Superintendent Ritter Tries to Shut Us Up and Disgraced Ex-Board Members Flip Off Parents On Way Out

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As we recently reported, the voters of Temecula replaced all three incumbent school board members with the candidates we endorsed.

(Pictured left to right)  Bob Brown, Vince O'Neal, Kristi Rutz-Robbins, Allen Pulsipher, Richard Shafer, (center) Tim Ritter (yup, crown was photoshopped)

(Pictured left to right) Bob Brown,
Vince O’Neal, Kristi Rutz-Robbins,
Allen Pulsipher, Richard Shafer, (center) Tim Ritter (yup, crown was Photoshopped)

On November 18, two weeks after election night, the school board held its final meeting with the three lame duck members. A piece of business they unanimously approved was a (roughly) one million dollar contract extension for Superintendent Timothy Ritter, even though nearly two years remained on the current contract, along with contract extensions for his two assistant superintendents, Jodi McClay and Lori Ordway-Peck, (who has been accused of misrepresenting budget projections by the Temecula Valley Educators Association). The combined compensation packages that were approved total nearly two and a half million dollars, paid by the same citizens who voted the board members out of office.

This appears to be a curious overreach. The voting public demanded that each board member whose terms were expiring stop working with the children in Temecula’s public schools, including two board members who first came to their positions two decades ago. Yet they, along with board members Kristi Rutz-Robbins and Allen Pulsipher (who will have their chance to hear from the voters in 2016) ignored the clear message that the voters expected major change, starting at the top. Instead, they decided to spend millions of our tax dollars to reward poor performance and bad behavior, flipping off the voters.… Read more

A Major Civil Rights Victory Just Occurred in Temecula

The Riverside County Registrar of Voters has certified the ballots for the 2014 Temecula School Board election, and the results are now official. Huge congratulations are in order for our newest board members, Julie Farnbach, Kevin S. Hill and Sandy Hinkson. These are the three candidates we publicly endorsed and they come to the five member board as an immediate majority. History will show that this election was an important moment in a burgeoning civil rights movement. Children are often the forgotten victims of civil rights violations, and we maintain that every undercover drug sting in schools is a violation of children’s civil rights.

The outcome of this election is a direct result of Operation Glass House, the abusive debacle in which undercover officers from the Riverside County Sheriffs Department entrapped twenty two of Temecula’s children in a fabricated drug sting, nine who were Special Education students, including our autistic son, Jesse Snodgrass. This is precisely the result we worked for, on behalf of Jesse, and all other children who we believe were abused under the watch of TVUSD administrators.

After Operation Glass House, members of TVUSD’s brass responded with behaviors toward its victims that we consider to be inappropriate and offensive. And after Operation Glass House was exposed as a sham in numerous media sources, most notably Rolling Stone (The Entrapment of Jesse Snodgrass) and VICE (The War on Kids), along with the tireless efforts of our partners, including the Drug Policy Alliance, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, TVUSD did little more in response than to stick its head in the sand.… Read more

Superintendent to Entrapped Students: DROP DEAD

Jonathan GreenburgHistory is filled with those who have staunchly embedded themselves on the wrong side of civil rights issues, and history is never kind to them. Meet one of the newest members of this exclusive club, Perris Union High School District Superintendent Jonathan Greenberg.

Greenberg’s legacy is the authorization of a 2013 undercover operation in his Perris and Menifee schools, approximately 20 miles from Temecula. The operation was nearly identical to the 2012 Temecula operation. Included in the arrest was a 15-year-old special education student, who read at third grade level. The boy spent Christmas holidays behind bars and was charged with a felony after selling a single Vicodin pain pill for $3, which had been prescribed to him, to a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy who posed as a student all semester.

Greenberg has not hesitated from piling on these kids since the arrest, seemingly bragging about his role to anyone who will listen. In Teen Vogue of all places, Greenberg said, “We hope for them that this is the worst day of their lives.”

Stay classy John.

Email: jonathan.greenberg@puhsd.org
Telephone:(951) 943-6369 x80102 or x80103… Read more

Meet the People Behind the Scandal

m4s0n501

ritterTimothy Ritter, TVUSD Superintendent
2013 Compensation, $233,161
Email: tritter@tvusd.k12.ca.us
Telephone: (951) 506-7904

Tim Ritter is one of three people within the TVUSD who were aware of the undercover police operation that occurred for several months on Temecula school campuses. According to sworn testimony by TVUSD Director of Child Welfare and Attendance Michael Hubbard, Mr. Ritter is the person who authorized this operation.

In October, 2014, Ritter was fined by the State of California Fair Political Practices Commission because he did not disclose gifts he received from Stone & Youngberg LLC, an investment banking company who was fined for its involvement in the Bernie Madoff scandal.

 

brownRobert Brown, TVUSD School Board member
Email: bbrown@tvusd.k12.ca.us

Robert Brown is one of three people within the TVUSD who were aware of the undercover police operation that occurred for several months on Temecula school campuses. At the time the operation was authorized, Mr. Brown was the TVUSD School Board President, and it has been reported to us by district officials that Mr. Brown did not notify any of the other TVUSD board members.

On November 4, 2014, the voters of Temecula took matters into their own hands, and voted Brown out of office. Brown had been first elected to the TVUSD School Board in 1995, but in 2014 was on the wrong side of a landslide.

 

Hubbard

Michael Hubbard, TVUSD Director of Child Welfare and Attendance
2013 Compensation, $142,501
Email: mhubbard@tvusd.k12.ca.us

Telephone:(951) 506-7983

Michael Hubbard is one of three people within the TVUSD who were aware of the undercover police operation that occurred for several months on Temecula school campuses.… Read more

TVUSD School Board Election on Tuesday

We urge you to vote in Tuesday’s election, because we have an amazing opportunity to replace 3 out of the 5 members of the TVUSD school board, and if we can replace those members with good candidates, we will have a majority who may actually listen to the people whose lives their decisions impact. And our family is living proof that the actions of a school board can have enormous impact on your life.

We believe that even without the authorization by some TVUSD administrators of a 21-Jump Street type operation that resulted in the entrapment and arrests of 22 children (9 who were special education), there are numerous reasons to replace the current school board members. This includes what many believe to be the waste of millions of our tax dollars, questionable accounting, mistreatment of special education students and their families, and much more. In fact, two weeks ago, TVUSD Superintendent Timothy Ritter was fined by the State of California Fair Political Practices Commission because he did not disclose gifts he received from Stone & Youngberg LLC, an investment banking company who was fined for its involvement in the Bernie Madoff scandal.

The three current school board members whose seats are up for grabs on Tuesday are Robert Brown, Vincent O’Neal, and Richard Shafer. O’Neal has already decided not to run for re-election, so that’s one seat that will be changed. While we believe that any of the challengers would be an improvement over the incumbents, here are the three candidates that we believe could be the game changers that we need.
Read more

The Story

At 8:30 a.m. on December 11th, 2012, armed police officers rushed into Jesse Snodgrass’s classroom at Chaparral High School in Temecula, CA. He was handcuffed in front of his classmates, taken away, medically probed, interrogated without a lawyer, booked, and then locked up.

Jesse is our son, and he has autism. We knew nothing about this until we called the school that afternoon at 3:45, after Jesse had not returned home. We were not allowed to see him until two days later, in court, and the look in his eyes will forever haunt us.

In August 2012, he transferred to a new school after we moved. We were amazed that he immediately made a new friend named Daniel who was in his art class. To the other students, Daniel became known as Deputy Dan, because, to them, he was clearly an undercover cop.… Read more

School District Sues Police, Claims Our Son Was Victim of Unconstitutional Entrapment

This story has taken another strange and unexpected twist. Our son, Jesse, filed a lawsuit against Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) about six months ago. Now, TVUSD has filed a cross complaint against the Riverside Sheriff’s Department and Riverside County.

The rationale is striking and is best summed up in paragraph 7 of the Cross Complaint (which can be viewed below).

So TVUSD is claiming that if they are found liable, the county and the police should be responsible for paying all of the damages, (as well as TVUSD’s attorney fees), because of the sheriff’s department’s “negligent, unlawful and tortious conduct” and their “unconstitutional entrapment, search, and seizure” of Jesse.

At the same time, their response to Jesse’s lawsuit continues to be that he is a drug dealer.

If it should be found that cross-complainants are liable under the allegations contained in the complaint (which allegations cross-complainants have denied and continue to deny), then cross-complainants are informed and believe, and upon such information and belief allege that the negligent, unlawful and tortious conduct of cross-defendants, and each of them, including any alleged unconstitutional entrapment, search, and seizure, was active, primary and affirmative, and that the conduct of cross-complainants, if any, was passive, secondary and derivative only.

(Emphasis added)

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Read more

The Jig is Up for Undercover Drug Stings in Schools

This week, our partners, the Drug Policy Alliance, have mailed a letter to the Superintendents of 20 Riverside County school districts, along with a copy of the recent Rolling Stone investigative piece about our son, The Entrapment of Jesse Snodgrass.

We are certain that the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s annual 21 Jump Street style dog and pony show, which accomplishes nothing more than destroying lives, will now be dead on arrival.

We are asking you to download the letter and share it everywhere share this letter everywhere. Share it with your school district’s superintendent. Share it with your school board members. Share it with your principals. Share it with your PTA. Share it with your city officials. And when you do so, share the Rolling Stone article as well.

The day is coming where legislation will permanently end undercover drug stings in schools, but until then, this is how we can make them stop immediately. Any administrator who reads the letter will understand the risks to their students, and the potential liability to their school districts and to themselves.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Read more

Rolling Stone Magazine: The Entrapment of Jesse Snodgrass

The new issue of Rolling Stone tells the full story surrounding our son’s in-school entrapment, arrest, detention, expulsion battle, and our efforts to rescue him.

In addition to several hours of telephone interviews, the writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, spent two days with us in November, recording lengthy interviews with us, and our son, who is also identified in the article.

It begins like this.

Jesse Rolling StoneJesse Snodgrass plodded around yet another stucco corner, searching for Room 254 in time for the second-period bell, only to find he was lost yet again. Jesse felt a familiar surge of panic. He was new to Chaparral High School and still hadn’t figured out how to navigate the sprawling Southern California campus with its outdoor maze of identical courtyards studded with baby palm trees. Gripping his backpack straps, the 17-year-old took some deep breaths. Gliding all around him were his new peers, chatting as they walked in slouchy pairs and in packs. Many of their mouths were turned up, baring teeth, which Jesse recognized as smiles, a signal that they were happy. Once he regained his composure, he followed the spray-painted Chaparral Puma paw prints on the ground, his gait stiff and soldierly, and prayed that his classroom would materialize. He was already prepared to declare his third day of school a disaster.

At last, Jesse found his art class, where students were milling about in the final moments before the bell. He had resigned himself to maintaining a dignified silence when a slightly stocky kid with light-brown hair ambled over and said, “Hi.”

“Hi,” Jesse answered cautiously.

Read more

California Government Opens Formal Investigation of Temecula Valley Unified School District

Parent Input Meeting Brochure Page 2Parent Input Meeting Brochure Page 1The California Department of Education (CDE) has initiated a formal investigation of the Temecula Valley Unified School District. The investigation has come to light just months after the CDE issued a notice of non-compliance with corrective actions against TVUSD related to their suspension and attempted expulsion of our son.

On Thursday night, January 16, 2014, the CDE conducted a parent/guardian input meeting at the TVUSD administrative office. In attendance were approximately 100 parents and/or guardians of special education students, and several personnel provided by the CDE. No TVUSD administrators were in attendance.

Community ResourcesA brochure, paper questionnaires and electronic devices for answering questions were provided to the audience. The brochures included the following:

CDE will investigate your district using these methods:

  • Parent/Guardian Input Meeting
  • Interviews with parents and district staff
  • Visits to school sites
  • Review of policies and procedures
  • Review of program implementation
  • Review of student records

CDE will prepare a Corrective Action Plan based on findings of non-compliance found during this review.

Contact your district Superintendent for results of this review.

Here are some personal thoughts and observations.

Having the perspective of working in a government regulated industry for 15 years for companies that are subject to FDA regulatory oversight, it appears that the process being followed by the CDE is strikingly similar to an FDA audit. FDA audits are very serious matters, and the FDA can choose any corrective actions they feel appropriate. In the most egregious cases, criminal prosecution can be recommended.

The CDE’s parent/guardian input meeting included several extraordinary exchanges.… Read more

Riverside Sheriff’s Dept arrests another disabled child in school, this time for a $3 Vicodin pill

Last month, one year and one day after several armed police officers rushed into our autistic son’s classroom at Chaparral High School in Temecula, CA, handcuffed him in front of his classmates, took him away, medically probed him, interrogated him without a lawyer, booked him, and then locked him up, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department did it again, this time, about 20 miles down the road. It was in a different school, but the details and results were strikingly similar.

The Press Enterprise has now been confirmed that the similarities are even more sickening than we first knew.

A 15-year-old Menifee special-education student, one of 25 teens arrested in an undercover school drug bust, is spending Christmas in juvenile hall.

The Paloma Valley High School freshman is charged with a felony after selling a single Vicodin pain pill for $3 to a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy who posed as a student all semester, the boy’s mother said.

Monique Gallo said her son suffers from learning disabilities and reads at a third-grade level. He used the $3 to buy snacks at school, she said.

[…]

But because her son was on probation, the judge ordered him to stay in juvenile hall through the holidays, Gallo said. She said he got in trouble for fighting at his middle school last year. Gallo said she and her ex-husband can’t afford a private attorney for their son.

To the point of the student being on probation for fighting at his middle school last year, the Riverside Sheriff’s department appears to have a sometimes uncomfortably cozy relationship with some school administrations, and in many cases, handles discipline issues that would normally be handled by school districts.… Read more