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June 29, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Information:
Reform AUSD
reformAUSD@gmail.com
ALHAMBRA COMMUNITY DEMANDS ACCOUNTABILITY FROM SCHOOL BOARD, FILES
COMPLAINTS REGARDING LCAP
San Gabriel, California - June 29, 2015
After Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD) administration continued to ignore the publics concerns
regarding the abrupt dismissal of a popular teacher and violated several students First Amendment
rights, community members will be holding a protest on June 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the AUSD office located
at 1515 West Mission Road, Alhambra, CA 91803. Community members will also speak at the school
board meeting at 6:00 p.m. to express their grievances and demand accountability from the district.
This protest, consisting of many students and their immigrant parents, will again feature hero
Transparency Man. Transparency Man, crafted by award-winning artist Alex Luu, demands transparency
from AUSD and the AUSD Board of Education. He will be carrying sugar to signify the districts
sugarcoating of their questionable actions. The AUSD community is largely a minority one, comprised of
Hispanics and Asians; most students in the district receive reduced price or free lunch and are the first
generation in their families to attend college. Schools in AUSD receive Title 1 funding.
Several people will be speaking at the board meeting, including journalists from The Matador, students
from San Gabriel High School, and Transparency Man. The Matador intends to address the districts
investigation of the First Amendment violations, the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), and the
Uniform Complaint Procedure. The students from San Gabriel High School, who have been working with
a veteran strategist, will be seeking replies to their grievances expressed on June 23 and will also be
addressing LCAP. Transparency Man will be back to emphasize the importance of transparency and ask
that the district not sugarcoat their actions.
The Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) was created to keep school districts accountable by
involving students, parents, and staff members in their decision making process. It is the responsibility of
the Alhambra Unified School District to reach out to the community in order to hold a public hearing
discussing the $156 million budget. However, it is believed that the Alhambra Unified School District failed
to effectively reach out to the community to inform them about the public hearing on June 23. This public
hearing lasted only five minutes and had minimal community input. It is questionable how much public
feedback the district received.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
This whole issue originated on May 22 when first-year English teacher and Speech & Debate coach
Andrew Nguyen was notified that his teaching contract would not be renewed for the following year. When
students sought a reason for his dismissal from principal Jim Schofield and AUSD, both claimed that they
could not discuss personnel matters in the interests of Nguyens privacy despite Nguyens written
statement allowing all interested parties to discuss whatever they feel is appropriate about [his] time at
San Gabriel High.

The issue gained traction when Schofield attempted to censor The Matadors coverage of Nguyens
dismissal and students were threatened with arrest upon planning a peaceful protest on the day of
graduation. In light of these First Amendment violations, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
threatened AUSD with a lawsuit. AUSD responded with a letter admitting that privacy is not one of the
reasons listed in California Education Code 48907 that justifies censoring student publications. AUSD
claimed that threats to arrest student protesters were never made. Some are not satisfied with this
response, and the district also failed to address many of our other concerns.
Because of the districts lack of transparency and inadequate responses to the community, many citizens
believe that the district and the principal must be held accountable, even if that entails calling for a new
administration and Board of Education.
KNBC Coverage:
http://thematadorsghs.com/2015/06/knbc-runs-news-report-on-andrew-nguyen-dismissal-firstamendment-violations/
Pasadena Star News (4 articles and counting):
http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/search?text=alhambra+unified+school+district
Student Press Law Center coverage:
http://www.splc.org/article/2015/06/california-students-allege-teacher-firing-story-censored
The Matador Newspaper:
http://thematadorsghs.com/
Board meeting coverage:
http://thematadorsghs.com/2015/06/june-2-school-board-meeting-coverage-by-the-matador/
Transparency op-ed:
http://thematadorsghs.com/2015/06/transparency-brings-trust-my-odyssey-trying-to-get-a-tape-of-anausd-board-meeting/
The Matador Newspaper censorship statement:
http://thematadorsghs.com/2015/06/statement-from-the-matador-regarding-english-teacher-debatecoach-bids-farewell-to-san-gabriel/
Alhambra Source:
http://www.alhambrasource.org/news/students-protest-teachers-dismissal-claim-violation-firstamendment-rights
http://www.alhambrasource.org/news/alhambra-unified-school-district-investigating-censorship-claims

Students from San Gabriel High School protest against Alhambra Unified School District on June 23,
calling for Andrew Nguyens rehirement, Jim Schofields resignation, and school board retirement.
(Photo courtesy of Sydney Trieu/The Matador)
END