Friday, December 04, 2009

Another racial profiling incident at Green Dot Public [sic] Schools?

"There are people who think, 'The school is too black, the school is too Mexican,' and all of a sudden you see a lot of ugly things about people. Prejudice still exists. For a lot of people, that's a very uncomfortable zone." -- Robyn Ritter Simon (quoted in "Healing the World, One School at a Time")

Marco Petruzzi. Stand up to Green Dot's corporate charter-voucher racism
Rev. K. W. Tulloss. Stand up to Green Dot's corporate charter-voucher racism
Wall Street privatization darling Marco Petruzzi (above) leads a beleaguered Green Dot through charges of racism, embezzlement, and now assault. Rev. Tulloss (below) faces a dilemna.

Beleaguered Green Dot and proxy group LAPU/PR have been getting a great deal of press lately. Whether we're discussing the malfeasance of Steve Barr pocketing a cool $51,000, and then having to pay it back when caught, to LAPU/PR's discriminatory organizing tactics on the west side, past incidents of staff violence towards students, or the new UCLA study just released revealing charter schools like Green Dot violate civil rights, foster racial isolation, and exacerbate segregation, there's an overwhelming amount of information finally revealing what Green Dot Public [sic] Schools is really about -- profit and profiling.

I've been researching a Green Dot story from rumors I heard about a week ago that has been covered up for weeks. As part of my research, I had to contact the parties involved. This made me realize that if the story is true, then Green Dot would have a chance to spin the incident before the truth came out. I've decided to share my letter exposing the rumor to LAUSD, and another letter I wrote to one of the parties involved in order to keep Green Dot Public Schools from trying to cover this ugly situation up. I'll be following up on this post and the subsequent story shortly.

Ms. LaMotte and staff:

Something has come to my attention that I think you should know about. Feel free to share it with anyone you want.

Several social justice minded people have contacted me regarding some Locke parents who witnessed an incident with Locke's security three of four Fridays ago following the football game. Ironically, the incident involved one of Green Dot's most ardent supporters, Rev. K. W. Tulloss.

From what I've been able to piece together from various sources, Locke security had detained one of Rev. Tulloss' relatives. Rev. Tulloss and his mother approached security who then roughed up and handcuffed his mother, while threatening to use a taser on Rev. Tulloss if he interfered.

Clearly this is yet another incident of racial profiling perpetrated by Green Dot's outsourced security thugs, we have all heard about students being pepper sprayed earlier this year. From Kenneth Libby and Dr. Danny Weil's recent article: "A major assumption lies behind this praise of order, discipline, and security: militarized environments are acceptable – even necessary – for urban youth, particularly youth of color.  At a recent event, high-level Green Dot employees revealed the Locke school operated with a $1.2 million security budget in its first year, employing subcontracted security guards armed with handguns and pepper spray.[5] The charter chain hopes to reduce security expenditures to a mere half a million dollars within the next few years." --

I think that sums up everything that needs to be said about Green Dot's view of our communities and people of color.

Why Rev. Tulloss hasn't gone public with this is beyond me. I wrote him and he responded "Mr. Skeels thank you for the email of concern." I'm also shocked this hasn't made the front page of the Daily News or Los Angeles Times, but given both those papers' ideological attachment to charters, it's understandable they wouldn't want to publish such an incendiary story, especially on the heels of the recent UCLA study on charter school racism. If Green Dot and its racist security represents the best of corporate CMO charter-voucher schools, then we need to fight even harder against this current wave of privatization.

I'm writing a story about the incident, despite limited information. I have left a message with Locke's principal requesting an interview and have done the same with Rev. Tulloss. While it is doubtful either will do so, it is at least worth the attempt.

I'll be happy if I learn this entire story is just a rumor or a misunderstanding. All of the people who contacted me demanded anonymity, and said Locke has threatened expulsion of any student talking about it. This makes it hard for me to write an article with quotes and references. However, my years of research into Green Dot lead me to feel the story is entirely genuine and needs investigating.

In closing I want to thank you Ms. LaMotte for your courageous defense of our communities, children, and schools.

In struggle and solidarity

Robert D. Skeels

My note to Rev. K. W. Tulloss

Requesting an interview regarding the recent Locke incident

Rev. Tulloss

I've written you in the past about my concerns for your enthusiastic support of the reactionary, and frankly racist organization Green Dot and it's proxy group LAPU/PR. I understand you choose to ignore my concerns, as that is your prerogative.

Imagine my shock, however, when several social justice minded parents informed me of the horribly racist incident involving Locke security attacking you and your family. Although the details are sketchy since only a handful of people witnessed the incident, it's clear the thuggish, racist, outsourced security at Green Dot's Locke has added another incident to their list of egregious treatment towards people of color.

I've called Locke's principal and left a message to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. I am writing you for the same reason, to get your side of the story before my article gets published. I've also notified my friend Ms. LaMotte of LAUSD that I'm working on this story and provided her with an outline of what I know.

You can contact me at

In solidarity

Robert D. Skeels



Anonymous said...

considering how much violence there are at many LAUSD schools, should your readers assume that you condone violence against minorities considering you don't write against it? Would you prefer Locke return to being one of the most violent schools in all of LAUSD. Do you value your ideology over the wellness ofthese students? Did you prefer when Locke had such a higher dropout rate? What exactly is your ideology called? It seems to support violence and crappy schools for students of color. It reminds me of something out of the deep South 1950s.

Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene said...

I'm sorry anonymous, are you trying to excuse Green Dot's corporate and institutional racism by making vague and specious accusations towards me? Are you justifying the racial profiling and beatings doled out by the vicious paramilitary security Green Dot employs at Locke? It doesn't bother you that the wealthy white males running Green Dot are so unconcerned about civil rights that they've created a cover up of this incident?

By the way, all the statistics and empirical evidence show that corporate charter-voucher schools are about "violence and crappy schools for students of color." I certainly don't support either of those features in LAUSD either, which is why I've been at countless protests at schools and LAUSD as well. Maybe next time you'll have the courage to use your real name in these comments, and come out and protest the budget cuts, which are the impetus for much of these issues.

My ideology is called people before profits. We would prefer Locke be a fully funded public school run by the community and kept safe by those two things.

Enjoy serving your corporate masters.

avalonsensei said...

There is so much we don't hear about what happens behind the closed doors of Green Dot schools. My former students have mentioned incidents that would not be allowed to occur such as kicking out a student for not ratting his schoolmates out when he was a witness to a fight that took place off campus. He was a straight A student and the parent was devastated. Or the principal at another school who, to teach a student a lesson, took his cell phone away, began throwing it in the air saying "I hope I don't drop it! I hope I don't drop it!" Then dropped it.

Of course there are problems in LAUSD schools; there are in all schools. The difference is we don't conceal our problems, because by law there is data on suspensions, opportunity transfers, graduation rates, teacher turnover, and it is all available to the public.

No one wants to take on Green Dot. I am glad you are not scared to ask questions. We, the public, have a right to know.

Unknown said...

Several years ago I worked on a research project on school safety that included the perspective that students deserve to be safe from law enforcement and security as well as safe from other young people. We focused on Locke (pre-Green Dot), Jordan, and Crenshaw. The incident you described was typical of events that were rampant across these schools. Without excusing Green Dot for further militarizing the school, this is not a charter school problem. It's an inner-city school problem and needs to be looked at as such. Don't give LAUSD a pass, this incident was not unusual compared to what happened at Locke before Green Dot.

Anonymous said...

If Rev. K.W. Tulloss thst young activist in the city was harrased by Green Dot you best to believed he would had came forward. I been a fan of that young guy for a long time. He's on point and not someone you bother. He works for Rev. Sharpton and he has that same passion for people. I can't see no one threaten that brother. I will call his church in Boyle Heights. Has anybody tried calling his office. I'm curious what happen!

Gabby, Los Angeles

Anonymous said...

The FACT is that Rev Tulloss 29 year old sister had pushed a minor a female Locke High School Student down to the ground... The mother of the 29 year old adult woman who is Ms. Tulloss the Rev Tulloss mother was upset because her 29 year adult daughter was being held in the back seat of a security patrol car. Ms. Tulloss pushed one of the female school security officers trying to gain access to the security patrol car in were her adult daughter was being held for questioning about assaulting a minor who was a Locke High School student. Ms. Tulloss the mother Rev Tulloss was cussing and making racial slurs against a Hispanic security female Officers. Mr. Rev Tulloss join in and started to cuss and use racial slurs against the Hispanic female security officers. I wonder does Mr. Al Sharpton know he got a so called Reverend Representative in Los Angeles for the Action Network making racial slurs against Hispanic people. Charges my still be filed against Ms. Tulloss due to the fact that a physical mark was left on the face of the female Hispanic security officers at the hands of Ms. Tulloss.

Anonymous said...

The security at Locke High School has a good relationship with students, parents and staff. Ask any student that stays out of trouble they will tell you that they love the new security at Locke High School no more gang fights etc... Students walk around the campus and they feel safe. And all of this non-sense about the security being racist how is that when the company is own by a minority business owner and 80% of the security officers are African American who grew up in the community and understands the youth that attend Locke High School and 10% of the security officers who is Hispanic and the other 10% is other. Go check with LAPD file on the arrest that is made by police/ or security at Locke High School it is very low. The additional security training that the security officers receive is in at-risk/high risk Intervention and Prevention levels first and if that fails suppression is the last result.

The school security stays out front of the school until ever student is picked up from in front of the school as late as 7 PM at night and if a student ride does not come and pick the student up. The Chief of security gives security officers permission to give students rides home so they don’t have to walk home at night in gang infested territory.

LAUSD has armed police officers and security officers that carry pepper spray hand cuffs etc...And I don't hear anybody complaining about that. Green Dot did what LAUSD failed to do and that is first make the school a safe place for students to learn. How can students learn at school if there are afraid to come to school?

Anonymous said...

Most students will tell you that it’s after school were gangs try to come up to the school to try and do harm to students going home from school and that’s why you see lots of armed police and security officers present after school. The high level of security is not for the suppression of students but it’s for the suppression of gang related violence and gang activity that plague our schools and communities. Don’t judge Green Dot who is trying and is making a difference.

When the community in where these students come from change then you want have the need for high level of security. If LAUSD stop having a big drop out rate which is a recruiting magnet for the streets gangs, then that would help curve some of the gang violence because with more kids staying in school. The membership for gangs will go on the decline. When a students drops out of school what do you think he or she do for money? The only people that embrace these young people are the gangs they will take them because the school system has failed them.

Anonymous said...

How can you pass judgment? On the school security without gathering all the FACTS firsts there is two sides to every story and it seem like some people have their own personal agenda that has nothing to do with the well being of our youth within the urban community. If Green dot or their security was so bad you would have bus loads of parents and student running down to the LAUSD board of education protesting. But you don’t what you do have is some people who is Jealous of the success that Green Dot is having and what Green Dot did in one year these so-called community leaders and LAUSD could not do in 50 years. And first safety of students and staff is important and second to improve student’s grades is very important. So in 2009-2010 will be a goal to improve the test scores but don’t expect for the grades to improve over night. These kids come to high school not being able to read nor comprehend what they can read that is not Green Dot fault. That’s the failing school system that allowed students to fall through the cracks and wonder why these young people act out and is always getting into trouble. It’s because they try to hide the fact that they don’t understand the work so it’s easier to ditch class or be the class clown or be defiant then to face embarrassment from their peers. You all need to wake up and be apart of the solution and not apart of the problem. Any body can be on the side line looking in from the out side but STOP talking and start being about action and not lip services.

avalonsensei said...

@Sean Quite aware of such incidents after 20+ years teaching in South Central. What I was trying to convey is that the bringing incidents like these to light is more likely to happen in LAUSD schools. If a teacher speaks against these, we have a union to back us up. There's data we have to submit to the district that is published on the web. You are right; these incidents are not confined to charter schools; my concern is that to add insult to injury, they can be concealed with greater ease at GD schools.

BTW on behalf of teachers everywhere, we thank you for your actions this year with the hunger strike. You should consider running for UTLA leadership.

Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene said...


I'm in total agreement with you that this is a poverty issue, and not solely a Green Dot issue. I'm also painfully aware that this same thing occurs in traditional public schools as well. That said, Green Dot Public [sic] Schools claims they've solved all these issues, and Arne Duncan went as far as to say that they've "cracked the code." They, like KIPP and all these other filthy, greedy, reactionaries have decided poverty is easily overcome by their meritocracy fantasies. I'm not buying it.

My intention is to show that as a private institution they can get away with just about anything and no one is the wiser. I'm not giving LAUSD a pass on this at all. We both want community run schools, I'm no fan of bureaucrats either. Ben Austin is the one who creates a false dichotomy that either LAUSD or privatization are our choices. We know the later is far worse because of the proven failures of market driven solutions, and the former can be replace by democratically run public institutions. I think Alex's response to this same topic in a different forum was far better than anything I could write.

Since the new boss is motivated by profit and market share alone, I'd modify the Who lyric to say, "meet the new boss, slightly more evil than the old boss." Petruzzi, Barr, and Austin are laughing all the way to the bank, as Rev. Tulloss writes sermons excusing their greed, avarice, and dishonesty

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Reverend it seems like your sermon My children call me daddy worked. Get ready for another battle buddy!