Morning Report: An 'Astronomical' Suspension Rate - Voice of San Diego

Morning Report

Morning Report: An 'Astronomical' Suspension Rate

The expulsion rate for black students in the Grossmont Union High School District, which includes Granite Hills High, has been seven times higher than the county average for the last two years, according to state data. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Black students at Grossmont Union High School District are seven times more likely to be expelled than other black students in the rest of San Diego County.

And for three years straight, Grossmont has expelled black students at a rate at least six times higher than the county average, according to Department of Education data analyzed by VOSD’s Katy Stegall.  

“As many school districts across the state have moved toward restorative justice practices, which attempt to eliminate racial disparities in punishment, Grossmont’s use of expulsion as a punishment against black students continues to be pervasive,” Stegall writes. 

The numbers are “astronomical” and “incredibly disheartening,” said a professor a San Diego State University who studies equity issues. 

Grossmont currently has a plan to reduce suspensions among African-American students, but has not produced a plan to lower its expulsion rate. 

“There’s other things you should be able to put into place — put a behavioral plan together — for every child that doesn’t involve taking them away from their education,” said one leader of the local NAACP. 

Everything We Know About the Mission Valley Stadium Site

Voters approved a ballot measure last fall directing the city of San Diego to sell the Mission Valley stadium site to San Diego State University.

The plan voters approved is relatively clear: SDSU will pay fair market value for the land, tear down the old stadium, which the Aztecs currently use for football games, and build a new one. It would also create a park along the San Diego River and work with private developers to build classrooms, research space and thousands of housing units.

Meanwhile, the Union-Tribune’s Kirk Kenney reports SDSU football season tickets dropped 15 percent from last season, dropping to their lowest total in five seasons. 

One reason, he said, could be the “dilapidated, 52-year-old stadium that doesn’t present the in-game experience many fans have come to expect.”

Voice’s Ry Rivard has been following the ongoing deal between the university and the city closely and went on Reddit to answer questions. He got a lot of them. We rounded up the best parts of that conversation, including responses to what would happen if plans fell through, and why build a new stadium for a team “nobody cares to see.”

Sweetwater Parents Say Students Are Being Questioned by Border Patrol

San Ysidro High School parents, students and community members speak out against Sweetwater Union High School District’s decision to cut bus routes at a board meeting on August 26, 2018. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

From Adriana Heldiz: On Monday night, a group of San Ysidro High School parents, students and community members packed the Montgomery High School gym to speak out against Sweetwater Union High School District’s decision to cut 20 bus routes due to its $30 million budget crisis.

The group also asked the district to provide laptops promised to seniors and reduce the cost of AP tests. They suggested the district could pay for the services by either taking pay cuts or accepting the $12 million loan offered by the San Diego County Office of Education.

Assistant Superintendent Moises Aguirre announced the district would be adding one more bus and opening up 110 more spaces for student riders.

Communications Director Manny Rubio defended the cuts by saying the district provided more routes to San Ysidro High than to any other school, and that the district isn’t required by the state to provide bus services.

“You say that because you were generous years ago, now you are facing this tremendous problem,” said Minerva Downey, a member of Madres Unidas San Ysidro Chapter. “What great disappointment it is knowing that your goodness has an expiration date.”

Olga Espinoza, the mother of a San Ysidro High student highlighted in a Voice of San Diego photo essay, said her son has been questioned by Border Patrol officers while walking to school early in the mornings.

“Getting asked if they are U.S. citizens, where are they going, really? Are you OK with this abuse of intimidation and harassment?” she said.

Her son, Jose Luis Perez, urged the district to solve the problem before the situation gets worse.

“We shouldn’t be suffering or risking our lives for your mistakes,” he said. “This is unacceptable and something needs to be done before someone gets injured, kidnapped or killed while walking to school and back.”

Tri-City Beds

A new deal has been reached to reopen an inpatient psychiatric unit at Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, announced San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher on Twitter.  

A previous psychiatric unit at Tri-City closed in October 2018. Last July, VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt revealed that police in North County were having to pick up the slack in dealing with mental health crises. Police were spending significant time away from their beats in order to get people mental health services. 

Previously, they had been able to check a patient in at Tri-City’s psychiatric unit. But without the psychiatric beds in place, cops were spending hours sitting in emergency rooms with people in crisis, trying to get them checked into a hospital, Halverstadt found. 

The new deal is “in principal,” Fletcher noted. No timeline has been set for when the beds could be back online. 

Hexa’s New Album Finds Order in Chaos

In the latest Culture Report, Julia Dixon Evans showcases a “haunting and anthemic” album from an all-women band being released this week. Vocalist and frontperson Carrie Gillespie Feller formed the darkwave project Hexa in 2015, after playing in bands in San Diego since she was a teenager.

The album is “emblematic of the collaborative brute of local musicians and proof that the San Diego band is somehow pulling off just what it’s intending to do: finding order in the chaos,” writes Evans.

Also in the Culture Report: Dance, poetry and events you’ll want to check out this weekend.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood and Will Huntsberry, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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