one which stated: “Students receive one bathroom pass per month to be used in emergency circumstances only.”
Gonzales noted in the report that the same policy was in place at San Bernardino High School, where the restrooms were locked.
The Sentinel made an inquiry into this matter.
Apparently, the restrooms in the middle schools and the high schools have turned into some order of dens of iniquity, such that drug dealing, drug use and intimidation of students is ongoing. In the grade schools, it does not appear that the restrooms are plagued by drug use or drug dealing, but there is some intimidation going on in the restrooms at some of the elementary schools.
Consequently, faculty and administrators at some of the San Bernardino City Unified School District schools have acted to stem those problems.
One strategy is to make the restrooms off-limits for virtually the entire student body. That has apparently worked as far as preventing untoward activity that is recognized as ongoing in the restrooms, but students are now hampered by having full bladders throughout the last portion of the school day and, in somewhat rarer cases, being unable to use a toilet when their bowels overload.
A number of students are claiming they avoid using the restrooms the entire day, making a point of using a toilet when they are in gym/P.E. class.
There is concern that denying students restroom access compromises the learning environment.
The Sentinel on Thursday received a report of another incident of what appears to have been student abuse.
The Sentinel was unable to confirm that report, which pertains to a 7-year-old student at George Brown Elementary School, presumed to be a second grader, having a physical altercation with the school’s principal, Dr. Christine Ramirez.
According to the information provided to the Sentinel, which did not include the date, Dr. Ramirez first engaged with the student in an outdoor area of the school grounds, after which the second grader was taken into a classroom.
According to a verbal narrative provided to the Sentinel by an individual unwilling to be identified, when a teacher went into the room, what was on display was that two other teachers were holding the student restrained on the floor.
The Sentinel was further told that several students saw what was going on, as did at least two teachers. The students and at least one of the teachers, the Sentinel is informed, were traumatized by what they saw.
The Sentinel has the name of the student but is withholding it at this time. It is unclear whether the student’s one known parent knows what occurred. The parent does not appear to be animated about what happened.
There are grounds to conclude, though not conclusively, that the district had perhaps paid the parent money to assuage her. The Sentinel has insufficient access or information to determine whether that is the case.
The Sentinel is further informed there is a video of Dr. Ramirez’s interaction with the second grader. The video was reportedly turned over to the San Bernardino Police Department. As best as can be determined, the police department concluded that Dr. Ramirez had not acted improperly, and she has not been arrested or charged or relieved of her position. No formal statement to that effect has been provided by the police department.
The Sentinel made repeated inquiries with Sergeant Equino Thomas, the spokesman for the San Bernardino Police Department with regard to the matter in the form of messages left on his answering machine. Thomas had not responded by the Sentinel’s deadline today.
Maria Garcia, the communications officer for the San Bernardino City Unified School District, in response to the Sentinel’s inquiry about bare-legged students being exposed to hot asphalt, said, “SBCUSD follows heat protocols that prohibit physical education teachers from requiring students to sit on asphalt during excessive temperatures. During the recent heatwave, we are aware of one report stating that this heat protocol was not followed and we are always concerned when we hear that a student may have been hurt. All staff were immediately reminded of the established heat protocols, including:
– 90-95 Degrees: Provide information to staff. Encourage drinking of water, loose light-colored clothing. Optional water breaks for PE and outdoor activities should occur every 20‐minutes for a 5‐minute duration. Monitor staff and students carefully for signs of heat stress.
– 95-99 Degrees: Provide information to staff. Provide ample amounts of water. This means that water should always be available and staff/students should be encouraged to take in as much water as they desire. Reduce time of all outside activity. PE Classes, lunch and recesses should occur in air‐conditioned environments or, at a minimum, outdoor, shaded environments. Walking field trips should be canceled and other field trips provided with cases of water. Monitor staff and students carefully for signs of heat stress. Check and record heat index 15 minutes before scheduled outdoor activities, from a non‐shaded area to adjust for changes.
“-100+ Degrees: Provide information to staff. Stop all outside activities and/or play. Provide ample amounts of water. This means that water should always be available and staff/students should be encouraged to take in as much water as they desire. Monitor staff and students carefully for signs of heat stress. Check and record temperature and humidity every 60 minutes, from a non‐shaded area to monitor for changes in the heat index.”
With regard to reports that students were being prevented from using the restrooms, Garcia said, “Across the country, public school restrooms pose supervision challenges for administrators, including some in San Bernardino City Unified Schools. We are aware that some campuses restricted restroom access to prevent students from engaging in prohibited behaviors. On September 9, the district directed all SBCUSD campuses to open school restrooms and find other ways to address unhealthy student behavior.”
Garcia offered no statement with regard to the alleged incident involving Dr. Ramirez and a second-grade student at George Brown Elementary School.
-Mark Gutglueck

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