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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Cop in Schools Idea Causes Meltdown Between City Council & School Board Member

Cop on Campus?:
Rift Between City Council and School Board Member Opens

Board Member Vargas Makes a Power Play

Testy Exchanges at Meeting

Vargas to Subvert Will of the Council

In an impassioned imbroglio played out before the cameras on October 5th, Emery School Board member Cruz Vargas, citing student discipline problems at the ECCL campus, proposed to fellow members of the City/School Committee that a full time Emeryville police officer with the right to arrest students exhibiting behavior issues be provided and paid for by the City of Emeryville.  It was an idea that landed with a resounding thud but not before the City Council members present directed a strongly stated contradictory barrage at Mr Vargas leaving him pained but undaunted, pledging to take his idea on the road and go around the holders of the purse strings, straight to parents.  Surprisingly, the cost to the City for such an officer, likely more than $100,000 per year, was hardly even mentioned by the City Council members, concerned as they were over what they characterized as the inappropriateness of the whole thing.  

School Board member
Cruz Vargas

He's going over the City Council's heads
and take his cop in the school
show on the road.
The ‘cop in the school’ idea, called a ‘school resources officer’ (SRO), has many critics but regardless been used by some school districts to bring 'order'.  However, in schools with large numbers of black and brown children, it has been universally panned by pedagogical experts, social justice champions and those concerned with equity issues nation wide.  Police officers trained in arresting adults, thrust into an environment where normal adolescent behavior can be misconstrued as criminal activity, SROs have been credited with contributing to the oft referenced ‘school to prison pipeline’ especially for young African Americans, what Council member Christian Patz calls a “reframe to criminality”. 
Regardless of the popularity of SROs among law and order types, the City Council attendees at the meeting took their turns joining with member Patz soundly rejecting member Vargas’ SRO objective, notably Council member John Bauters who delivered a memorably devastating and indelible riposte from the dais (see link below).  Admonishing Mr Vargas’ claim the SRO would be good for the police as well as the children, Councilman Bauters countered that schools are “not a place for PR for police” adding, “When cops encounter children who are acting like children, their instinct in many cases its treat them with the training they know.”  He talked at length on the negative effects ‘over policing’ has on many African American children before he clarified that he is not anti-police, and specifically not anti Emeryville police he stressed.

Council member Ally Medina expressed concern over inequity resulting from the use of SROs that academic studies have shown.  Noting the lack of training police have in dealing with child psychology, a problem that in America skews against schools with high levels of minority students like Emery, Councilwoman Medina quoted such studies when she addressed member Vargas, “Suspension levels are higher for minority children in heavily secured schools” she said.

Council member Christian Patz told his colleagues member Vargas had not presented a cogent reason why a police officer is even needed at ECCL, noting a lack of complaints over student behavior issues and the large numbers of administrators and teachers on the campus that has a palliative effect on discipline, let alone any possible criminal behavior.  Mr Patz counted 13 administrators on campus making for a top heavy 1:53 admin to student ratio.  If teachers are added, that makes it a 1:14 ratio and if the entire adult staff on campus is added, then there is a 1:10 ratio with students, an extremely large percentage among school districts.  Besides the highly monitored effect this large number of adults watching over the children has on tamping down bad behavior, it is also a primary reason why Emery spends so much money per student, higher than all neighboring school districts it was noted.  Mr Patz reminded Mr Vargas of Emery's low suspension rates and high attendance numbers to further illustrate his point that an SRO is not needed.

"I don't know what it was in my remarks that 
led to the impression I had an open mind on this.  
I want to make it very clear; I'm opposed to it".
-Council member Christian Patz

With a recalcitrant Board member Cruz Vargas and an equally oppositional City Council, a testy exchange between the Council members and member Vargas ensued.  Despite a united front of the City Council against the SRO proposal, the five individuals Mr Vargas would have to sway to pay for it, he saw fit to counter attack, perhaps giving hint to his next move.  After warning them he would go directly to parents to force the issue he scolded the City Council, “I don’t appreciate this issue being politicized” he said adding with vituperative finish, “the majority of the people at this table are out of touch with the parents.”  
Driving his point, member Vargas said he had been to a PTO meeting and gleaned, “the vast majority of parents in the school” support his SRO idea to which Councilwoman Dianne Martinez, who’s husband was at that meeting fired back, “I don’t appreciate you speaking for me as a parent” after asking if he was sure about his “vast majority” deduction, she questioned him; “Are you extrapolating?”   Mr Vargas shot back that the Board supports his SRO idea prompting Mr Patz to inquire, “Are you speaking for the whole Board?”  After some retrenching speech by member Vargas when Board member Barbara Inch volunteered she is not in favor of the SRO idea, it was revealed the School Board had only voted to place the issue on a future agenda to discuss it.  Having caught Mr Vargas in the fabrication of Board support, Mr Patz pounced, “[Putting it on an agenda is] very different than saying the Board supports it. It says the Board supports talking about it”

To get his cop in the school idea funded, these are
the five people Cruz Vargas needs to convince. 
It's the same five he has gone to war with

After the City Council members finally all had their say, none of it supportive of the SRO idea, member Vargas told everyone present he would hold a town hall type meeting about this and that he was happy the City Council was open to the idea of bringing a police officer to the ECCL campus and spending taxpayer money for it.  He thanked the Council for "having an open mind on this" and for their receptiveness for holding a town hall meeting.  Council member Christian Patz was incredulous upon hearing that, "I apologize, I don't know what it was in my remarks that led to the impression I had an open mind on this.  I want to make it very clear; I'm opposed to it" he said.  Council member John Bauters was less circumspect, "Not one Council member should have given the impression to you [that a police officer on the campus is a good idea]. It would be political adventure for you to hold some sort of meeting to do what we have told you is not of interest to us" he protested. 

The entire dramatic City/School Committee meeting may be viewed HERE.
John Bauter's historic speech within the meeting may be viewed HERE.


  1. Police in schools is not the answer. If you want to reduce truancy and 'discipline' issues, hire adult individuals to walk the halls who can be labeled 'security' but are actually counselors who can relate and listen to the students. I saw this in an SF public school. It works.

  2. Who the hell is Cruz Vargas? If he wants a cop in the schools so much, why doesn't he pay for it? He seems like a brat to me.More childish than the children he is supposed to be helping.

  3. During my years as a substitute teacher in the Oakland School District I saw that much of the classroom disruption was brought on by students who, for various reasons, were poor readers. A few minutes in homeroom each morning practicing simple concentration could be helpful to them, and of course to all students, easing up the negative behavior that makes classroom control a hellish experience for beleaguered teachers. I don't see that having a policeman as a campus staff member would make much sense, but an occasional lecture by a visiting cop on the subject of bullying would have a keen audience.

  4. Wow this story is even more “Tattlery” than normal!
    Not worth mentioning 20 year EUSD Teacher and Union pres. Mark Davis supported it (watch the video)?
    Not worth mentioning the District School Psychologist supported it?
    Not with mentioning that the Officer could be unarmed, part time and participate in kids programs and this might the only positive interaction with the police that some kids might ever have?

    Not worth mentioning the people that opposed it were all white RULE members, None of which have kids in the school?

    But yeah, the white, gay, childless councilmmeber Bauters knows what’s best for black & brown kids. He read an article about it! F’n ridiculous.

    1. True, many people would support putting police officers in public schools. Perhaps even 50% of Americans would support such a thing. Maybe even a little more. One only needs to look at the broken state of affairs all around us to see that this 50%+ number would likely be true. That's not what I intend on invoking here at the Tattler though. If I were to be of that state of mind then I would be for instance making sure each developer who was requesting to increase his bottom line at our expense be given a platform to push his piece of public commons degradation and each Council member who breaks their promise about such a development off the hook in so doing. Surely the same 50% would demand that of any news source. That much we see loudly proclaimed by the elite and their sycophants ad nauseam. But we're not here to do that. It says right in our masthead why we're here.
      Having said that, the people you mention are not direct players in the drama that's in the public interest. Those are side actors who will likely be covered by the Tattler should they posit themselves in the drama in more than a sideline manner in the future as they possibly could. If you know the Tattler as you indicate that you do, then you should know we will not be so timid as to not take on any elite (as at least the Teachers Association President is). If Mr Davis posits himself into the public policy more than with just a comment, we will report on that. So,'s not worth mentioning at this point. I'll let your comments fill that need as you see it.

      So, what's "Tattlery"? Reporting on the commons in Emeryville, taking on the elite and spreading light where previously there had been darkness (if a person throws a candy wrapper on the ground in Doyle Hollis Park, we'll let that degradation of the commons go unreported...even something perhaps a little bigger than a candy wrapper too). Other than that; we're on it.

      We're not sure what you mean when you invoke Council member Bauters personal life into this debate. How is what you're asserting here relevant? If you're going to be critical of Mr Bauters' public policy he advances in the council chambers, and feel free to do it here, please leave any personal attacks out of it. That kind of comment is general only allowed here if it's directed against me.

    2. One other point of clarification: The City Council members are not RULE members as you posit. RULE membership is open to all Emeryville residents except elected officials. The City Council members were all endorsed by RULE when they ran for their office, true, but once they became council members, they lost the ability to be RULE members. This is in the RULE bylaws, such as they are.

    3. Oh and I should have mentioned: besides your homophobic forclosure on gay people knowing about the needs of children, your attempt to cast all who oppose the SRO idea as white and without kids at Emery leaves us wondering about Council member Martinez...she has a child at Emery and she isn’t white. So I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. Can you illucidate on these two points of yours?

    4. No, you dolt. We're talking about Timmel, Major and you. We know you have a daughter that you transfered out of the district but what about the rest of your progressive "cult"? Do they have kids in the district? Do they have kids period? Because if not, then their opinions are worthless.

    5. So if I understand you correctly, you're saying RULE members, gay people, White people and people without children in the school district don’t have opinions that are worth anything?
      Is that correct? The problem I see here with your line of thinking is that it crashes up against reality. The City Council were endorsed by RULE, they’re gay, they’re white and they don’t have children in the school district (Martinez excepted). Their opinions are worth $100,000 per year. You do know that 100,000 is a bigger number than zero I presume.

    6. Nice Try! The point was dimwit that the parents of the brown and black kids and staff of the ECCL outweigh those of old, white childless people with too much time on their hands in need of a hobby. Get a life!

    7. Interesting. But I still don’t quite understand (dim witted dolt), how is it that the people that you say are good in your equation will be able to vote to spend the $100,000 per year for the cop? How will the City Council be disenfranchised? Will the California Constitution support your idea?
      And about RULE being what you say is a cult: since every single candidate RULE backed won election in Emeryville, how could it be construed as a cult? Are you saying the people of Emeryville are cultists? All of them or just what Cruz Vargas would call the vast majority?

  5. Wasn't Vargas endorsed by RULE? If so, Clearly you need to do a better job of making sure your candidates uphold every word of the progressive doctrine like the sheep you are.

    While I have you here, is the Tattler an official PR arm of our city council? I know you wrote the contrived story criticizing your brother but it seem like most of your stories serve to do their bidding.

    1. No, Cruz Vargas was not endorsed by RULE. But if you mean consistency by using the word ‘sheep’ , then I would have to say RULE usually looks to people they think are consistent and so the word sheep would apply. Of course I don’t speak for RULE and this is my personal take: RULE likes progressives in elections.
      To the charge that I’m being inconsistent and not taking the City Council to task for peccadilloes large and small then you haven’t been consistent yourself. You need to read the Tattler before going off half cocked. The Tattler goes after the elite when they screw up period.
      But back to your other charges: are the majority of Emeryville residents supporting a cult? And voting to pay for a police officer: how will you get the California Constitution changed to allow the people you like to make that decision and take it away from the Council? That seems like a really high hurdle.

  6. Hmm, I don't know who to root for in this spat. The Big, fat, crazy, slovenly white guy that everyone calls a bully and portends to be an "Ally" to minorities ... or the Mexican immigrant hoping to make our schools safer for his kids and fight incessant bullying.

    1. Reading your short treatise on how to enable effective public policy, I have to say I'd rather not have you in my camp. I think you ought to go for the status quo side with its sliding test scores, plunging ranking, dropping enrollment, teacher warring, Brown Act violating, Mandated Reporter ignoring racist transparency hating politicians .

    2. Who's the immigrant hoping to make our schools safer for his kids, anyway? Is there a particular person you're talking about? It couldn't be Board member Vargas; like many parents, he doesn't like Emery so his kids go to a different district.

  7. Cruz Vargas aims to put in place at ECCL an Emeryville officer with "the power to arrest children exhibiting strange behavior.

    This will undoubtedly bring a potentially deadly situation to our school. I have a better idea Cruise Vargas! Why don't you tell superintendent Rubio to report sexual assault instead of covering it up.