STANDING WITH STUDENTS

AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

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WHAT IS GOING ON?

We are a group of students and alumni organizing for the permanent institutional and cultural reform of the Acalanes Union High School District. Too many students have been harmed by racism and sexual misconduct, instigated by AUHSD teachers/admin.

We have gathered 2000+ signatures supporting our demands for student safety, and we have allies: the ACLU, the CA Dept. of Education, S.E.S.A.M.E., and attorneys have been assisting our mission. 

 

But AUHSD continues to ignore, dismiss, and invalidate student voices. Why isn't the district listening?

SInce the Las Lomas Reform movement began, there has been an active 3rd party investigation into AUHSD's sexual misconduct and racism toward students. The district, however, has a history of covering up sexual abuse and being sued for it. Currently, Associate Superintendent Amy McNamara is the district's investigation coordinator. Very few people know that Amy McNamara resigned from her position as Principal at James Logan High School after facing a lawsuit for covering up teacher sex abuse. 

In addition to the Associate Superintendent, there is Superintendent John Nickerson. Did you know that in April of 2020, Superintendent John Nickerson was in the news because for two decades, AUHSD protected a known pedophile teacher? Kyle Ann Wood is now convicted for molesting two students after AUHSD caught her with child pornography and let her keep her job as a teacher.

 

AUHSD’s history of cover-ups, silencing students, and current endangerment of minors is a serious liability to the district. These adults are proven pros at enabling child abuse. It's no wonder they have not listened to the students and alumni demanding change through Las Lomas Reform Now.

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*UPDATE! 1,400+ people have signed the petition demanding that Taron Hensley and David Granzotto RESIGN NOW!*

They have not yet resigned or been put on leave while they are under active investigation. As of 8/11 (first day of school), the Acalanes Union High School District confirmed they are knowingly exposing minors to alleged sexual predators. Not only is this endangerment of students, it is a liability to the district. To request the investigator's contact information, email us ASAP at LasLomasReformNow@gmail.com

Since June, Las Lomas Reform Now has collected 160+ testimonies from former and current Las Lomas students, where administrators and teachers have sexually harassed students, instigated, and/or ignored racist attacks on students of color.

 

Many students notified and filed reports with the administration at the time of these incidents, but faced gaslighting, inaction, and further trauma on the behalf of admin. Las Lomas High School often proceeded to put some of these minors in additional unsafe situations with their perpetrator.

This is our first request. We are asking that the following administrators be held accountable for their actions: specifically, we would like David Granzotto and Taron Hensley to resign from Las Lomas for failing to protect students from sexual and racial harassment and thereby allowing white patriarchy to flourish.

We, as a community, have the ability and responsibility to stand up for these students and stop the cycle from hurting any future students. 

Please support our students by signing our PETITION.

If you or your child have been discriminated against by Las Lomas High School and/or Acalanes Union School District, we believe you, many are with you, and we are demanding change. You can share your testimony HERE.

Educators have a duty to PROTECT CHILDREN.

EDUCATORS HAVE A DUTY TO PROTECT CHILDREN.
AS STUDENTS, IT SHOULDN'T BE OUR JOB TO EDUCATE EDUCATORS,
BUT HERE WE ARE.

ALUMNI & STUDENT

 TESTIMONIES

On numerous occasions, Hensley referred to the size of my breasts in front of other students and in during rehearsals for plays. He'd make comments about my figure and once turned to other students, asking if I was pregnant because I wore baggy clothes that day trying to discourage his comments about my figure. He started a rumor I was pregnant, which led to other staff and students touching my stomach without consent. He would often comment on my sexuality and sexual activity of other students.

when i had cautero freshman year, he had us act out scenes from to kill a mocking bird. every scene given had the n-word in it. he told the class (of almost all white people) they could say the n-word if THEY were comfortable with it. a white teacher telling a classroom of white people that they can use the n-word if they themselves are comfortable being racist (which most were. two of the people ended up telling a black student the n-word multiple times and saying "slaves can’t read" to her).

We were doing our 8-minute Shakespeare plays and [girl student] went out to perform after Hensley introduced their group. When he came back into the room, he said "Wow, the boys went crazy out there after seeing [girl student]" and we all just kinda stared at him, and then we were like "why?" He then mimed out her boobs for us and went, "Well you all know." After an awkward silence he said, "What? It's not like I'm using her for them."

Granzotto constantly made comments about me and my friends' shirts and clothing. On many occasions, he has looked down and into my friends shirt. He’s put his hands really low on her back and whispered in her ear.

Once, Hensley said I look like Christina Hendricks in front of the class. Fifteen minutes later, he said, "she was the hottest piece of ass on television to me and my friends. As the years went on, I began to call him out on his gross behavior. That's when he stopped casting me and began talking bad about me to other students in the program.

I had the "privilege" of casting and directing with Hensley.  During auditions, he said he wanted the undesirable characters to be "exotic-looking" rather than based on talent (which is already bad enough), but that he specifically did not want them to be Asian. 

During my freshman year, I had Ms. Gieleghem as my English teacher. We read Of Mice and Men and To Kill A Mockingbird, both of which use the N-word. She said the N-word multiple times while reading.

English teachers made unprompted and unwanted comments to me about when the students from Cautero’s AP English the year prior (rightfully) complained about the N-word being used by Mr. Cautero while they were reading a book. The teachers in the room basically said it was silly, dumb, unwarranted, and wrong that the students 

even said anything about Cautero using the N-word. They completely disregarded the feelings and thoughts of the students who brought the problem to admin. It was awful.

My sophomore year, I was still interested in theatre. I tried out for the play, The Crucible at the time. I never got a callback, which I kinda just thought nothing of. Bad audition, whatever. It happens. I went to go see the play and I saw why I never got a callback. The cast was entirely white intentionally, except for the one black slave. I had unfair odds with the audition because I’m black.

A bunch of white teachers were making fun of me and joking about when I called out my teacher for saying the N-word in class. This is the sort of harassment and resistance we are being faced with. It’s not that radical to say that white teachers shouldn’t be saying the n-word in class, but it’s met with these teachers making fun of me for saying that.

Hensley was racially insensitive. He treated people of color like token minorities. He called people exotic-looking. He always claimed he did “colorblind casting.” He said he didn’t “see color.” 

Spring 2019, Hensley approved The Let Out, a one-act written by two white boys. The dialogue in the script was written with AAVE (though only one actor was black) and black stereotypes were written into the script and then changed to stereotypes about Asians once the characters were cast. The play was about gang life—something that no white boy in Walnut Creek would understand no matter how much rap they listen to or media they consume.

Mr. Granzatto would make comments about my outfits, how I looked, and was always wayyyy too touchy. He was incredibly unprofessional when switching between being your “best friend,” wanting to talk about personal life, who I was dating, etc, and [actually doing his job].

Hensley commented on my boobs my freshman year.

Being at Las Lomas was super difficult as a female POC who loved theatre because every day I had to fight myself on whether I wanted to do what I loved (perform) or be comfortable (stay away from Hensley).

This happened like clockwork: Every year the administration checks every student's address to make sure that they live within the school district, and EVERY year the old white ladies in the office would look at me and my mom and INSIST that we did not bring the right paperwork, demanding extra paperwork like 4 year old taxes because they couldn't believe Mexicans go to Las Lomas- LAS LOMAS.

Before every performance, Hensley led us through a chant: "WE'RE GONNA RAPE, KILL PILLAGE AND BURN!!!" over and over.

I didn’t get to graduate with the rest of my class because they kept assigning me Spanish speaking counselors even though I’m fluent in English. So the constant change yearly in counselor messed up my schedule all the time. The last year I was there, on the day of graduation practice ceremony I was called into the office and they told me I wasn’t going to be able to graduate and that I had to complete night school. This amongst many other incidents in classrooms.

Continuous witness to females being touched and grabbed without permission and yanked, rubbed, and held on to by Hensley. I was in the class for 3 years. He repeatedly made sexual jokes and commenting on females about their bodies and clothing.

I think everyone should hear that there weren’t any programs to help undocumented students. Everybody was taken to the library to complete college applications etc, but not even my Spanish speaking counselors prepared me for what was college anyway. I was directionless while everybody talked about what college they got accepted too and I had been informed that that was unreachable for me.

Me and my friends were trying to reach out to Yearbook and Leadership so that we can bring up the fact that it’s always. SO. WHITE. All I have in my yearbooks is white people taking vacations and “mission trips” and taking up space. There was never a space for brown and BLACK folx. It was just always Leadership and Yearbook putting themselves all over it and their friends, no motivation whatsoever to be inclusive.

I handed in the schedule I wanted for next year to my counselor and she erased it all right in front of me. She said “you don’t look like someone who would succeed in these classes. Not many girls do them.” Literally so sexist and I emailed her multiple times about it and she never answered.

The assistant varsity soccer coach, Rob O'Brien, told me and another redheaded girl that he had always "had a thing for redheads," and proceeded to describe how I specifically reminded him so much of his first love. When I mentioned it to Kruger, he told me "not to take the old guy too seriously."

Rob O’Brien, the girl's soccer coach, made a ton of transphobic and homophobic microaggressions, not often during practice but in some of our private conversations. It would come out of nowhere too. My friends who had him for rec soccer also said the same thing.

Mr. Collins, one of my favorite teachers prior, made a joke about molestation. The details are fuzzy since this was years ago, but I remember he mentioned something about Halloween costumes during one of his classes and he basically said, jokingly, that it was no wonder why girls who dress in slutty costumes get molested. This really hurt to hear because I really valued him as a teacher and learned a lot from him, so I don’t really get why he said it. It wasn’t a joke to people who have been molested before, which I have.

Dax Harris acted inappropriately towards me prior to me graduating as well as (much worse) after graduating. He made continually made sexual advances after he spent years grooming me. I was reluctant to send this in, but I’m hoping to spark other girls speaking out about him. This is all I will say but his actions are extremely perverted.

Las Lomas completely tried to silence me with scholarships and awards. But it’s ridiculous for me to be awarded for my efforts against racism but also be ostracised for my efforts against racism. My entire high school experience was glorified by the administration, like they think it’s admirable that I went through all of these things and came out so strong. It’s not admirable that I had to do their jobs for them since I was fifteen years old.

I was raped October 10, 2019. My rapist was a senior and has now graduated. I think this was the main reason that the school didn't do much to protect my safety because he was leaving anyways. Anyways there was a situation with Geotina, Benson, and Granzotto. (This may give away my identity but I am not concerned) I am a photographer for my school (and so was he) and after reporting the rape to Las Lomas, Geotina and I came up with a schedule for games to shoot so I wouldn't have to see him. Geotina and I came to an agreement that the games I highlighted were the ones I was going to shoot. The agreement also consisted of the fact that he was not allowed to shoot on the sidelines and must stay in the bleachers if I was present. The agreement was working for awhile, then the Northgate basketball came up and things began to go downhill. Geotina pulled me aside at the beginning of class and advised me not to go to the Northgate game because my rapist would be present and I quote, "we are going to give him a turn." I immediately was shocked and told her that was not going to work for me. She replied with "what do you mean that won't work for you." Eventually I convinced her to have him not shoot the game. To my surprise he showed up anyways with the intention of shooting. He would not leave. If I pointed him out, he would know and would hide in the crowd. I spent the entire game crying behind the curtain onstage instead of shooting the game. All of admin supposedly new about the agreement Geotina and I had come up with. I asked them to have him removed and they refused. I did not feel safe or comfortable there. I had asked Benson and Granzotto to remove him several times when he started to go on the sidelines but they made no effort to find or talk to him and remove him from the game. At many times they exclaimed that they could not remove him because he was not threatening me or hurting me physically. Eventually I took the matters into my own hands and went up to him and screamed for him to go away. Benson walks up to me in an accusing matter as if I were to get in trouble for telling him to leave. Throughout this entire situation they continuously put his education before my safety. Admin emphasised the fact that he was in journalism and that by not going to certain events it would affect his grade. They asked for me to have understanding for him and his future.

I remember that the PE teacher Mr. Hennessy once called a girl out in front of the entire class for having what looked like a hickey on her neck. At the time I didn’t realize how messed up that was but it’s total sexual harassment, especially for a grown man to do that to a 15 year old girl.

I got called in to be searched my junior year. It was not a legal search. I got searched by Mr. Giron and Jim, the campus golf cart security guy. When you search an under-aged female you’re supposed to have a female cop present and there’s not supposed to be males touching the female. Jim and Mr. Giron touched my upper boob area and got like really close to my inner thigh area.

Dax Harris partied with PLENTY of underage high school girls during my time of 2009-2012. Wouldn’t be surprised if he was still doing this. I also had Hennessy, who gave myself and other girls in my class “extra credit” for doing the splits in front of him.

Mr. Avicolli was my freshman world history teacher. For his class we watched Hotel Rwanda, a film about the Rwandan genocide caused by the French. Throughout the movie, he openly imitated Rwandan accents even after all the violent sequences. This wasn’t a one time thing as he continued when students laughed at his “joke” and proceeded to take every opportunity to make fun of this tragedy.

Daniel Spier talked about his time teaching in Pittsburg, CA to our Econ class. He explicitly said it was a “ghetto”, “low income” school, but “all the kids had Jordan’s somehow”. He then would joke about how they were scary and how glad he was to teach in a “nice school” now.

Taron Hensley directed a very racist skit back in 2015. A few white students acted out as “gangsters” by putting their hair back, and talking about their love for grape soda. When two of our most beloved senior classmates (C & I) spoke out against it, they were shrugged off by both by admin, and white students as being “too sensitive”. The very same year the girls varsity soccer team had a themed dress up day as “gangsters” were they wore braids in their hair, and huge hoop earrings & winged eyeliner(back when it wasn’t super trendy). I’m so upset, but not surprised the culture of Las Lomas has not changed a bit. There needs to be ETHNIC STUDIES for ALL students and more black & brown TEACHERS. NOW.

VISIT OUR INSTAGRAM @LASLOMASREFORM TO READ MORE AND/OR SUBMIT YOUR OWN TESTIMONY.

Once again, we are asking that the following administrators be held accountable for their actions: specifically, we would like Tiffany Benson, David Granzotto, and Taron Hensley to resign from Las Lomas for failing to protect students from sexual and racial harassment and thereby allowing white patriarchy to flourish.

 

We, as a community, have the ability and responsibility to stand up for these students and stop the cycle from hurting any future students. 

Sign our PETITION

IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD HAVE BEEN DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BY LAS LOMAS

HIGH SCHOOL AND/OR THE ACALANES UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT -

WE BELIEVE YOU.

MANY ARE WITH YOU.

WE ARE DEMANDING CHANGE.

ABOUT this movement