Tuesday Feb 09 2010
Mom vows to continue fight to keep her kid in Folsom school
By: Brad Smith, Telegraph Correspondent
When school administrators told Nicole Zamora that she'd have to remove her son, Mauricio Velasco, 7, from Folsom's Theodore Judah Elementary, she said she was angry and confused. For two years, Zamora said, her son Mauricio had attended Theodore Judah and was very happy there. If there were problems, she worked with the teachers to resolve them. "The teaching staff were really great to us." Having relocated to her new home, Zamora enrolled at Green Valley, in the Rescue Union School District. While Mauricio liked it, he missed his old teachers and friends at Theodore Judah. And, there were incidents when the little boy "acted up," Zamora said. "He gets antsy, standing in line. He makes 'farting sounds' and scoots his desk around," she explained. As with Theodore Judah, Zamora talked with the teaching staff. "It was decided that we enroll Mauricio into a Big Brother program and martial arts," she said. "Everyone felt that it'd be good for him to have a strong, positive male role model. The martial arts class would help him with his self-discipline." In the meantime, Zamora hadn't given up on getting Mauricio back into Theodore Judah. "I did some research. I found that an inter-district transfer was possible, due to the Allen Bill," she said. According to the Allen Bill, since Zamora works within Theodore Judah's district, Mauricio could return to his old school. If admitted, Mauricio would attend school unless Zamora lost her job. Information in hand, she contacted both school districts to "get things rolling." However, while those within the Rescue school district were very helpful and quick to respond, Zamora said some at the Folsom school district weren't so responsive. "I feel that the district sat on this for some time. I made calls to a lot of people and rarely got a quick response," she said. "Do I feel like I got the runaround? Yes." At one point, feeling so fed up, Zamora even went as far and contacted the county board of education. "I told them what I was dealing with, I voiced my complaints. I guess," she said, "the fact I called and talked to people on the county level upset some people (within the Folsom Cordova school district)." On Jan. 12, Zamora was told her request for Mauricio's inter-district transfer was denied. "One of the reasons given was that they didn't have room for him," she said. They also told her that her son had "emotional problems." She's said some school documents say it was in August 2009 she told Theodore Judah staffers about her move out of the Folsom district. "I told them about the move in May or June of last year," she said. "They knew about it before August." Zamora had letters of support written by Mauricio's Big Brother and the martial arts dojo he's attending. She even provided a note written by Mauricio's first grade teacher at Theodore Judah. Dated Jan. 15, 2009, the note states that the teacher and Zamora have spoken many times about Mauricio and have worked together on any issues that have arisen. During the January meeting of the Folsom Cordova school board, Zamora addressed Superintendent Patrick Godwin about the situation. Godwin said that "he'd look into it" and would be in contact with her later. Days later, Zamora did hear from the superintendent's office. Godwin supported the initial decision. However, he told Zamora to keep Mauricio at Green Valley. "He said I could try for a transfer the next school year." According to Stephen Nichols, the school district's public information officer, the district stands behind the decision made. Godwin echoed the response, adding that due to student confidentiality, he couldn't make further comments. Zamora said she's not giving up and is following Godwin's advice. “I'll try again next year,” she said.