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

Declaration of Yvorn Aswad-Thomas

1. I have attended LAUSD schools since kindergarten and magnets since first grade. My older brother, who’s in my grade, goes to Westchester, and I have a younger brother who goes to my school, King/Drew.

2. I wanted to go to King/Drew since 3rd grade because I have wanted to become an adolescent pediatrician since then. I first came to King/Drew in 9th grade.

3. I have seen the differences between the magnet schools and the neighborhood schools in my own family.

4. I also had personal experiences with the differences. My home school is Crenshaw. I went to Crenshaw for four weeks to do an HIV class with Crenshaw students, mainly 9th graders. This was a program Crenshaw ran with King/Drew.

5. Crenshaw is very, very different from King/Drew. The lighting is very low, there is grafitti everywhere, the desks are falling down, the chairs are rusty, and the wallpaper is falling off.

6. Crenshaw is completely different in other ways too. In the 9th grade classes I went to there was no control. The guys were disrespectful to the girls.

7. The teacher in the HIV class constantly put the students down. Once he told me not to answer one of the questions of a Crenshaw student, because the student was not going to go anywhere anyway.

8. The teacher also told me that I should try to apply to a junior college first and that it was next to impossible to go to a university. This is in contrast to one of the King/Drew teachers, Ms. Hutch. To her the worst thing is to see a student fail. At King/Drew teachers encourage you to speak up and the students really put their all into it and get a lot out of the experience. The teaching staff are all brilliant. There is peer tutoring, and if a student isn’t doing well, the teachers will send a letter home. It is a very conscientious teaching staff.

9. There is little tension between the races. Rather, there is a lot of contact, discussion, and communication. Students pretty much like, accept, and respect each other.

10. Being at King/Drew has helped me to feel comfortable with myself and to feel proud but not arrogant. If the magnet school programs were eliminated it would lead to many more schools not caring about students, causing students to have a defeated attitude about their future. It is hard for those who care when everyone else around them is giving up and the school is falling into decay.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. This declaration was executed in Los Angeles, California on January 30, 2006.