An anonymous complaint was filed against the Bonsall Union School District on September 2 stating that Bonsall West Elementary School (BW) sixth grade students do not have the same access to textbooks and other instructional materials for all their coursework as do sixth grade students at Sullivan Middle School (SMS).
District Superintendent Dr. Justin Cunningham counters the complaint by saying textbook availability is equal for students of both schools.
According to the complaint, SMS sixth-graders can check out a set of textbooks before the semester begins to use at home in order to work on their homework, but BW sixth-graders do not have that option.
If found to be true, this would be considered a violation of the Williams settlement, which states that students should have access to core curriculum to be taken home in order to be able to use at home and after school.
The citizen who issued the complaint stated that he or she was concerned that the BW sixth-graders are a “disadvantage for learning” compared to the other sixth grade students in the Bonsall Union School District.
The complaint also focused on the fact that the BW students do not have access to other instructional materials including: a science lab, an extensive library, an athletics program with an athletics director, a gymnasium, track and intramural program.
Along with the list of what the citizen feels BW sixth-graders are lacking, the complaint also states that the lack of availability of textbooks for the students may be “discrimination,” because the percentage of white students at Bonsall West is 46 percent, versus 57 percent at Sullivan.
Additionally, the lack of textbook availability may be a violation of Education Code 35186, which allows citizens to submit complaints in case “a pupil does not have access to instructional materials to use at home or after school.”
The complaint also listed the notice of the right to file a complaint, which is required by the San Diego County Office of Education Administration Regulation 1312.4, was not posted in the sixth grade classrooms at Bonsall West.
Dr. Cunningham said he appreciates that parents and citizens are taking an interest in school matters but wants Bonsall citizens to know that the BW sixth-graders do not only have access to textbooks needed for learning during school but also can take home their textbooks for homework use.
The reason that BW students only have one textbook, Cunningham explained, is because the two sixth grade classrooms are “self-contained classrooms” which are not a middle school model, so the students do not have to go to different classes for each subject, unlike those at SMS, who travel amongst various classrooms for education in different subjects.
Cunningham stated that BW sixth-graders are not being discriminated against because they are given the option of either traveling to SMS to be in a junior high school model or staying at BW and being a part of a neighborhood school that allows students to go to a school closer to home.
He also said that, in comparison to other California K-6 schools, Bonsall West’s performance is in the top 10 percentile, and when compared to middle schools, is in the top 20 percentile.
Cunningham said that the lack of complaint notification procedures in the sixth grade classrooms was “something that was overlooked” and has since been corrected.
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