Tag: Timothy Ritter

Are TVUSD’s Superintendent and Board President Attempting to Undercut New Board Members?

All Signs Point to Bunker Mentality

This Tuesday, April 21, 2015, at the Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) Governing Board meeting, multiple documents will be proposed for updates. One document that has caught our attention is N.4. PROPOSED REVISION TO BOARD BYLAW 9010 – PUBLIC STATEMENTS.

In this document, paragraph #1 currently reads as follows:

The Governing Board recognizes the rights of Board members to freely express their views and encourages open discussion of issues during the Board meeting. The Board believes that all Board members have a responsibility to express themselves, whether in agreement or disagreement with the other Board members, in ways that support the Board’s ability to govern the District.

If the proposed changes are accepted, it would be changed to read as follows:

The Governing Board recognizes the responsibility of Board members in their role as community leaders to participate in public discourse on matters of civic or community interest, including those involving the district, and their right to freely express their personal views. However, to ensure communication of a consistent, unified message regarding district issues, Board members are expected to respect the authority of the Board to choose its representatives to communicate its positions and to abide by established protocols.

All public statements authorized to be made on behalf of the Board shall be made by the Board president or, if appropriate, by the Superintendent or other designated representative.

The proposed changes to this document could easily be interpreted as a message to the new board members to “keep your mouths shut and know your place.” If this is the case, the irony is that the new board members actually hold the majority.… Read more

State Finds District that Entrapped Our Son Misappropriated Special Needs Kids’ Money

Lori_Ordway_Peck

TVUSD punished again for financial improprieties

A year-long investigation by the California Department of Education (CDE) into the Temecula Valley Unified School District’s (TVUSD) special education department found a multitude of violations – click here to read the full CDE report (323 pages) –  including the following examples of improper use of funds designated for TVUSD’s special education students:

  • 40 school district staff members, who were not assigned to teach Special Education students, received a portion of their salaries from special education funds during the 2013-2014 school year.
  • A Temecula charter school to which TVUSD was required to provide Special Education funds received only 54.3% of the funds during the 2013-2014 school year.

In total, the CDE issued 226 corrective actions and has given TVUSD a deadline of April 15, 2015 to provide evidence that all corrective actions have been completed, including repayment of the misappropriated funds.… Read more

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

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.… Read more

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.… 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.… 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)

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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)

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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.

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End Undercover Drug Stings in Schools

The Story

At 8:30 a.m. on December 11th, 2012, armed police officers rushed into our autistic son’s high school classroom. He was handcuffed in front of his classmates, taken away, medically probed, interrogated without a lawyer, booked, and then locked up. We knew nothing about this until we called the school that afternoon at 3:45, after our son 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.

He was arrested as part of a “sting operation” which was secretly brought into Temecula Valley Unified School District classrooms, with the assistance of key school administrators, and resulted in the arrests of 22 students. Their goal was “identifying and purchasing illegal drugs from persons dealing on campus. ” The problem is, our son is not and never was a drug dealer.

The majority of the students arrested at our son’s school were special education students, and almost all were minorities.

In January of 2013, a criminal judge saw extenuating circumstances, and our son’s case has been dismissed. Still, the Temecula Valley Unified School District moved to permanently expel him. We then took the school district to a due process hearing, and a Judge ordered our son reinstated to his school.

We have filed a notice of claim against the school district, and will be initiating a civil suit against them.

This is How We Will End Undercover Drug Stings in Schools

We believe that by making our son’s story public, and by holding the school district accountable through highly visible legal action, we have the opportunity to make what happened here so well known that when school districts are approached by law enforcement, offering to bring undercover drug stings to their campuses, school administrators will realize that they could be exposing themselves to major liability issues.… Read more