“Following up to our email exchange of last week, attached for your reference is a redacted UCP complaint. As you can see, most of the information has been redacted due to confidentiality issues.”
-LAUSD, Office of the General Counsel
After declaring that they had “no further documents to provide”, the LAUSD finally emailed one of the three Uniform Complaint Process (UCP) forms that were filed against Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) during the period of January 1, 2014, through November 2, 2015. Unfortunately, any hope that this represented a decision by the District to be more transparent was quickly dashed when the document was opened. Apparently, they hired an ex-CIA operative to handle the censoring of the document since almost the complete document was marked “redacted.”
The only information that can be gleaned from the release is that an 11th grade student at GHCHS was involved in an incident involving “sexual harassment/cyber bullying” sometime on or before March 10, 2015. Instead of just blacking out identifying information, the District ignored its responsibility of being transparent and removed the entire description of the complaint from the form. Even the names of LAUSD personnel involved in the investigation of the complaint were deemed to be confidential. An e-mail included as evidence by the complainant not only had that person’s name redacted, but the name of whomever the complaint was sent to was also removed.
Even worse is the fact that the LAUSD still has not released any information about how the complaint was handled. The stakeholders of the District deserve to know if the Charter School Division (CSD) actually looked into the allegations or simply left them to the school to handle. If violations of the ed code were found by the CSD, did they notify the Board of Education? Has the CSD tracked these types of complaints to find if there is a pattern that justifies revoking the school’s charter?
Below is a copy of the e-mail that I sent to all seven members of the elected School Board. As of this writing, none of them have responded or even acknowledged its receipt. Is this lack of response a result of the fact that parents do not have any representatives on this elected body or is this what millions of dollars in campaign spending buys the California Charter School Association? Either way, Eli Broad continues to knock.
Dear LAUSD Board of Education:
As you may have seen, last night I released an article and press release detailing how the LAUSD Charter School Division and the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) have been unwilling to release complaints about a charter school that the District is charged with overseeing. Perhaps in response to this article, the Office of the General Counsel released one of the three UCP complaints to me today. As expected they redacted the personal information about the complainant. They also redacted every other part of the form except the school that was involved, the category of the complaint and the date the form was signed. Most disturbingly, the name of the LAUSD employee with whom this complaint was originally discussed was also redacted.
It should be noted that the OGC still refuses to release any correspondence from the District regarding the resolution of this complaint. They have also declared that all complaints lodged against the school are confidential and will not be publicly disclosed.
The charter movement has expanded in California by promising choice to parents. However, parents can only make an informed choice if they have complete information about these schools, including the complaints that have been filed against them. It is, therefore, perplexing that the District is working to actively prevent parents from having this information.
I am asking for your help in not only having the information that I have requested released, but also in ensuring that no other parent is stonewalled the way that I have been. Additionally, at this point I think that it is clear that the LAUSD Charter School Division needs to be audited to ensure that they are properly serving their function of overseeing schools that have been chartered through the LAUSD. Included in this audit should be an investigation of how appropriately information is being shared with the School Board concerning violations of the Ed Code by these schools, their conformance with their charters and matters of financial impropriety.
If you require any additional information about these matters, please contact me.