• A school with signs on lawn

      San Rafael Elementary School (Photo – ColoradoBlvd.net)

      It is time to place the San Rafael incident behind us, while addressing a few points and questions in its aftermath.

      By Editorial Board


      Before we address decisions made before, during, and after, the incident, a few facts need to be stated:

      San Rafael Elementary is a bilingual English/Spanish school. The neighborhood, predominately white, understands and is very aware of this fact.

      San Rafael Elementary data:
      (According to Ed-Data.org, 2020/2021)

      400 students:

      • Hispanic children: 293
      • White children: 60
      • Black children: 17


      Mistakes (intentional or unintentional) have been made on many fronts regarding this incident:

      The principal

      While Principal Ramirez should not have used inappropriate language, he was passionate in his initial reaction. The principal should not have cursed. Had he known he was being videotaped, his reactions might’ve been different. Everyone who is a parent will understand how one becomes a lion or lioness when it comes to one’s children. Although the principal used inappropriate language, the spotlight must remain on the whole picture rather a portion of it.

      Mayor Gordo

      Mayor Gordo’s letter added fuel to the fire. It was written under the guise of caring for the community. Its underlying tone suggested something else. Once again, the mayor, who has no jurisdiction over PUSD, inserts himself in the conversation under the false pretense of “caring for the community.”

      When it comes to PUSD, Gordo is never shy to mention his PUSD background at every stab he takes towards our public schools. Yet he places his two kids in private school.

      If the current mayor truly believes in PUSD, he should help with enrollment by enrolling his own kids at PUSD and send a positive message to the community.

      Pasadena Police

      If the police took the “suspicious intruder” call at face value (audio in this piece) and believed someone climbed the fence, they should have followed through and secured the premises. There could have been something dangerous in that backpack! The custodian they detained had not climbed the fence and, when questioned by officers, showed them his keys.

      A cynic might conclude the officers were relieved to have resolved the incident while dismissing the “white male or female with a backpack” factor as a “kid that probably wanted to smoke pot in privacy,” as one commenter suggested on social media.

      Bottom line

      The bottom line is the caller was justified in placing a call if he saw a person climbing the school’s fence with a backpack, regardless of the person’s race. Neighbors should be looking out for their neighborhoods.

      The focus on the principal’s reaction, coupled with the intentional release of a video and a badly written report by a security guard hired by PUSD, is being used to divert the attention on the real questions that should be asked.

      The mayor used the incident for political gain with the predominantly white community in the area. If he’s worried about the mayoral election in two years, he should be focusing on the Rose Bowl finances fiasco and its potential to bring the City of Pasadena to the verge of bankruptcy during his term.

      Pasadena Police detained a person who happened to be Hispanic, wearing his uniform and having a set of keys. There was no mention in the videos or transcripts of a follow up on whether someone else, identified by the neighbor as white, might have been on campus with a backpack.

      It’s time for the community at San Rafael to embrace PUSD as a great partner. We encourage the community to start sending their kids to a great school district with top-notch education that’s been targeted unfairly since the busing in the 70s and hurt by white flight to private schools.

      Pasadena Unified is constantly sending kids to elite and prominent colleges all over the country. The lower enrollment the school district gets, the less money, and fewer resources for ALL the kids. By enrolling your kids in San Rafael School, you help your neighborhood. Your kids will benefit from learning in a diverse environment that will shape their views for a better future of our country.


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      1. Gary Green says:

        Excellent summary. You point out that PPD apparently did nothing to investigate the original 911 call. But there are still unanswered questions about call. Did the officer(s) responding contact the person making the call and ask about the intruder? Did they search the area for someone who fit the description made by the caller? Did the school report anything missing? Mr. Ramirez did indeed over-react and has apologized. However, the community around the school needs to ask itself about how they could become more involved with, and supportive of the school.

      2. Liliana Caceres says:

        I personally know Mr. Ramírez and he is a great human being. He dies for his students, he is always there, at all times, working with parents, working with teachers, supporting the kids and always doing what needs to be done, all that forgetting the level and hierarchy of his position. I had the honor of seeing for years the same humble guy that he has always been. While I agree (with everyone, including him) that he shouldn’t have overreacted the way he did, shouldn’t have spoken the way he did, I understand his reaction was more of the same: passion for the Justice. Being there for someone when they are needed, no matter the day or time. I am truly disappointed in how this situation has escalated into politics. Be honest. Evaluate the man, the human being and look inside yourself asking yourself if you would not be really grateful that someone fought for you the way he did in such a situation. After all, who hasn’t lost his/her mind over something he/she considered unfair?

      3. Laura D says:

        Is there any reason to believe that the custodian who had keys, climbed the fence to get in? If not, then the neighbor either made it up or had taken leave of his senses.

        We, the community, must do better when we make phone calls to the police. We must be absolutely certain of what we are reporting and VERY careful in how we say things. Cops only have the information they are given.

      4. brad says:

        2/3rds of the students at PUSD’s San Rafael Elementary are below grade level in math. This Principal is a racist failure and it is a lie for you to say this school is “top-notch”. It’s a poorly performing bottom of the barrel mess.

        • Diego says:

          I get it. So easy to have a scapegoat and ignore the fact that an employee who was preparing the school for the children, in uniform and placed in handcuffs is no longer the focus!

        • pusd dad says:

          I think you are not considering the type of school it is. Its Spanish immersion. The kids are being instructed in a different language. It’s expected and has been shown that these kids will test below grade level the first few years because they are learning in a new language, but they soon catch up as they attain fluency. Also hispanic kids generally score lower on standardized tests no matter where they are taught and the school is about 75% hispanic. You can’t blame that on the school or the district. PUSD kids that come from homes that tend to produce kids that score higher on tests do score higher on tests.

        • Mo says:

          Not sure where you are getting this information Brad, but they over perform in both Math and English tests, the data is public and can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/3c9kwtba
          This school is anything but “bottom of the barrel”

      5. Christine Anita Yelich Roberts says:

        Excellent report. 👍🏽

      6. pusd dad says:

        I pretty much agree with everything written here. Underlying so much in the incident is the disconnect between wealthy areas and our public schools. It does not have to be that way. Gordo should have kept his mouth shut or made some kind of neutral comment instead of posturing like he did. The principal immediately apologized, and that should have been good enough for the mayor.

        • Robert H says:

          Again, just like in the earlier reporting on this site, the principals racist comments are dismissed. He specifically said “the nosy a** white neighbors”. On video. The fact that he didn’t know it was on video does not make the comments less racist. The fact that the school is a bilingual program does not make the comments less racist. If these comments were about ANY other racial group, this editorial board would be up in arms about these racist comments.

          • Xavi says:

            I’m not sure people are ignoring the comments but they are also aware that a personal and public apology has been made! Cast the stone, it will hit something eventually.

          • pusd dad says:

            He apologized. Why is that not good enough for you?

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