Desert Vista High School

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Desert Vista High School
Desertvistahighschool.png
Location
16440 S. 32nd St.
Phoenix, Arizona 85048

United States
Coordinates33°17′48″N 112°00′56″W / 33.296628°N 112.015583°W / 33.296628; -112.015583Coordinates: 33°17′48″N 112°00′56″W / 33.296628°N 112.015583°W / 33.296628; -112.015583
Information
TypePublic
School districtTempe Union High School District
NCES District ID0408340[1]
NCES School ID040834000680[2]
PrincipalChristine Barela
Staff130.50 FTE
Grades9-12
Enrollment3,046 (2015-16)[3]
LanguageEnglish
Color(s)Midnight blue and Vegas gold
        
Athletics conferenceAIA 6A Conference
MascotThunder
RivalMountain Pointe High School
Information(480) 706-7900
Website

Desert Vista High School is a public high school located in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, Arizona.

The school is one of two public high schools in the Ahwatukee area, the other being Mountain Pointe High School, both of which are part of the Tempe Union High School District.

The school opened in 1996.[4]

Student demographic[edit]

During the 2014-2015 academic year, 3,037 students attended the school,[2] constituting 21.74% of Tempe Union High School District's population.[1]

Due to the demographic makeup of Ahwatukee, which is overwhelmingly Caucasian, the school is noted to have a bigger proportion of Caucasian students than other comparable high schools, even Mountain Pointe.[5] According to data from the 2014-2015 academic year, 63.22% of the school's student population are classified as Caucasian.[2] Students classified as "Hispanics"[6] form the second biggest demographic bloc, constituting 15.74% of the school's population.

Academics[edit]

The school is ranked 54th in Arizona, in 2017, by the U.S. News & World Report, noting that while the Advanced Placement participation rate is only 24%, the passage rate is 88%.[7]

Controversies[edit]

While the school was noted for having a number of African American school administrators since its opening,[8] the school has had a number of controversies, some of which are racially related.

2003[edit]

In 2003, the school's former assistant principal, Jane Jones, accused then principal Joe McDonald for alleged unethical practices regarding student athletes. Jones filed a lawsuit against the district, accusing McDonald of dismissing her, after a confrontation about admitting at least one ineligible student in 2001, so that the student can play for the school's football team, in addition to changing the grades of a graduated student, so that she would not lose her scholarship to play for an NCAA Division I school.[9]

2004[edit]

In 2004, the school received criticism after reports surfaced that a student named Xavier Kilby remained eligible to play basketball for the school, despite having 247 absences in the first three quarters of the 2003-2004 school year.[10]

In addition, according to a report by the East Valley Tribune, a former football player for the school alleged that he was paid to do homework for teammates.[10]

2005[edit]

In 2005, then principal Joe McDonald was accused of various offenses, including discrimination.[8][11] Complaints of this nature reportedly began in 2001.[11]

In that year, security guard Loretta Avent filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against McDonald, accusing him of retaliation after she coordinated a meeting that exposed Native American students' claims of harassment by students, in addition to unfair treatment by teachers.[12] During that meeting, which took place in April, 36 parents, students and tribal leaders with the Gila River Indian Community met with school and district leaders to talk about allegations of racial discrimination and harassment, including claims of racial profiling, being called "savages", and inaction by teachers to rectify the problems.[13]

After the aforementioned meeting, which took place in April, Tempe Union High School District received a letter from four women, demanding an investigation into allegations of racial bias against the school's African American students, including unfair grading practices and a student assault, among other claims.[14]

McDonald later announced his decision to step down at the end of his term in June 2006.[11]

2014[edit]

In 2014, former teacher Cicely D. Cobb sued the school district and then principal Anna Battle, alleging a number of racially motivated incidents, some of which targeted African Americans at the school, had taken place.[15] Cobb accused school administration of inaction, following a number of incidents.[16]

2016[edit]

In 2016, six female students who were dressed for their senior panoramic photo later grouped together to spell out a censored version of the racial slur nigger. The students used letters from another message (BEST*YOU'VE*EVER*SEEN*CLASS*OF*2016), with two asterisks used as stand-ins for the Gs in the offending word.[17]

The school received significant backlash, as a result of the controversy,[18] On January 25, some members of the East Valley NAACP protested outside the school.[19] and the incident received national and global attention.[20][21]

At least one of the students reportedly had an offer to play soccer at Northern Arizona University withdrawn,[8] and the six involved were later allowed to finish their high school classes via the district's online options, in an outcome described by some as an "unofficial expulsion".[8]

The incident reportedly sparked confrontations on campus, one of which was captured, on camera, by Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV-TV.[22] Subsequent protests related to the controversy also saw counter-protesters who, according to at least one account, used the word "nigger" against the protesters, while calling on them to "stay on their side of the mountain".[8]

Three months after the incident, the school, along with Tempe Union High School District, held school assemblies and class workshops to address diversity and social media, among other topics.[23]

A subsequent article in the school's yearbook that detailed the controversy sparked further controversy from those who believe the incident should have been omitted from the yearbook altogether, and resulted in the school offering to glue the controversial pages together, for students who do not want the incident included.[24][25]

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Search for Public School Districts – District Detail for Tempe Union High School District". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Search for Public Schools - School Detail for Desert Vista High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Desert Vista High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  4. ^ White, Kaila (2 May 2016). "N-word controversy at Phoenix high school altered their senior year, changed district's efforts to combat racism". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 20 December 2017. Former Arizona State University football player and Associate Athletic Director Joe McDonald, who is Black, became principal of the school when it opened in 1996.
  5. ^ White, Kaila (2 May 2016). "N-word controversy at Phoenix high school altered their senior year, changed district's efforts to combat racism". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 20 December 2017. As a result, the school has a larger White student population than many comparable Phoenix high schools, at 66 percent White, 13 percent Hispanic, 10 percent Asian and 7 percent Black, according to U.S. News & World Report. By comparison, nearby Mountain Pointe High School is 46 percent White, 27 percent Hispanic, 16 percent Black and 5 percent Asian. Central High School in midtown Phoenix is 8 percent White, 67 percent Hispanic, 10 percent Black and 6 percent Asian.
  6. ^ See Hispanic–Latino naming dispute for details of an ongoing dispute on the naming of US inhabitants who are of Latin American or Spanish origin.
  7. ^ "Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, AZ". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e White, Kaila (2 May 2016). "N-word controversy at Phoenix high school altered their senior year, changed district's efforts to combat racism". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  9. ^ Kovesdy, Joe; Murphy, Doug; Powers, Jim; Yara, Georgann (1 June 2005). "Desert Vista: 2 tales of same school". Ahwatukee Foothills News. Archived from the original on 25 November 2005. In her lawsuit, Jones claims that her dismissal came from a confrontation with her former boss about admitting at least one ineligible student in 2001 so he could play for the school football team, and allowing a recently graduated student's grades to be changed so she would not lose her athletic scholarship to play for an NCAA Division I school.
  10. ^ a b Morgan, Craig (2 April 2004). "High school athlete plays despite 247 absences". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Hogan, Shanna (29 October 2005). "Desert Vista High principal to retire". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  12. ^ Yara, Georgann (6 May 2005). "Guard files discrimination charge against Desert Vista principal". Ahwatukee Foothills News. Archived from the original on 21 March 2006. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  13. ^ Kovesdy, Joe (29 April 2005). "Native Americans claim mistreatment at Desert Vista". Ahwatukee Foothills News. Archived from the original on 18 November 2005. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  14. ^ Kovesdy, Joe; Murphy, Doug; Powers, Jim; Yara, Georgann (1 June 2005). "Desert Vista: 2 tales of same school". Ahwatukee Foothills News. Archived from the original on 25 November 2005. On the same day as the meeting with Charlton, the district received a letter signed by four women claiming racial bias against African Americans at the school. The letter addressed to the governing board demands an investigation into allegations of unfair grading practices, a student assault and other claims.
  15. ^ Scott, Luci (1 May 2014). "Teacher claims racial bias at Ahwatukee school". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  16. ^ Graf, Nohelani (25 January 2016). "Former Desert Vista High School teacher suing over racism at school". KNXV-TV. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  17. ^ Stone, Will (22 January 2016). "Phoenix Students Spell Out Racial Slur On T-Shirts, Leading To Social Media Outrage". KJZZ-FM. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  18. ^ "District 'aware and outraged' by racist photo allegedly snapped by high school seniors". KNXV-TV. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  19. ^ White, Kaila (25 January 2016). "Desert Vista High School grapples with N-word incident; protest planned today". Arizona Republic. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  20. ^ For reports of the incident done by non-Phoenix US media outlets, see:
  21. ^ For reports of the incident done by media outlets outside of the US, see:
  22. ^ Insensitive photo causing Desert Vista HS controversy (Television news broadcast). Ahwatukee, Phoenix, Arizona: KNXV-TV. 22 January 2016. Event occurs at 1:02-1:14. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  23. ^ White, Kaila (25 April 2016). "In wake of N-word post, Phoenix's Desert Vista hosts student sessions on diversity". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  24. ^ "Article over Desert Vista High School racial slur controversy prompts yearbook change". KNXV-TV. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  25. ^ "New controversy at Desert Vista HS over 'n-word' article in yearbook". KPNX-TV. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  26. ^ Tso, Susanne (2007-01-20). "Actor seeks 'Grease' role on Broadway". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2008-04-29. Crumm, a 2003 graduate of Desert Vista High
  27. ^ "Max Crumm - About Max". Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  28. ^ "Player Bio: Zach Miller :: Football". Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  29. ^ "Bobby Wade". NFL. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  30. ^ "3 more Arizona State signees taken in final day of baseball draft". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  31. ^ https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJessicaNigri?ref=stream&hc_location=stream

External links[edit]