Two years ago, one of my neighbors, Maureen Minson introduced me to the concept of the School to Prison Pipeline. Maureen was facing obstacles by the adults in the school system as she tried to educate parents and students about their rights when it comes to dealing with school suspensions. At the time Maureen was a student at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah.
I was later reintroduced to the School to Prison Pipeline through my work with Racially Just Utah.
As a member of the Salt Lake City Board of Education, I have been attempting to address the use of full-time Salt Lake City Police Officer’s in West side schools.
Earlier this year it became apparent to me, that Superintendent McKell Withers and the Board President Heather Bennett were either indifferent to the damage being done to our students or they simply did not care.
As I have often said, as an elected official, my obligation is to my community not to the bureaucracy that is tasked with educating our children, yet refuses to hear the concerns of the community.
To that end, on May, 5, 2015 – I filed a complaint with U.S. Department of Educations Office for Civil Rights (OCR):
Complaint Letter to OCR (PDF)
On August, 15, 2105 – I received a response from OCR:
OCR Notification of Investigation (PDF)
Disproportionate Police Presence (Video: Board Meeting 02/17/15)
Mexican Bandito at the Board of Education (Video: Board Meeting 03/07/15)
Superintendent: Police in the Schools is a GOOD THING! (video 03/17/15)
School board member dons ‘Bandito’ costume to protest police presence at meetings (Salt Lake Tribune)
School board member wears “Frito Bandito” costume to meetings as protest (KUTV)
‘Frito bandito’ protesting at SLC school board (ABC 4 Utah)
Why One School Board Member In Utah Has Started Wearing A Sombrero To Meetings (Huffington Post)
Clara: “Frito Bandito” Costume Highlights Unfair Treatment of Minority Students (KUER Radio)
Trib Talk with Jennifer Napier-Pearce: Clara & Bennett (Video: 04/13/15)
To Write a Wrong (City Weekly 04/29/15)
Speaking Truth to Power: Fahina Pasi (Video: Board Meeting 05/05/15)
Michael Clara of the Salt Lake City School Board explains to Rod why he is dressing as a Mexican Bandito for recent school board meetings -Rod Arquette Show (KNRS Radio)
Utah GOP leader learned to avoid confrontations with cops (Standard Examiner 06/23/15)
GRAMA Appeals Hearing (08/13/15)
MEDIA COVERAGE OF FEDERAL INVESTIGATION:
Select Media Coverage of OCR Investigation
Deseret News: Salt Lake School District Under Federal Investigation for Claims of Discrimination
Tribune: Feds Investigating Claims of Racial Discrimination in Salt Lake City Schools