California’s attorney general says a North Bay school district has a racially segregated school and is violating anti-discrimination laws.
Those in the Sausalito-Marin City School District community seem to agree with the bold statement directed at Bayside MLK Academy, and they want it fixed.
Tiffany Davis has four kids at Bayside. She appreciates what the school offers but isn’t sure there are enough opportunities to help her oldest child excel.
"I have seen the good and bad," Davis said. "They need more books; they need more support. It’s all about making sure my kids are ready when they go to another high school, and I'm worried about whether he is going to be ready for a different school."
Davis's concerns come days after the first community input session in response to the state attorney general’s office accusations. During the session, there were allegations that prior leadership didn’t provide educational resources comparable to Willow Creek Academy, a nearby charter school.
The district's Interim Superintendent Terena Mares said there are layers to how the school turned out, and stressed that segregation isn’t always intentional. But one way to desegregate, she said, is to create the kind of programs that families yearn for. Instead, Bayside has had cuts.
"Anything involving race, it's complicated," Mares said. "When you don’t have a rich diversity, you don’t have the opportunity to provide the kind of opportunity and exposure that might come in a diverse environment."
Many Bayside students are from public housing. The school makeup is about 50% African American, 30% Hispanic and other. Willow Creek is 40% white students and 60% minority.
Kurt Wiensheimer, with Willow Creek, says the school is diverse and wants a seat at the table as the district comes up with solutions.
"What is missing is that 80% of the kids here go to Willow Creek, which is a desegregated, integrated school," Wiensheimer said.
The state AG's Office declined to comment on what they said is an open investigation.