The superintendent of San Dieguito Union High School District who was placed on leave after her comments about high-achieving Asian students has been fired.
Superintendent Cheryl James-Ward was placed on leave in April 2022 after she used wealth as an explanation for the success of Asian students in her school district.
During a discussion on students’ grades, board trustee Michael Allman asked if the board knew why Asian students did well.
“So here in San Dieguito we have an influx of Asians from China, the people who are able to make that are wealthy, you cannot come to America and buy a house for 2 million dollars unless you have money,” James-Ward said.
She then mentioned that parents in the Latino community have less money and work multiple jobs.
Her comments received criticism from many Asian Americans in the community.
“Dr. Ward’s comments were deeply offensive, grossly inaccurate, and intentionally divisive, which ill-fits her leadership role in a major school district,” the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, whose leaders are Chinese American, said in a statement sent to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
CFER describes itself as a non-political, non-profit organization dedicated to equal rights. However, it has frequently criticized California policies that would encourage or mandate ethnic studies in schools.
Many Asian American parents attended the next school board meeting after James-Ward’s comments claiming she had mischaracterized many Asian parents.
James-Ward said that her comments were taken out of context but also apologized to the Asian American community.
“Nevertheless, I should have slowed down when making the comments which did not provide the true complexities of student success and challenges, stereotyped a community, and caused harm. I apologize for the harm caused to any of our students, parents, and members of our community,” she said.
On Sunday, June 26, the San Dieguito Union High School District board unanimously decided to terminate James-Ward without cause, NBC 7 San Diego reports. The decision will go into effect on August 15.
According to Del Mar Times, Associate Superintendent of Business Services Tina Douglas has been acting as interim superintendent since James-Ward was placed on Administrative leave. She will continue to do so until June 30, 2023 as the school board looks for a new superintendent.
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