Student in Limbo as Result of Role in Protest : Discipline: Kicked out of Tustin Unified’s Foothill High, he can’t enter a new school. A teacher who calls him a scapegoat won’t sign the needed papers.
Last week, Edmund Cronin was kicked out of Foothill High School in the Tustin Unified School District after he helped organize a student protest against a decision by some teachers to boycott homework assignments.
This week, the Santa Ana teen-ager is trying to enroll at another school. But because at least one of Cronin’s teachers believes that he was treated unfairly at Foothill, the instructor has refused to sign withdrawal papers, delaying Cronin’s registration at Santa Ana High School.
Steve Frogue, Cronin’s history teacher, said he will not sign the papers because the principal made Cronin the scapegoat of a demonstration in which more than 1,000 students participated.
Edmund Cronin went to Santa Ana High School to enroll on Tuesday but was rejected. His father, Alan Cronin, said he will accompany his son today in an effort to get things straightened out.
“They can’t enroll him without his transcripts and his files and everything, which the teachers won’t sign,” Alan Cronin said. “We’re still trying to get the paper work squared away.”
Paul Huston, assistant principal at Santa Ana High School, said he could not comment on the matter. “All of this information about students is classified,” he said.
Cronin’s interdistrict transfer to Foothill was revoked last Thursday after he participated in a student sit-in on Wednesday. Cronin and several other juniors organized the demonstration because they said their teachers’ decision to stop assigning homework in protest of stalled contract negotiations is hurting their education.
On Friday, two days after the demonstration, Assistant Principal Pete Yoder asked Cronin to clear out his locker and escorted him to the edge of the campus.
But it was not until Monday night that the family learned the official reason for the disciplinary action.
In a closed meeting following a school board meeting, district administrators told the family that Cronin was kicked out because he was a discipline problem. They cited an argument with Principal James Ryan during the demonstration, as well as previous incidents of tardiness, leaving campus at lunch and talking back to teachers. Cronin maintains that he did not argue with the principal but that he told him the students had a legal right to gather peaceably.
Though Alan Cronin and his wife, Ann, asked the school board to let their son continue at Foothill, Supt. Maurice A. Ross told them Tuesday that the board had sided with Ryan.
Ross said interdistrict transfers can be revoked if a student’s scholarship or citizenship are not up to par.
“We try to accommodate the needs of the youngsters, but, of course, it’s on a privileged basis,” he said.
Cronin transferred to Foothill High School in his sophomore year because many of his friends attend the school.
The board also discussed the punishment of 110 other students, Ross said. The principal’s decision to place the students on probation and put notices about the demonstration in their disciplinary files came under fire at the board meeting Monday night. A man whose granddaughter received a notice said it would hurt the students for the rest of their lives, making it more difficult for them to get jobs or be accepted at colleges.
The board decided to send letters to parents explaining that material in disciplinary files does not go to colleges or employers. And if there are no further incidents before the end of the school year, the notices will be taken out of the files and the students will be taken off probation, Ross said.