UEAALDF's Intervention into the
Los Angeles Public Schools Desegregation Case

Declaration of Jennifer Gutierrez

1. My name is Jennifer Gutierrez. I am 16 years old and I attend King/Drew Medical Magnet School. I live at 1251 West 109th St. between Inglewood and Watts in the South Central area of Los Angeles. I have always attended schools in LAUSD.

2. Before attending King Drew, I attended the magnet program at Markham Middle School. That school is down the street from King Drew and helped prepare me to attend King Drew.

3. I strongly support the desegregation and magnet school program in our city. My home high school is Washington High School. My mother objected to me going to Washington because of newspaper reports of the high amount of drug use by students, sex, pregnancies, dirtiness of the school itself and the lack of academic challenges for students. The school looks like a prison and teachers are known to fight with students. There are a lot of gang-related shootings, and Iíve heard that students sometimes get thrown down the stairs.

4. At King Drew, teachers care, and will find ways to help you succeed, even if that means putting you on a contract. Youíre motivated to get to college. If you graduate from King Drew you automatically fill all UC requirements so you graduate already UC qualified.

5. At Washington students never hear about the A-G requirements, counselors donít help you and no one cares about you.

6. Everyone at King Drew cares about you. Teachers will help you. At our school, college is the reason why we go to high school. We have good books, and we even have a class set of books in addition to our own. Our school is very clean. The walls are white and there isnít much vandalism. The administration doesnít have to spend a lot of time tied up with behavior problems with the students and can spend more time supporting us.

7. Students and our peers support each other academically and will pressure each other NOT to tag or do drugs and do well in school.

8. Our school is mostly Latino and black, with some Asians. Itís very well integrated compared to other schools. There are never fights or riots between black and brown students. The top ten students in the class of í06 are a whole mix of Latino, black, Filipino, and Asian students. Its not like only one race is seen as smart. Itís a meld. Itís important to be exposed to seeing how itís not just white people who are smart, but other people are, too because it shows us that we can do it.

9. My older sister Llamilet went to Monroe High School by getting bussed there. She had an opportunity to get a better education in Northridge. She developed a drive and commitment to go outside of where sheís used to, and it motivated her to go to Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. Also, my younger sister Jamie goes to the Markham Middle School Magnet. Sheís bussed there so she can get a better education. My mom wants all her children to be in the magnet schools.

10. If the busing program was ended, it would cause my mom a huge burden. My mother is a housekeeper and my dad is a gardener. They are up and running to work at 6:00 am every morning, and we also have a 2 year old baby in the house.

11. King Drew high school has opened up so many doors for me. I am involved in many clubs and activities. I am the Class of 2007 President, I read poetry, I am also part of Leadership, Hermanas Unidas, Drama Club, California Scholarship Federation, peer mediation, GLA (Guiding Lost Angels ministry), Medcoróa medicine program with USC for minorities, and get tutored in math, English and science. The same bus that busses students to the magnet schools also busses students for Medcor, so Iím also worried that if the bussing program were ended in LAUSD that would also affect the Medcor program too.

12. The teachers at King Drew look for the strengths in every student. My teacher pulled me aside and told me that she thought that I had great leadership qualities.

13. If King Drew were closed, I can only think, ďOh my goodness, what would happen to me? I would die.Ē If I had to go to Washington, I wouldnít be prepared to go to college, or Iíd be someone who had to drop out of college. Ever since we studied the Constitution in my history class, Iíve become intrigued with law. Now I want to become a lawyer, and my ultimate goal is to become a Supreme Court Justice.

14. At Washington, itís very segregated. Blacks are on one side, Latinos are on the other. King Drew isnít like that. We donít have those problems. At King Drew you donít think about that stuff, because everyone is motivated. You see a lot of best friends who are different races and couples who are different races.

15. I notice that Iíve changed and grown thanks to my school. In the past I used to get caught up in unimportant things. Now I know people of different races, who have different styles, different sexual orientations. I go to different parts of the city to shop that I wouldnít have gone to otherwise.

16. People in my school are more open-minded. Our Cultural Days at school are very successful. We had a Day of Silence for gay and lesbian people.

17. I now speak up every time I hear people say things that are disrespectful. I am more prepared to challenge people when they say ignorant things.

18. Iíve gained a lot of confidence from my school. I know that Iím smart and I have good grades. Our classes are not overcrowded. We donít need to bring extra chairs into our rooms. Our teachers take the time to see the strength in each student. We have 20-25 different clubs in my school that students can get involved in. Iím very proud of King Drewís reputation as a good school with high academic achievement and a high rate of students who go to college. I feel like Iím not just another student at King Drew, but that my principal and my teachers know me and remember me.

19. I think this case is huge for the future generation, and will decide whether and how many minorities will be able to go to college. If we lose these programs, weíll have to overcome even bigger mountains of obstacles. The people who are trying to get rid of these programs are trying to take away a huge resource from our communities. For students who wonder if thereís hope because they see how the system is messed up, theyíll become even more hopeless. I donít want that to happen.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. This declaration was executed in Los Angeles, California on January 29, 2006.

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JENNIFER GUTIERREZ