Grand Jury report says San Jose Unified School District is failing students

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – A new report says the San Jose Unified School District leadership is failing to adequately serve its students.

The report comes from the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury, which says these issues have led to an unnecessary risk to student safety. It is recommending changes to the district that it says need to happen by the end of this year.

The report commissioned by the jury is more than 40 pages long and stems from complaints within the district. It says many of the issues are traced back to leadership at the district.

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“I think they don’t have enough help for special kids, and I think they need more,” said Antonio Amaya, whose 9-year-old son goes to Washington Elementary in downtown San Jose.

Amaya says the school district has struggled to care for his son, who is autistic. He was not surprised to learn about the grand jury’s report, which says one of the Bay Area’s largest school districts has glaring issues with leadership.

The highlighted issues are as follows:

  • A high turnover in principals and assistant principals

  • A lack of addressing the mental health crisis

  • A lack of planning for things such as school shootings… which the report says puts students at risk.

  • Problematic hiring practices

The grand jury did 80 interviews around the district and found that several leaders in the district were insensitive toward the concerns of teachers and parents. It also found that the district office had low morale and verbally abusive behavior.

Superintendent Nancy Albarran sent a statement to KRON4, in which she calls the report misleading and inaccurate. She went on to say, “SJUSD will use our required response as an opportunity to reflect on areas of potential growth.”

Some of the recommendations include getting a third-party assessment to investigate these issues further.

The Amaya family is taking matters into its own hands. Antonio’s wife is attending special education training at the district.

KRON4 reached out to the San Jose Teachers Association, which represents teachers within the district. We have not heard back as of the time of this report, but several other parents say they’re supportive of the report and hope it leads to positive change.

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