Update: This Could Be One of the Biggest Common Core Stories Yet — and It Involves a Mom Being Suspended From Her Child’s School
You read that correctly, the Mark Twain School in Sacramento has told the mother of a 12-year-old student that she has been suspended for two weeks. Police in Sacramento served the 14-day suspension to Katherine Duran in her home following a disagreement with the school over the soon-to-be enacted Common Core standards.
Duran’s son, Christopher, was not pleased when he learned of his mom’s suspension, telling the local KXTV, “I was outraged.”
The two week suspension was reportedly triggered after the officials charged that Katherine Duran was “disrupting the school.” When asked to clarify what Duran’s disruption was, Gabe Ross, a spokesperson for the school district, told the media, “It appears (she) went a little too far with regards to how she distributed information at school sites, distributing information to children directly.”
But according to Duran, she never distributed information to students on school grounds or to the children directly. The school district has even acknowledged that Ross’s statement was incorrect. See, Duran did not distribute the opt-out forms, her son did. And for that, she has been suspended.
“This is a method of teaching that’s untried, untested, unproven,” she told a reporter for News 10 in Sacramento.
The concerned mom signed an “opt-out” form and asked her son to take a few copies to school and hand them out to his friends to take home to their parents. The school’s principal then confiscates the forms. When Duran heard that the papers were taken away from her son, she visited the school and confronted principal Rosario Guillen. It was that meeting, according to the school, that triggered the police visiting the Duran home with the suspension order.
The principal of the Mark Twain School sent police with a chilling note that contained notice of the two-week “Withdrawal of Consent” as well as a threat of arrest should she violate the order. The letter also states that, “The District will seek reimbursement for attorney costs the courts may impose.”
Friday afternoon, TheBlaze spoke with Katherine Duran about her ordeal. According to Ms. Duran, the school and the district offices have admitted that she did not distribute information at the school or directly to students as they initially claimed. The only person who was handing out information on school grounds — to students — was her son, Christopher.
Duran sent us a copy of the opt-out information that was offered by her son to his classmates. This is the first page of a four-page set that of papers contained the basic information about Common Core’s Smarter Balanced Pilot Testing Program as well as instructions on how to opt-out of the testing, and a set of blank opt-out forms.
During the course of our conversation, Duran explained that the first day her son handed some of these information packets to his classmates, the school took notice. The principal made an all school announcement over the public address system stating that, “inappropriate materials” were handed out by a student and all of them needed to be turned in to the school. Christopher reportedly told his mom that all of the packets were collected and turned into the office.
Despite the first day problems, the 12-year-old asked his mother to create more packets for him to hand out to his classmates. Christopher Duran distributed these on two more days and then the school principal allegedly summoned him to her office and confronted the young man. Ms. Duran says that while in Principal Guillen’s office (with a teacher there as a witness) her son was supposedly told that the school would give him a chance to “do the right thing” and turn over the rest of the forms.
As Christopher’s mother tells TheBlaze, he refused to hand over the papers and was then told to sit in the hallway, by himself, and eat his lunch alone. Ms. Duran also said that her son asked to call his mother and that request was denied by the administrator.
After hearing the full story from her child, Duran visited the school and had a meeting with the principal. There are different reports of what happened between the two women. Ms. Duran claims she was serious but not threatening as Principal Guillen has reportedly stated.
Since the initial conflict, the school has decided that it is not against the rules for a student to hand out materials like those Christopher Duran was giving to his classmates. However, his mother’s suspension remains in place.
It should also be noted that Katherine Duran spoke respectfully of the teachers and principal, she was just not appreciative of the methods they used in dealing with her son. She told TheBlaze, she would like the school and the district office to give her child a formal written apology. To date, the school has not responded and she thinks they might be “waiting out” the two week suspension in hopes that this will all blow over.
TheBlaze has reached out to the Mark Twain School and the district offices of the Sacramento Unified School District. Calls to both of those outlets have not been returned.
Watch the local TV report here.
Follow Mike Opelka on Twitter – @Stuntbrain