Williams et al. v. State of California et al.
(Superior Court, San Francisco)
|Facts: The Experiences of Plaintiff School Children
1. Luther Burbank Middle School in San Francisco
54. Plaintiffs Eliezer Williams, Olivia Saunders, Silas Moultrie, and Monique Mabutas attend Luther Burbank Middle School in San Francisco. At Luther Burbank, students cannot take textbooks home for homework in any core subject because their teachers have enough textbooks for use in class only. For example, a social studies teacher who teaches five separate social studies classes during one day has only one class set of social studies textbooks, so all five classes must share the same set of books. Some math, science, and other core classes do not have even enough textbooks for all the students in a single class to use during the school day, so some students must share the same one book during class time. In many classes in the school, textbooks are nine and more years out of date. For homework, students must take home photocopied pages, with no accompanying text for guidance or reference, when and if their teachers have enough paper to use to make homework copies. The school limits the number of copies teachers can make in any given week, so teachers cannot photocopy enough pages from textbooks for the students to have homework each school night. The social studies textbook Luther Burbank students use is so old that it does not reflect the breakup of the former Soviet Union. Textbooks are missing pages and covers after so many years of use in school.
55. Luther Burbank is infested with vermin and roaches and students routinely see mice in their classrooms. One dead rodent has remained, decomposing, in a corner in the gymnasium since the beginning of the school year.
56. The school library is rarely open, has no librarian, and has not recently been updated. The latest version of the encyclopedia in the library was published in approximately 1988.
57. Luther Burbank classrooms do not have computers. Computer instruction and research skills are not, therefore, part of Luther Burbank students' regular instruction in their core courses.
58. The school no longer offers any art classes for budgetary reasons. Without the art instruction, children have limited opportunities to learn space, volume, and linear logic concepts.
59. Two of the three bathrooms at Luther Burbank are locked all day, every day. The third bathroom is locked during lunch and other periods during the school day, so there are times during school when no bathroom at all is available for students to use. Students have urinated or defecated on themselves at school because they could not get into an unlocked bathroom. Other students have left school altogether to go home to use the restroom. When the bathrooms are not locked, they often lack toilet paper, soap, and paper towels, and the toilets frequently are clogged and overflowing.
60. Paint peels off walls in many classrooms and there is graffiti on classroom and other school walls. Ceiling tiles are missing and cracked in the school gym, and school children are afraid to play basketball and other games in the gym because they worry that more ceiling tiles will fall on them during their games.
61. The school has no air conditioning. On hot days classroom temperatures climb into the 90s. The school heating system does not work well. In winter, children often wear coats, hats, and gloves during class to keep warm.
62. Eleven of the 35 teachers at Luther Burbank have not yet obtained full, non-emergency teaching credentials, and 17 of the 35 teachers only began teaching at Luther Burbank this school year.
2. Bryant Elementary School in San Francisco
63. Plaintiffs Bianca Arriola, Bibiana Arriola, Carlos Ramirez, Richard Ramirez, and Ivanna Romero attend Bryant Elementary School in San Francisco. Bryant has no floor-to ceiling walls between classrooms. Instead, the school has thin, hollow, room dividers hanging from the ceiling, which provide little or no sound barriers between classes. Students can hear noise from other classes talking and learning during their own class instruction. Sometimes students in one class start to laugh at a joke told in another class; students in the first class hear the joke as clearly as do the students in the class in which the joke was told. The noise problem among classes also means that classes cannot have music or audio instruction in class because music and audio instruction would increase the noise level too greatly.
64. Teachers at Bryant are missing all or significant parts of their curriculum in many of the classes at school. One teacher did not receive her math curriculum materials until two months into the school year. Another teacher did not receive her math textbooks until February, in a school year that began in August. Another teacher still had not received half her district-mandated first-grade curriculum even after two thirds of the school year had been completed. Two fifth-grade teachers share 20 social studies textbooks among 37 students during the school day. Those teachers cannot both give homework on the same night because they are short 17 books for their students.
65. Many teachers at Bryant purchase basic supplies for their classrooms themselves, spending thousands of their own dollars, because the classes would otherwise go without the supplies. Teachers buy pencils, erasers, crayons, will have basic tools to use to learn. Last year, several teachers solicited donations of paper and pencils for the school from San Francisco businesses.
66. The air conditioning and heat do not work in many classrooms. On hot days, students feel faint or sleepy because their classroom temperatures reach well above 80 degrees. In the computer lab at the school, temperatures have reached 92 degrees this year. Teachers have to spray students with water to keep them cool during spring, summer, and fall. Some teachers take their classes outside to learn because the temperature is cooler outside. On cool days, students wear coats and mittens inside to keep warm. Some students keep jackets on inside but then take their jackets off when they go outside to play because the outdoors is warmer than their classrooms.
67. The school has no nurse. Children whose health is compromised by school temperature and noise conditions and other conditions that affect children's ability to learn have no one to whom to turn at school for assistance in identifying and rectifying the problems.
68. Water at the school is unsafe for drinking. Many children bring bottled water to class, and the principal has recommended that teachers flush the pipes every day by running water for a full minute in the morning.
3. Wendell Helms Middle School in San Pablo
69. Plaintiffs Moises Canel, Magaly de Loza, Yeimi Alba, Arturo Escutia, and Edgardo Solano attend Wendell Helms Middle School in San Pablo. Helms does not have enough textbooks for all the students in the school. One algebra class has no books at all-not even books for students to use in class. The students must use class time to copy problems into their notebooks from the blackboard. And students must rely on notes they took in class for instruction on how to do their math problems because they have no books anywhere to which they can refer for clarification. In science and history classes for which the school does have books, there are not enough books for students to take home for homework, so students may use books only during class time in school. Several students at Helms compare the school to the schools they used to attend when they lived in Mexico, and the students are surprised that in the United States students do not have books to take home and safe places to learn, as the students had when they lived in Mexico.
70. Ceiling tiles at Helms are cracked and falling off, and the school roof leaks in the rain. Students worry that they will be hit with falling tiles when they enter the library and other areas of the school. Students sometimes cannot use the gym on rainy days because the leaks cause dangerous puddles on the gym floor.
71. The school only has one functioning science lab that all science classes in the school must share. As a result, many students rarely if ever have the opportunity to conduct experiments in science class.
72. Toilets often do not work in the school bathrooms. And the bathrooms regularly are strewn with used condoms, cigarette butts, and empty liquor bottles. Most of the stalls in the boys' bathrooms are missing doors. The bathrooms only rarely have soap or toilet paper or paper towels. Students fear for their safety at school because acts of violence regularly occur unchecked at Helms. One student was raped behind the school during this school year, and since then many girls are reluctant to go to school at all.
73. Eighteen of the 59 teachers at Helms lack full, non-emergency teaching credentials. Nineteen of the 59 teachers at Helms have only begun teaching at the school this school year. Of the 41 credentialed teachers, 15 have fewer than four years' teaching experience.
4. John F. Kennedy High School in Richmond
74. Plaintiffs Laurel and Romana Clemons attend John F. Kennedy High School in Richmond. Students in many classes at Kennedy-including advanced-placement physics, advanced-placement English, geometry, and algebra-have not had a formal, long-term teacher for the entire year. Instead, students in these classes have studied under a series of substitutes, some of whom stayed for periods as short as one day. Students in these classes have had no consistency and little instruction. Nevertheless, these students have faced and must face standardized testing, even though they lack preparatory instruction. All the students in one advanced-placement English class have declined to take the advanced placement test this year because they feel unprepared for the test after having had no permanent English teacher for two consecutive years.
75. Thirty-seven of the 51 teachers at Kennedy are new to the teaching profession and have had no prior classroom experience.
76. Kennedy does not have enough books for all students in the school. The school still has not received textbooks that school officials ordered in September 1999. No student in any World History class has had a textbook all year.
5. Stonehurst Elementary School in Oakland
77. Plaintiffs Justin Sessions, Joshua Sessions, Vincent Pulido, and Kiandra Pulido attend Stonehurst Elementary School in Oakland. At Stonehurst, one class permanently takes instruction on the auditorium stage, while music lessons-complete with trumpets, clarinets, flutes, and violins-or school assemblies or other noisy activities take place simultaneously in the same auditorium. Students in the class on the stage cannot hear their teacher or have quiet instruction at virtually any time they are in school. The students who try to learn on the auditorium stage begin their school day at 8:30 AM and leave at 2:45 PM, but from 9:00 AM until 1:30 PM every Tuesday and Thursday, music lessons ran continuously in the same auditorium space. When school assemblies take place in the auditorium, the assemblies must repeat three times because the auditorium is too small to hold all the Stonehurst students at one time. If the students on the stage go out for their recess between assembly performances, they cannot return to their class space on the stage until after the assembly performance has completed because the students would disrupt the performance if they walked to their-class space on the stage.
78. Another class at the school was rained out of its classroom in January 2000 and has not since taken instruction in an adequate class space. The roof in the class's original classroom had leaked for years without complete repair, and then one day in January the roof leaked so badly that one third of the classroom was soaked in water, and the students had to move permanently out of the room because the fungus and mold growing from the years of leaking precluded students' return to the room. Since that time, students in the class have moved four times and have not yet been placed in a class space adequate for learning. The students have taken instruction in an open library space where other people walked in and out throughout the school day, making it difficult for the students to concentrate, and where the students could not see their teacher because their space was so small that the teacher had no place to locate her desk except out of the students' eye sight. The students next took instruction in the same auditorium where another class occupied the stage and school music lessons and assemblies occupied other portions of the auditorium, so the students could neither hear nor concentrate. Finally the students have displaced a special-education class to take instruction in a portable classroom designed to hold eight special-education students, not 30 fourth- and fifth-grade students. The portable classroom has only approximately 750 square feet, so the students are sardined together in a class that has no room for many of the learning tools, such as a skeleton body, the students once had in their classroom when they were located in a full-sized room. The special-education class that used to meet in the portable now shares space with another special-education class, which means that now 16 special education students must try to learn together in a space designed to hold only eight of the students.
79. Approximately half of the teachers at Stonehurst lack full, non-emergency teaching credentials. In addition, 23 of the 37 teachers at the school have taught at Stonehurst for fewer than three years.
80. Some classes do not have enough books for all the students to use in class, much less to be able to take home for homework slows down class instruction. Students have to share books during class, which slows down class instruction.
81. In some areas of the school, no full walls divide as many as six classrooms from each other. Instead of walls, the school uses bookshelves that reach approximately five or six feet high underneath a nine- or ten-foot ceiling, allowing sound to travel over the shelves into other classrooms. Children in each class compete to be heard over the din of children learning and talking in five other classes.
82.There are not enough toilets at the school to accommodate all the children. At least one bathroom at the school remains locked each and every day, so students have even fewer toilets they can use becausd'they cannot access that bathroom.
6. Burbank Elementary School in Oakland
83. Plaintiff Marcelis Gascie attends Burbank Elementary School in Oakland. At Burbank, classrooms are uncomfortably hot because some classrooms have no air conditioning and inside temperatures reach 80 degrees and above. Children have trouble breathing in. school, and the heat degrades their concentration and ability to learn.
84. Portable classrooms located on the playground have quiet instruction only for two to three hours each day, during times when other children do not have recess, lunch, or physical education instruction directly outside the portable classroom doors.
85. Some classes have no textbooks for children to take home.
86. None of the portable classrooms is wired for Internet access. New computers donated a year ago by Oracle corporation remain in boxes because the portable classrooms cannot use the computers without upgraded wiring. Children in portable classrooms therefore cannot learn simple computer skills or research school projects on the Internet.
87. Burbank has no school nurse. School children who are injured or made ill by noise, temperature, or other unhealthful school conditions must either try to -continue learning in spite of their illnesses or leave school.
7. Edison-McNair Academy in East Palo Alto
88. Plaintiffs Candelaria. Santos and Carlos Santos attend Edison-McNair Academy East Palo Alto. At Edison-McNair, 75 percent of the teachers lack full, non-emergency teaching credentials. In addition, 70 percent of the students who attend Edison-McNair are still learning the English language, so these students have special educational needs for which teachers require, but do not have, additional training.
8. Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto
89. Plaintiffs Jose Gomez, Kristal Monje Ruiz, Myra Monje Ruiz, Sandra Hernandez, and Nadia Angelica. Hernandez attend Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto. At Cesar Chavez, 57 percent of the teachers lack full, non-emergency teaching credentials, and 76 percent of the students are still learning the English language. Parents worry that the school does not have enough teachers who are prepared to teach children who are not fluent English speakers, but the school does not provide teachers who have obtained even mini teaching qualifications, much less specialized qualifications to teach English language learners.
90. The school also does not provide enough textbooks for students to take home for homework. Some classes do not have textbooks at all, and some classes have too few textbooks for all students to use without sharing during class.
91. Many classroom lights do not work and some classrooms have broken glass in the windows. The school does not have air conditioning, and temperatures become very hot in late spring and early fall.
92. The school has no nurse. When a child is hurt in an accident, the school calls 911. Parents then have to pay for ambulance and hospital care for children whose needs a school nurse could competently have attended.
9. Morris E. Dailey Elementary School in Fresno
93. Plaintiffs Maria Imperatrice, Catherine Fipps, Jason Fipps, and Axel Fipps attend Morris E. Dailey Elementary School in Fresno. At Dailey, students do not have books they can take home for homework. The teachers are supplied only 500 sheets of paper per month to use to make copies, so teachers do not have enough paper to-make copies for children to take home homework every night. In addition to missing books and copy paper, classes also are missing basic supplies such as pencils and erasers. Parents buy such supplies, including paper, for the school so their children will not lack basic learning tools.
94. One of the school bathrooms is locked all day, every day, so there are not enough open bathrooms available for children's use. Children have urinated or defecated on themselves at school because toilets were locked when they needed to use the restroom.
95. Classroom temperatures fluctuate between very cold and very hot, depending on temperatures outside. Classrooms do not have functioning air conditioning and heating systems.
96. The school is so overcrowded that children must go to recess in shifts, and their recess time must be shortened accordingly.
97. Some school classrooms are too small to accommodate all the students in them. Students complain that they must squeeze by each other's desks, and their teachers cannot divide the classes into separate learning groups because the rooms lack sufficient space for students to spread out.
10. Brightwood Elementary School in Monterey Park
98. Plaintiffs Kelsey Gin and Alexander Nobori attend Brightwood Elementary School in Monterey Park. At Brightwood, many classrooms have no air conditioning. For one third of the school year, classroom temperatures in the rooms without air conditioning become extremely hot, reaching as high as 110 degrees.
99. The school does not have enough books for all the students. In one science class, the teacher had no science books at the beginning of the year and now has only approximately ten books for his class of more than 30 students. The history books in use at the school still name George Bush as the current President of the United States.
100. Bathrooms at the school are filthy and students are reluctant to use them. Students must choose: concentrate on their bladders instead of their studies or face health risks by using school restrooms.
11. Mark Keppel High School in Alhambra
101. Plaintiffs Bichngoc Cao, Kenny Yee, Tiffany Gin, John Nobori, and Nicholas Nobori attend Mark Keppel High School in Alhambra. Mark Keppel has only one science lab room that approximately 2,100 students must share. As many as ten science classes must rotate into the lab room in any one year, so students must either -forgo lab work or wait for their less than-once-weekly opportunity to use the lab. Instead of receiving the free public education to which children in California are constitutionally entitled, students at Mark Keppel must pay a lab fee for science instruction.
102. The economic textbook in use at Mark Keppel was last updated in 1986, so students study Reaganomics but no more recent economic theories. An advanced-placement literature text used at the school was last updated in the 1960s. The school does not have enough novels and short-story collections for all English courses at the same level to use the same books at the same time. Instead, students in one class must lose instructional time waiting until students in another class finish a book before students in the first class may begin reading the book.
103. Gym ceiling tiles are missing and fall when students are playing sports or attending school dances in the gym. Approximately one third of the seats in the auditorium are missing, so students have to stand during school assemblies.
1 04. Mark Keppel does not have enough bathrooms to accommodate all the students at the school. In the boys bathroom in the main building, none of the stalls has a door. There are only approximately 15 stalls for boys and 23 stalls for girls in the entire school. Overcrowding at Mark Keppel is so severe that the school does not have enough space for all students to sit down during lunch period and does not have an indoor space in which the whole school can gather for assemblies.
105. The Mark Keppel computer lab is equipped with computers that are obsolete by ten years and that cannot be wired to access the Internet. The electrical wiring at the school is too old to power the computers without short circuiting, so computers regularly crash. Power outages occur so frequently in the business wing of the school that students in computer classes often have only 12 minutes of instruction instead of the usual 52 minutes.
106. Temperatures have reached as high as 120 degrees in metal shed. Temperatures in other classrooms regularly reach as high as 90 degrees.
12. Cahuenga Elementary School in Los Angeles
107. Plaintiffs Oscar Ruiz, Josue Herrera, Abraham Perez, Carlos Perez, Juan Salguero, Graciela Solano, and Rafael Solano attend Cahuenga Elementary School in Los Angeles; Plaintiff Jonathan Tellechea resides in the Cahuenga Elementary School area but is bused to another school because Cahuenga has no room for him; Plaintiff Samuel Tellechea also resides in the Cahuenga Elementary School area and will either attend Cahuenga or be bused to another school when he begins school next year. At Cahuenga, overcrowding is so severe that the school has resorted to a three-track schedule for student attendance, such that two tracks of students attend school at any given time. The multitrack scheduling means that no school time exists during which no students attend school, so it is difficult for the school to perform. maintenance and repair without impeding children's education. In addition, the school houses approximately 1297 students, but another 1300 elementary school children. are bused to schools in other neighborhoods every day because Cahuenga has no room for them.
108. Children at Cahuenga have no books to take home and are missing many school supplies. Parents have purchased crayons, glue, scissors, and pencils to provide the school so their children may have supplies to use to learn.
109. At Cahuenga, 83.7 percent of the students are still learning the English language, but 28 of the 65 teachers at the school lack full, nonemergency teaching credentials. That means that 43 percent of teachers at the school lack training to teach any children, much less special training to teach children who need English language instruction.
110. The school does not have enough bathrooms available to the children. Two of the school's three sets of bathrooms are almost always closed so the children cannot go inside. The bathroom that is most often open to children is filthy and lacks toilet paper and soap.
111. The cafeteria area where children eat is filthy. Parents have seen custodial staff wipe the tables with mops the custodians have used to clean the floors.
13. Berendo Middle School in Los Angeles
112. Plaintiffs Jose Negrete, Jose Valencia, and Hanover Mares attend Berendo Middle School in Los Angeles. At Berendo, students watch movies instead of receiving instruction in some of their classes. Some students have seen 20 or more noneducational movies in school this year, including The Blair Witch Project, Scream, and The Sixth Sense.
113. Students do not have textbooks for many of their classes. In some English and history classes, students have no books at all, not even books to use in class. Some students take instruction in only one class math for which they use a textbook.
114. The school library has been closed for the past two months, so students have no access to library books.
14. George Washington Carver Middle School in Los Angeles
115. Plaintiffs Daniel Pastor and Francisco Tenorio attend George Washington Carver Middle School in Los Angeles. At Carver, students have to share books with each other in class because teachers do not even have one full class set of books.
116. Students have seen rats, in several classrooms during class sessions.
117. School computers cannot access the Internet. Students can only use the computers word processing, but they cannot do any computer-based research.
15. Daniel Webster Middle School in Los Angeles
118. Plaintiff Flor Osorio attends Daniel Webster Middle School in Los Angeles. At Daniel Webster many students do not have sufficient books to use in class or take home, particularly in science classes. Some students have not had science homework in two years because of the shortage of books.
119. The school does not have enough bathrooms for the students' use. Two of the bathrooms at the school are locked every day all day, so students cannot use them. The girls' bathrooms that are open are generally filthy and smell foul.
16. Thomas Jefferson Senior High School in Los Angeles
120. Plaintiffs Sonia Felix, Abraham Osuna, Lisa Lopez, Lluliana Alonso, Altagracia Garcia, Maria Perez, and Fabiola Tostado attend Thomas Jefferson Senior High School in Los Angeles. At Jefferson, students do not have desks at which to sit in some classes. Instead, students sit on counters or stand in the back of the room, where they have difficulty seeing their teachers and the blackboard.
121. Some classes at the school have no teacher at all. In one class, the teacher called in sick for five or six consecutive weeks this year, and students in the class wandered around the school during that period because they had no formal class, while the teacher was absent. Many students take classes taught by a series of substitutes rather than by a permanent teacher hired for the class.
122. The school does not offer enough courses for all the students, so many students spend one or two periods each day in "service" classes because neither academic classes nor study halls are available to the students. During "service" class periods, students try to find classrooms where teachers will allow "service" class students to sit quietly in the back of the room and do nothing, or students go to the main office and ask to run errands.
123. Students have no books to take home for homework in most of their classes, and in many of their classes, students either lack books altogether or have to share books with other students. In one math class, students waited a whole semester before they had books to use in class. In one graphic arts class, three or four students share one book in class. Students in five different classes must share one set of 30 Spanish textbooks.
124. The copy machine at school is often broken, so teachers have to shift lesson plans or forgo assigning homework because teachers cannot have text material copied for the students.
125. Even if the copy machine were not broken, teachers are allowed to make only a limited number of copies, so the teachers cannot copy enough pages to assign homework every night to all their students.
126. Students at the school must pay for their own educational materials. In one advanced-placement English class, students had to buy their own test primer. In an advertising design class, students paid for notebooks and special paint they were required to have in class.
127. Students at Jefferson cannot take field trips unless their teachers or the students pay for the field trips themselves. The school provides only one bus for field trips per department, but all classes in a single department could not all fit on one bus. A history teacher who elects to take two of his history classes on a field trip must then arrange to have substitute
teachers cover the history teacher's other classes, and the teacher must pay for gas and an additional bus to transport the students out of the teacher's own pocket.
128. The school divides students into three separate tracks, with two tracks at school at any given time. Jefferson students receive approximately 20 fewer school days of instruction
each year than do students who do not attend multitrack schools. Students cover less material in their classes than they would cover if they attended school for more days because teachers cannot make up the missed days with extra homework.
129. Course offerings at the school are so limited that students either are foreclosed from taking certain courses or must choose between academic rigor and extracurricular involvement. Some students who took French during their ninth grade year were not able to continue with French instruction during the following year because Jefferson did not offer second-year French. In addition, students who take advanced-placement courses cannot become involved in extracurricular school activities, such as student government or athletics. Some advanced-placement courses are offered only during the end of the school day, at the same time
that extracurricular activities are offered.
130. Jefferson does not have enough bathrooms for all the students at the school. It has approximately four bathrooms for girls and three bathrooms for boys, but only two girls' and two boys' bathrooms are regularly unlocked and open. Often bathrooms lack toilet paper, soap, and
paper towels. In the girls' bathrooms, many of the stall doors are broken, so students have to hold doors closed for each other to ensure privacy.
131. The school only has one college counselor to serve the entire school. Students must compete for the counselor's time when planning their future education and goals.
17. Lynwood Middle School in Lynwood
132. Plaintiffs Monique Treviflo and Marlene Funes attend Lynwood Middle School in Lynwood. At Lynwood, students in most of the classes cannot take textbooks home for homework. And the books the school has for in-class use are old, have graffiti on them, and are missing many pages. Students complain that when their teachers tell them to turn to particular pages in the books, the students cannot turn to the pages because the pages are missing from the books.
133. The school assigns teachers only one ream of paper each week. Teachers therefore must select which days to give homework because they do not have enough paper to photocopy pages from the textbooks for students to take home for homework every night.
134. The school does not have enough bathrooms for the students' use. Two of the three bathrooms at the school are locked every day all day, so students cannot use them. In the only girls' bathroom available for student use, one of the six toilets has been broken all year.
18. Daniel Freeman Elementary School in Inglewood
135. Plaintiff Remington Castille attends Daniel Freeman Elementary School in Inglewood. At Daniel Freeman, students in many classes do not have textbooks to take home or to use in class. Students in one math class have not yet received textbooks, although only a few weeks remain in the school year.
136. Fully half the teachers in the school do not have full, nonernergency teaching credentials.
B. The Experiences of School Children Statewide
137. More than one in every ten California public school classrooms are staffed by teachers who have not yet obtained full, nonemergency teaching credentials. In at least 100 California public schools, fewer than half of the teachers have full, nonemergency teaching credentials.