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Racial Discrimination in San Mateo Union High School District?

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating discrimination complaints against the district.

According to reports by multiple news outlets, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has launched an investigation into claims of racial discrimination against the San Mateo Union High School District.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the complaint was lodged by a handful of local families who claim their Chinese children were transferred out of "a high-performing high school"—namely, —to "a lower-performing high school"—.

The Office of Civil Rights said the complaints allege that the Chinese students were discriminated against by the school district because it held them "to different standards for demonstrating residency or guardianship than students of other races or national origins.” 

However, Kirk Black, associate superintendent of human resources and administrative services for SMUHSD, told The San Mateo Daily Journal that there could be any number of reasons for the students' placement at Capuchino, though they requested to attend Mills.

Black cited examples such as school capacity issues; that other students were sent to Mills because of a need for better English-learner classes or a need to make up units that are not offered at all schools; or because too many other students had seniority because of siblings at the school, among other reasons.

The school district sent out a statement in response to the allegations, which the Daily Journal published, saying: "The Office for Civil Rights is investigating a complaint, and the district is fully cooperating with the investigation. We cannot, however, comment on the substance of an ongoing investigation."

Patch is attempting to contact the parties involved and will update this story as soon as additional information becomes available.

Eileen Moloney August 13, 2012 at 09:17 PM
I for one live in Millbrae and requested a transfer to Capuchino, even though I was assigned to Mills. I am a high-performing student going into my Junior year and have no complaints about Capuchino. Growing up in Millbrae and attending Millbrae schools, people were prone to form cliques and tended to be a little more judgmental about what you did or didn't have. At Capuchino, this is the exact opposite, everyone is so friendly and welcoming. The staff is fully committed to their students and always want you to strive for more. The way one of the former Capuchino Vice Principals, who is now over at Mills, explained it to be was that, "At Mills, if you're the kind of person who needs the majority of people doing well around you to do well, then it's the school for you. And at Capuchino, if you can do well with a smaller group of people doing well around you, then you'll do just as well there. But both schools are great schools". If you can't motivate yourself to do well at Capuchino and fully-immerse yourself into something like the IB program, that's a personal issue. But, I fully believe that that Capuchino is a fabulous school, and with a little bit of self-motivation, you can succeed at Cap.
Martin Ricard August 13, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Thanks for your response, Eileen. And good luck with the upcoming school year.
Judy August 15, 2012 at 02:23 AM
So happy to hear both Edgar and Eileen's positive input about Cap. As I have mentioned in other commentaries, both our children graduated from Cap and this year will be graduating from College. Capuchino was a good choice, as they would say.
Harry E. Smith August 19, 2012 at 09:04 PM
It's absolutely TRUE that you get out of an school what you put into it, as so aptly put forth by both Edgar and Eileen, and the parents who put in their time and commitment to make it better. Capuchino is a good school, with teachers, parents, and students to match, and a challenging IB program to will bring out the best in committed students. The REAL SHAME is the people who don't get their way wasting the public's time and resources by falsely "PLAYING THE RACE CARD" to hopefully force getting their way. A school that is already 51% 'Asian' is being discriminatory???? Get real!!!! Such immaturity needs to grow up and move on without the childish name calling, lies, and innuendo that hurt our schools and their mission to serve our children and community.
Leon Foonman August 24, 2012 at 03:39 PM
How awful, being forced to attend Burlingame, of all the nerve...

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