State Investigation Reveals 92% of Temecula’s Special Education Students Have No Future

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Meltdown in Temecula as State Investigation Finds Massive Non-Compliance in TVUSD Special Education

Temecula, CA is home to the most famous special education department in the United States. However, it’s a distinction that Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) brass would likely not want, because it was earned after TVUSD allowed undercover cops onto their campuses, resulting in the entrapment of nine special education students, who were handcuffed in front of their classmates and hauled off to jail.

And now, TVUSD’s reputation is about to get even worse.

We are the first to report that last week, TVUSD superintendent Timothy Ritter received the results of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) year-long investigation into TVUSD’s special education department. The State’s investigation of TVUSD is something we had previously reported.

Some Key Takeaways from the CDE Report

  • Under the current TVUSD administration, the number of TVUSD’s special education students that went on to higher education, some other post-secondary education or training program, or were employed at any level was found to be 8.3%. This falls pathetically short of the state’s target of 69%.
  • The four year graduation rate of special education students in TVUSD was 76.4% percent, far short of the state’s target of 90%.
  • 20% of parents who requested interpretation services at IEP meetings were not provided with an interpreter.
  • Non-compliance items that were discovered in 2009-2010 by a mandatory Riverside County review have not been corrected. It was during the 2009-2010 school year that TVUSD’s current Director of Special Education, Kimberly Velez, was promoted to lead the Special Education Department.
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Snodgrass Public Statement on the End of School Drugs Stings in Riverside County

The Riverside Press Enterprise recently asked us to comment for an article they were preparing, and is out now, Schools get reprieve from undercover drug busts. We provided the following written statement:

It is fantastic news that there have been no schools in the Southern California region that participated in undercover school drug stings. We find these practices to be extremely abusive and pointless as they ultimately destroy the lives of so many students, do not make them any safer, and violate their civil rights. Hopefully, these shameful acts will be banned in every school district. We expect our schools to protect our children and not teach them how to buy drugs.

Thank You Daily Kos

To the good people at Daily Kos, you have been  very kind to our family and we appreciate this front page endorsement.

dsnodgrass first wrote about his autistic son being entrapped by undercover cops planted in his son’s high school on Feb. 1, 2013. Doug wrote 30 diaries over the next two years keeping us updated as the story was picked up by Rolling Stone and made the subject of a documentary. Doug and his wife Catherine are heroes for taking the system on head first and being instrumental in the banning of undercover drug stings in schools.

[…]

The triumphant smiles of Doug, Jesse & Catherine Snodgrass at Jesse's high school graduation

The triumphant smiles of Doug, Jesse & Catherine Snodgrass at Jesse’s high school graduation

As you can see in the photo above, Jesse graduated from his high school even after being set up, arrested and incarcerated to be used as financial fodder for the Temecula Juvenile Detention business. The photo celebrates a strong family that triumphed and shut down a money-making operation that required special needs students to be thrown under the bus. Doug and his family, with the help of our amazing community, steeled themselves to stop this. Many families have been deeply hurt by these policies, but Doug and Catherine halted that. Heroes.

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

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.

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

m4s0n501

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

Meet the People Behind the Scandal

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.

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)

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)