Silencing Parents

Parent Engagement Continues To Be Pushed Aside In Country’s Second Largest School District

The majority supported by charter schools on LAUSD’s Board continues to block reinstatement of Parent Engagement and Special Ed Committees.

Carl J. Petersen
4 min readJan 27, 2021

“It is irresponsible for the board president to state in her official website that one of the issues she is working on is ‘Engaging Parents and Families’ and at the same time deny parents the opportunity to participate in the process”

- LAUSD Candidate Marvin Rodriguez

As the COVID-19 shutdown of school facilities rapidly approaches its first anniversary, increasing numbers of parents are getting restless. The crisis has exposed the deep technological divides between different areas of the district and exacerbated the educational inequities between rich and poor. Even the best efforts of the most dedicated teacher cannot undo decades of neglecting infrastructure. The crisis has prevented many children with special education needs from receiving the services that they are entitled to, causing some students to regress. Frustrated that their concerns are not being addressed, some parents have sued the district demanding that the district ignore the obvious risks and reopen classrooms before the health threat has subsided.

Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

An ongoing dialog between parents and the district could have prevented this antagonism. Instead, Superintendent Beutner, who has no professional experience in education, pontificated to parents, telling them how the LAUSD would provide services during the crisis. These were often based on Beutner’s will to push his ideology and lacked any connection to real-world conditions. Had the district actually listened, they would have known that parents wanted to be assured that there were already plans in place for after the crisis was over to help children who had lost ground. Without this assurance, they were forced into the courtroom.



Carl J. Petersen

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children.