Letter: AUSD Trustee Says Pittsburg Unified Fails Students

Submitted by Fernando Navarro


Dear Editor:

On Thursday, November 10, an incident took place in Pittsburg and Antioch which illustrated a major failing of our public education system.  Hundreds of Pittsburg High School students, apparently protesting the results of the presidential election, walked out of their classes, off campus, and made their way to Antioch.  During their journey, some of them committed acts of violence which resulted in three arrests…and a strain on police resources for both cities, as 23 police officers (15 from Antioch and 8 from Pittsburg) had to be called out to deal with the situation.

Statements by some officers indicated that the PHS principal, Todd Whitmire, joined students in the protest.  This has been disputed by Whitmire and Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD) Superintendent Janet Schulze, who claim Whitmire was with the protesters only to make sure they were safe.

Neither story speaks well of the PUSD leadership.  The first would indicate that PUSD administrators are actively working to incite students away from learning and discourse and toward yelling and violence.  The second would indicate that PUSD administrators have lost control of their school, and that student whims rule the day.

anti-trump-ralley-img_8149What we witnessed didn’t come out of nowhere, and didn’t come about because the, “election has been especially emotional,” as a statement by Schulze said.

This is the result of years of inept classroom management, which has led to a lack of respect for authority.  It comes about because, as with English and math, students don’t appear to be learning basic civics.

I recently lost my bid for election to the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) Board of Trustees.

That doesn’t mean I’ll be silent, though.  I’ll continue to advocate for the change that’s needed to turn our schools around and deliver better educational, and life-choice, outcomes for our students.  And I’ll be encouraging parents to educate themselves about school policies, and to make sure their voices are heard.  But I’ll be doing so by speaking and writing in the appropriate forums, not by disrupting traffic, disrupting classes, or by otherwise impinging on the rights of my fellow citizens.

Finally, I applaud Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando for speaking out about this incident at the PUSD School Board meeting.  I applaud AUSD Superintendent Stephanie Anello and Antioch High School Principal Louis Rocha for taking swift action to prevent similar disruptions in Antioch schools.

Now, let’s all come together to provide our students with the educations they deserve.

By Fernando Navarro
Antioch Unified School District Trustee



  1. Nice to see it only took someone from the AUSD a little more than 2 weeks to respond. I thought this was over once Chief Cantando addressed Pittsburg. What is the point of this anyway? So he can here himself talk? All I know from this guy is he says Antioch has failed its students and now is ready to claim Pittsburg is failing it students. Perhaps its time he run for State Superintendent of Public Instruction so he can fix the entire state from failure.

  2. I agree with Mr. Cook, Mr. Navarro is about 2 weeks late on this. I do not understand the purpose of this letter other than to keep the negativity going which I was glad to see die down. This has been over covered in the media both in print and on TV. Let it go.

  3. The tragedy of the election is Mr. Navarro was not re-elected. We need many more just like him. He is not a go a longer like all the rest you elected and you deserve more of the same.

  4. Failure must know failure. Mr. Navarro, you failed in your election bid and only served by being appointed. The community spoke that you are not wanted. I suggest at this point, you keep your opinions to yourself.

  5. Some of the comments posted here and on Facebook make me shake my head in digest. The comments suggest that some of you in your disdain for Mr. NAVARRO miss the bigger picture.
    1. The principal and school superintendent should be called out on the carpet and possibly removed from their positions.
    2. All Pittsburg students that were found to be truant should be displayed accordingly.

    Bottom line here is this is not how a civilized society operates. If you want to continue to be underclass ghetto dwellers then this is a fine example. There are ways that a lawful assembly and protest can be held and this wasn’t it. If you want to be treated equally and you want respect, then stop acting like savages.

  6. SMH: Thank you! The literacy of some on this blog today is certainly questionable. Product of East County education perhaps.

  7. Interesting, you claim that PUSD failed. Being a long time resident of Pittsburg, please explain how. Those students were expressing their opinion of a very negative election. The high school is made up of Latin and African American students who had watched what the media portrayed as a racist President elect. I did not vote for Donald Trump nor do I believe he is a racist, however his campaign was followed and supported by White Supremacists and KKK leaders. He threatened to remove Latins from their homes. There was hostility on all fronts. The students protested and expressed their feelings. We do live in a free country with freedom of expression. To say the Pittsburg Administration failed is completely wrong. The students were reprimanded for their actions and there has not been another incident. What I find interesting is why don’t you look to your own city and failed school district. Antioch has had declines in both of their High Schools, people are leaving in drones to attend other schools, including Pittsburg. While Deer Valley used to hover around 3500 students now is down to 2000. They had to close the shopping center across the street after school because of the fights and theft. Antioch barely above 2000 students has dropped. Face it when looking to blame someone blame the Antioch School District for it’s own failings. If Pittsburg school district was so failing the attendance would not have increased to the record numbers they are at. Please keep you opinions to yourself if you don’t know the facts. Hopefully you can solve the issues within your own community and district before throwing stones at another. This issue is dead.

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