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Attorney: School District to Pay $725,000 for Failing to Protect Black Students from Gangs

District disputes status of case stemming from 2007 unsolved murder of 14-year-old middle school student.

Bay City News Service — Oakland civil rights attorney Pamela Price said Thursday that the   has agreed to pay $725,000 to settle a lawsuit that alleged that school officials failed to protect black youths from attacks by a Latino gang.

However, school district spokesman Rick La Plante said, "There is no final settlement at the present time and to say so otherwise is premature."

La Plante said final approval of the settlement is still pending and "is contingent upon several events taking place that have not yet occurred."

But Price said U.S. District Court Judge Laurel Beeler approved the settlement at the conclusion of three settlement conference hearings and the district's school board approved it Tuesday night.

The case centers around the Dec. 21, 2007 killing of a 14-year-old black youth, who was fatally shot in front of Barnard-White Middle School on Whipple Road in Union City. She said it's suspected that members of the Decoto gang killed Eddins, but the case still hasn't been solved.

Price said the settlement includes 13 remedial policies and programs that will be implemented by the school district to curb racial violence against black youths in its schools.

She said the settlement calls for the $725,000 to be split among 12 students from six families.

The students suffered anxiety, insomnia, depression, post-traumatic distress disorder and other problems," Price said.

"It completely disrupted their education and all but one of the students in the suit had to transfer to other schools" for their own protection, she said.

The suit alleged that the school district tolerated a pervasive pattern of racial violence and hate crimes directed at its black students, particularly crimes committed by the Decotos, a Latino gang.

Price said the suit's goal was to force the district to take measures to protect black students and stop what she said were gang-inspired racially-motivated attacks in its schools.

La Plante said, "The decision to settle was made on the advice of counsel hired by the insurance company for the district and with the agreement of the district's insurer" and no district funds are included in the settlement.

He said the settlement terms approved by the attorneys for the students and families "provide that the school district disputes and disagrees with the plaintiffs' contentions and that the district contends that they are false."

La Plante added, "The so-called remedial policies and programs referred to in the settlement are primarily a codification of long-standing efforts to address issues that pervade our society, in a district that has been proactive in these areas for many years."

Price said the same plaintiffs have a similar lawsuit pending against the , alleging that it also hasn't done enough to protect black youths.

But the Police Department said after the suit was filed that it has "a long-standing record of being responsive to supporting and defending the rights of all members of our diverse community."

Roman June 24, 2011 at 02:39 PM
Mexican-American students have not been protected from the gangs coming to our schools from Oakland, East Palo Alto, or Richmond for years. I wonder if I have a chance to prove that the NHUSD and UCPD have failed to protect Latinos back in the 80's and 90's and even today? And remember "Decoto is not a gang it's a community!"
jay June 24, 2011 at 04:22 PM
@roman-amen this is the craziest thing i have ever heard!!i was born and raised in decoto and i wentto james logan in the 90's and trust the shoes was on the other foot back then!!!so now they wanna cry foul when you are on the other end !!!!wow really!!!tis is comedy!!
jay June 24, 2011 at 04:23 PM
AMEN@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sandra June 24, 2011 at 06:24 PM
As stated in the article, “…no district funds are included in the settlement”. No local property tax money is funding the settlement. That’s why the district has insurance. As an alumnus, a long time Union City resident and, most importantly, a parent, I feel this suit is a wake-up call not only to the school district, but to the entire community. My own children have experienced intolerance from people of our own race - merely for befriending kids of other ethnic back-grounds. Racial intolerance should not be tolerated period! We all need to take responsibility for ourselves and our children’s behavior. It starts at home and should continue at school.
Roman June 24, 2011 at 06:42 PM
What happens to insurance rates once a claim is made? Rates go up? Who has to pay this rate increase? This fighting is going on everywhere so why is it that the UCPD and NHUSD has to pay up? Do you really think they are ignoring the gang problems in UC? Find the killer and make him or her pay up! And they shouldn't just make policies to protect "black students" it should be to protect all students. I'm curious as to what the "13 remedial policies and programs" are?
Zinn June 24, 2011 at 09:38 PM
My daughter was 75 yards from where Edins was murdered that day. She gave a heartfelt speech at a community meeting afterward. 4 years later no arrests after a murder in broad daylight with people everywhere. This is what bothers me most. Murderers getting away scott free. That is the wrong message.
Zinn June 24, 2011 at 10:15 PM
The 12/21/07 murder of Vernon Edins at Bernhard White Middle school in broad daylight triggered this suit. Police suspect a Latino gang from the area (Decoto) are responsible for Edins death but 4 years later no arrest has ever been made. Decoto prides itself at being a close knit community who look after each other. The messed up side of this equation is someone in Decoto likely knows who murdered Edins...
Tim June 24, 2011 at 11:00 PM
Well, the UCPD is beginning to gain a reputation for being completely USELESS when it comes to solving homicides on their turf. I haven't heard so much as a peep from them regarding the three murders committed already this year alone. Look how Suffolk County (Long Island) police handled the quadruple homicide they had this week in a local pharmacy. There was constant contact with the media providing continuous updates to the media even before they made an arrest. The same is true with the NYPD in their investigations. Here they say providing information will somehow jeopardize their investigations. That is total crap. They can provide updates to the media without giving away pertinent details that need to be kept confidential. But, they say nothing... and I can only assume it's because they have nothing and are doing nothing.
Sandra June 25, 2011 at 07:39 AM
My son went to school with Vernon and we are also African American. I have lived in the Bay Area since 1983. We move to Union City from San Leandro for better schools. My son was completely unhappy at Logan and complained about his treatment all the time. My son is a good kid, never suspended and actually wanted to be a police officer until he graduated from Logan. One day I had to leave work early to pick him up from school because he was afraid to leave school. He was there late for a club and the rumor was out a black kid was going to get jumpped by one of the Latino gangs. Later that day a friend of his got stabbed, walking near Decoto Road. Another incident involved my teeanage daughter and kids making gang signs driving a car acted like they were going to hit her as she rode her bike, on Decoto. I have never filed a lawsuit against anyone but I agree this should be a wake up call for all communities. My children are in college now and we just moved back to San Leandro too many bad memories in Union City.
Zinn June 25, 2011 at 12:57 PM
I grew up near Hayward's Ramos Camp. We all got along and respected each other. My oldest daughter who is fair complected and a blonde ( I am dark skinned) got jumped and beaten at Logan in her Freshman year by a female Latino gang and did not tell us until she was a Senior for fear I would escalate causing further retaliation towards her. She was right. I would have addressed the matter aggressively but I also understand where she was coming from as sad as that may be. All I can say is the Decoto community has significant moral dysfunction in it. Yes there are good folks in Decoto but the immoral minority that festers in the community; the drugs, violence and inhumanity is an undeniable fact. Decoto and for that matter any similar community will never never ever gain the general respect from their fellow citizens until they address the moral poison in their community. It all starts inside the four walls you live in. One supportive act at a time. One commandment at a time. One moral lesson at a time..
Zinn June 27, 2011 at 08:05 PM
sally montes wrote: "I have to disagree with your comment about significant moral dysfunction in Decoto. Decoto is a closed knit community. Many of the members of this community have lived here for 50 years or more. The negative comments you made about our community could have been made about ANY community." I wrote: "Decoto and for that matter ANY SIMILAR COMMUNITY will never never ever gain the general respect from their fellow citizens until they address the moral poison in their community." Yet another shooting with a man in critical condition occurred in Decoto yesterday....
Zolla June 27, 2011 at 08:19 PM
It's a joke period. I think the families of Anthony “Cookie” Ramirez and Ruben Gonzales Partida should sue the city for not protecting them by not making the street safe to walk. So now are our teachers supposed to arm themselves in order to protect the kids for gun battles that may occur around the schools? Or maybe I’ll sue them for my safety. After what’s been going on here the last couple of months, I don’t feel safe walking to the corner store after dark, can’t sleep at night or jump up out of bed every time I hear something. Lack of sleep is affecting my work; gee I’m a total wreck. Isn’t it my civil right to be protected on the streets? Aren’t my taxes paying for the people who are supposed to be protecting me? That’s just how asinine this is. And that’s just what society gets for letting these civil rights jerk offs dictate the laws.
Tina June 28, 2011 at 06:05 AM
WHY IS IT always feel sorry for us, but yet you cant even go to mcdonalds in the morning because of the fear of being targets by groups of black young men and we wont even go into the subject of BART... and in every parents eyes there kids are perfect , a parent that is blinded by their childrens gang activities. WHY was this young man at Barnard that was not the school he attended and please dont make any silly excuse and try to justify the reason. Its sad that this parents tend to really believe their kids do no wrong, get over they are really gang member and the parents have just been rewarded for being blind. IVE SEEN THIS BLACK KIDS CAUSE DRAMA at Kennedy park then RUN when they are confronted and one young man even handed his drug using mother his weapon as she jumped in a car and left and that is why that young man , his brother and younger sister will never have a fair chance in life.. BUT WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE if anything this people NEED GOD in their life so lets come show them what Decoto as a community can do ... we come together as one and will pray for you all that really feel you are coming up by suing the SCHOOL DISTRICT , its not going to make you all better parents ... just look at oaklands murder count just for this year ... keep closing your eyes to your problems..
Tina June 28, 2011 at 06:13 AM
Im sorry that happened to your daughter and i understand your fear, but my son who is Hispanic and does not even hang with the decoto crowd whom I usually pick up and drop off everyday had asked me if he could go with his friend to get a bite to eat because he had got an award at school so I said yes and i stayed parked in front of logan waiting for him and what I got instead was a phn call from his friend saying he had got robbed and jumped by two black boys while he was walking with a female friend. mind you my son is a young man who dyes his hair different colors just to be different so ppl dont mistake him for a gang member as most our young men are fair skinned with black hair or bald. and all the boys got from him was $5. and when i reported it to the school, i was told that the duel had 3 other victims. and my son wasnt even upset , when the police asked him if he wanted to press charges if they found the boys , he said no because he didnt know their living situation and maybe they needed the money to eat ...
Tim June 28, 2011 at 01:47 PM
Sorry Zolla but the Supreme Court has already ruled that the police do NOT have a duty or responsibility to protect you from violent crime. At the same time they police won't allow us our right to protect ourselves. Yet another shooting this week in the dysfunctional Decoto area. I don't go there but I've had about enough with the violent crime around here and if the police wont do their jobs because they're lazy or scared then we have a problem. I'm about ready to say screw it and pack my 1911 with me anyway. I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.
Erick Brickman July 06, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Should Hispanics have their minority status revolked?
Erick Brickman July 06, 2011 at 06:50 PM
I never liked the idea of hispanics being a minority! They are a race of people(Western Europeans) who denegrade, marginalize, and discreminate against blacks in their native country. Yet, when they(Western Europeans) come to American, they get minority status. You shouldn't be surprised, after all hispanics are a white race(Spain) and has a white culture(ancient Italian).
Gosey Bryson Bagby April 06, 2012 at 05:46 AM
ARe you guys dumb blind or just ignorant, there's a gang called decoto in the decorous community. I DONT EVEN LIVE THERE AND I KNOW IT! one reason is me n friends where jumped by them n 2005 GROWN MEN TEENAGERS AND CHICKS one friends was beat so bad he still has I damage! TWO IS IM CLOSE TO VERNS BROTHER! I HAD A RIP VERN SHIRT AND HAVE HAD INCOUNTERS WITH THIS GANG YALL CLAIM DONT EXIST! So it doesn't matter if they black white Asian Indian Arab pink r yellow! Its a gang problem there so fix it! THIS SAME GROUP KILLED A MEXICAN KID! obviously they don't don't care bout they own race neither! NO BETTER THAN US BLACKS KILLING BLACKS!
BLACK CHIP April 09, 2012 at 09:04 PM
dont like it when the shoe is on the other foot huh!!!
Joemama April 09, 2012 at 11:12 PM
James Logan is full of out of town students. Go to the BART station any day after school, and you see so many kids getting on the trains and buses out of town. They come to Union City , use our resources. Most have relatives living in UC and use their address to register in our schools. Stay in your own towns and your own crappy schools.
TruthOverDare April 10, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Joemama, The problem is that the school distt has bloated its expenses for many years. In order to meet those expenses, they need to meet enrollment goals because the state and federal funding is based on how many students attend. There are not enough new students within the distt. to meet those enrollment goals so NHUSD goes outside the distt. to recruit students. This has been going on for many years. Vote NO on Measure H to force the school distt to cut its expenses. Let's put our own measure on the ballot to make it illegal for NHUSD to crowd our schools with out of town students for money.
Concerned Parent & Sister! April 13, 2012 at 03:49 PM
It's So Sad To See there is Stii So much Hatred in UC Even After All that has Happened inrecent years.... But it's not new it's been happening in uc since the early 1970's

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