LCUSD: Lawsuit by Students Alleging Racism ‘Resolved’

A lawsuit filed by the families of four former La Cañada High School students last year alleging racial discrimination on the part of La Cañada Unified School District, site administration and an LCHS teacher in relation to an alleged student cheating incident has been resolved, LCUSD Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said in a statement Wednesday.
“There was no monetary settlement provided by the district or its representative agencies in this matter,” Sinnette said.
The lawsuit, filed in September 2019, was related to discipline issued regarding an alleged coordinated cheating effort on a test in an Advanced Placement European history class in October 2018. In the civil complaint that was obtained by The Outlook and is public record, four students and their guardians accused LCHS’ principal and a history teacher of helping enact a “covert and systemic policy of discrimination against Korean students.” The student plaintiffs received zeros as discipline and were required to essentially drop the class after it was claimed that they cheated on the test.
LCUSD said that as part of resolving the lawsuit, each of the four students signed a document that effectively retracts and denies all claims of racism by any LCUSD employees.
According to the statement by Sinnette, each student signed the following: “I was involved in cheating on the Advanced Placement European History examination in October of 2018. I thereafter filed this lawsuit, alleging disparate treatment to me based upon my Korean-American ethnicity. I retract and deny all claims of racism, discrimination or other disparate treatment by any LCUSD employee and apologize for any inconvenience or embarrassment caused by such false accusation.”
Phone calls to the plaintiffs’ attorney, Andrea M. Tytell, who initially filed the complaint for unspecified damages and a request for a jury trial, were not returned to The Outlook by its press time on Wednesday.
“Since the lawsuit was filed, LCUSD has resolutely maintained that there was absolutely no racial discrimination or inappropriate actions of any kind by its administrators or teacher,” Sinnette said. “LCUSD administration vows to continue in their comprehensive efforts, working with our students across all grade levels, teachers, staff and families, to promote and ensure academic integrity throughout the district.
“LCUSD commits to continue to engage and enforce standards for academic honesty which are fair and practicable and which promote our district’s beliefs in natural consequences and restorative justice,” Sinnette continued in the statement, which was emailed to the LCUSD community. “Cheating and academic dishonesty are not reflective of the ethical characteristics that we strive to foster and support within our students. Together we remain united in our approach to create and maintain the climate of care which ensures the sanctity of authentic teaching and learning in our academic environments.”

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