Los Angeles News

Parents intimidated by LA school officials

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A group of parents want their elementary school turned into a charter school, claiming it's failing to educate their kids.

The parents from McKinley Elementary School in Compton said they're being intimidated by teachers and school district officials.

Parents gathered on Tuesday evening for a candlelight vigil in front of the elementary school. They're demanding that the intimidation stop.

Last week, a group of the parents submitted a reform to the school district asking that the school be converted into a charter school. They said since then, the fight has turned nasty.

"She was laughing in my face, and she had a flyer with her saying to all the parents in there picking up their kids, 'Don't be listening to this, this is a lie,'" said parent Ismenia Guzman.

They said the worst part is that their children are being targeted as well.

"It's sad how my son told me last time that he hated me because of all this, because of what I'm doing. I told him that this is for his future," said another parent, Marlene Romero.

The parents are set to become some of the first in California to use the state's new parent trigger law to demand change at a failing school.

A petition signed by 61 percent of McKinley's parents has been given to the Compton Unified School District demanding the elementary school be converted to a charter school.

McKinley ranks in the bottom 10 percent of elementary schools statewide.

On Tuesday, education activist and former chancellor of Washington D.C. schools, Michelle Rhee, joined the fight, saying this is some of the worst opposition she has seen. She is calling on the school district to take a stand.

"I think it's the district's responsibility to be upfront about what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior for their employees," said Rhee.

Parents said they have been threatened in person and in emails, but said it won't stop them from moving forward.

"We will not be intimidated. We will not be scared and we will continue to fight stronger and harder every single day. We will accomplish what our mission is, which is to turn this school around and get the education that we need for our children," said parent Herbert Hidalgo.

Calls to the Compton Unified School District were not returned.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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education, south los angeles, los angeles news, leanne suter
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