SACRAMENTO - As California prepares to adopt the new state educational standards known as Common Core this fall, more parents are speaking out against them. Now one local mom says she was suspended from her son's school for doing so.
"I was outraged," 12-year-old Christopher Duran said.
The boy couldn't believe it when he found out his mom had been suspended from Mark Twain Elementary School.
"Why would the principal sign a withdrawal of consent to my mom, and furthermore, why would she send the police to the house?" Christopher asked.
That withdrawal of consent, delivered by a police officer, banned Christopher's mom from school for 14 days. Last week when we asked the school district why, they told us Katherine Duran was disrupting the school.
"It appears went a little too far with regards to how she distributed information at school sites, distributing information to children directly," Sacramento City Unified School District spokesperson Gabe Ross said last Thursday.
"To blame me and say that I had personally handed a child that information on school property during school hours and disrupting the school. No, none of that is true," Christopher's mom Katherine O'Neal Duran said.
After speaking to Katherine, we followed up with the school district. Ross admitted they were mistaken on that point, that it was actually Christopher who distributed forms to his classmates encouraging them to opt out of Common Core testing.
"I wanted to pass out these forms so that the students could give them to their parents," Christopher explained.
So why was his mother suspended? When Katherine found out the school had confiscated the letters her son was distributing she went to see the principal. The district says that confrontation is what led to her suspension, but Katherine says they are exaggerating what happened.
"I think it's an effort to undermine the anti-Common Core movement," she said.
According to Katherine, the principal insisted the letters were inappropriate, so Katherine tried to take them off the principal's desk.
"She slammed her hand down on top of those letters and said, no they're not yours anymore; you left them here," Katherine said describing the principal's reaction.
Katherine took the letters and left. Within a few days a police officer was at her door letting her know she had been suspended, but she didn't let that officer leave her home empty-handed.
"I asked him if he had children, he said yes, so he took a couple of my opt-out forms," Katherine said.