Parents sue La Mesa-Spring Valley schools for not providing in-person learning

Two parents sued the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District last week, alleging that the district has violated state law by failing to provide in-person learning this school year.

La Mesa-Spring Valley is one of multiple San Diego County districts that have offered only distance learning instruction to most students since the pandemic began last year.

The parent plaintiffs, Spring Vick and David Hargenburger, said in their complaint that distance learning has been “less effective, inaccessible, inadequate, unnecessary, inconsistent with the law, and in too many cases, very harmful to district students and families.”

The complaint cites state education law which says that school districts must “offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible.” The parents said that means the district must have offered at least some in-person instruction to all students.

Parents also alleged that the district has not provided enough instructional hours per day for all students.

La Mesa-Spring Valley plans to reopen schools for four days a week of in-person instruction for all students on April 19. Superintendent David Feliciano said the district had not opened before because of health and safety regulations.

California has prohibited San Diego County schools from reopening during the most-restrictive purple tier if they did not already reopened by the time the county fell to purple. San Diego County was in the purple tier from mid-November to mid-March.

“Since the start of the school year, our schools have operated in the capacity to which we have been legally obligated, per state law,” Feliciano said in an email.

Feliciano added that the district is excited to welcome back students.

“We will continue to follow this guidance as we move forward, with our focus on protecting the health and wellbeing of our students, staff, families, and community members,” Feliciano said.

The legal complaint is similar to one filed by San Diego Unified parents in March. Parents in both lawsuits are seeking class-action status to represent all parents in their school districts.

They also are seeking unspecified monetary damages to pay for things like tutors and counseling for their children who they say have suffered academic and emotional harm during school closures, said Marc Levine, attorney for the plaintiffs in the La Mesa-Spring Valley and San Diego Unified parent lawsuits.

“What we’re really seeking in this lawsuit is damages for what has been done over the past year for loss of instruction, both in-person and the amount of time for instruction,” Levine said.

The La Mesa-Spring Valley lawsuit named “La Mesa-Spring Valley Unified School District,” Brian Marshall, the California Department of Education and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond as defendants.

However La Mesa-Spring Valley is not a unified district and educates students only up to eighth grade. Marshall is the district’s former superintendent who retired in 2018. Levine said he is correcting the lawsuit.

A state education department spokesman said the department has not been served the lawsuit yet.




Source link

WORLD NEWS