EXCLUSIVE: School District Banned 'Disruptive' Dad From Campus After He Dared to Advocate for His Son Over Mask Mandate

(This is part 3 in a series covering the nearly year-long campaign of harassment, intimidation, emotional abuse, and threats Kamdin Hernandez and his family have been subjected to by Simi Valley Unified School District employees and administrators over mask mandates in schools. Part 1 can be read here, and part 2 here.)

Advertisement

Over the last week numerous school districts have been in the news due to reports that administrators have left children who refused to wear a mask outside and alone, or are planning to label students protesting mask mandates as a “clear and present danger” to school safety so they can be excluded from campus, or count the protesters as truant, or charge the protesting students with trespassing, or deem the child “abandoned” and call Child Protective Services if parents take them to school without a mask.

What happened to schools excitedly embracing a student’s right to protest and giving them time during the school day to do so?

That was a rhetorical question.

Anyway, it’s not really applicable to Kamdin Hernandez, who has reported to teachers all year that he cannot concentrate on his schoolwork or think when he is wearing a mask due to his ADHD, and who has been bullied and harassed because of it.

Kamdin’s dad has been harassed, threatened, and retaliated against, too – because he stood up for his child and advocated for him. That part of the story goes back to May, 2021.

As covered in part 2, Kamdin Hernandez was diagnosed by his pediatrician with ADHD in 2018 and the school was aware of this since his mother listed the diagnosis and any medication then prescribed in his school enrollment records every year (on the district’s Aeries portal). Because his teachers at the time worked with Kamdin to ensure his needs were met, Kamdin’s education wasn’t affected until the pandemic started and he was forced into “distance learning” from March through November, 2020.

From November 2020 through June 4, 2021 students then attended school in person for 2.5 hours a day and were required to wear masks at all times on campus, even while outside at recess. Kamdin struggled all year, his 3rd grade year, and came home crying at times. Finally, after being yelled at for taking his mask off during recess on a 90-degree day in the spring of 2021, Kamdin “had a meltdown” when he got home, according to his father.

Around the same time one of the family’s vehicles broke down and they couldn’t afford the $6,000 repair bill, so they made do with one car. Because of that, Hernandez started taking Kamdin to and from school by bike. He was grateful that since his nursing school classes were all online, he was available to do so and share that time with his son.

Hernandez, who is an Afghanistan combat veteran and is 90 percent disabled, has a medical exemption to the mask mandate due to PTSD, and didn’t wear a mask while he waited in line outside, socially distanced, waiting for Kamdin to be dismissed. He was often the first in line, and wasn’t aware of any parent complaints until the day he was so frustrated that he wore a shirt he made himself to support Kamdin. The shirt read:

Speak for the voiceless. Unmask our kids. Kids Lives Matter.

Hernandez posted a brief video to Instagram:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Tim Hernandez (@tim_hernandez101)

Advertisement

That’s when everything changed for the Hernandez family. Since that time Kamdin and Tim have been subjected to ongoing harassment, retaliation, threats, and intimidation from school and district personnel.

Just as in part 2 of this series, the events that will be discussed in this piece are the subject of a complaint Hernandez filed with SVUSD, which was investigated by the district. In this case, though, the investigation has gone up to the California Department of Education on appeal, and in a letter dated January 14, 2022, CDE upheld parts of the investigation and found the district in the wrong on other parts. I’ll go through the events day-by-day.

May 5, 2021

The school claims that they received several messages (emails and phone calls) from parents who claimed he wasn’t practicing social distancing, complained about Hernandez’s maskless presence, and that he posted the brief video to Instagram that showed their masked faces without their consent. The school claimed that Hernandez was on school property and showing students’ faces in the video, but it’s clear that he was socially distanced, that they were on the public sidewalk, not school property, and there are no students in the video. In the letter eventually sent to Hernandez by Youssef, he states:

The parent complaints also expressed concern that you were violating their privacy and that you were a danger to those on campus.

A danger to those on campus how? Because of his t-shirt and the big scary flag?

May 6, 2021

On May 6 Hernandez was the first in line for pickup, and a staff member asked him to put on a mask. He informed them that he had an exemption, and the staff member (mistakenly) told him that adults weren’t able to claim exemptions, only students. Hernandez refused to put a mask on and says he told the staff member he wanted to discuss that with whoever was saying he wasn’t able to have an exemption.

May 7, 2021

The next day Principal Perryman was there when Hernandez went to pick Kamdin up. According to Hernandez, Perryman approached him and said, “I heard that I am supposed to confront you,” but he was not looking for a confrontation. Both agree that there was a conversation, but the specifics vary.  According to Hernandez, Perryman said, “Let me see your paper” proving the medical exemption, and he informed her that he wasn’t obligated to show her a medical note. The school district later claimed that there were calls made to 911, to the non-emergency line at the Simi Valley Police Department, and to the district office because Hernandez “yelled at the principal while repeatedly slapping [his] hand to [his] fist,” yelled in her face about his mask exemption, and his “demand to see the mask policy,” and that he’d stormed into a “no-parent” area of the office still yelling and demanding to see the policy.

Hernandez said that he did ask to see the policy and did reiterate that he was not going to put a mask on due to his exemption, but that he was not yelling in her face or acting aggressive.

Advertisement

RedState requested documentation of any 911 calls made on that date, for the hour around school pick-up, around the school’s address, and were told that there were no records found. Hernandez says he called SVPD in May 2021 and asked if they had received any calls that day and was told that they had not. SVUSD was not able to answer any questions related to ongoing investigations.

May 10, 2021

Hernandez tells RedState that on Monday, May 10, while waiting for Kamdin at pick-up, he apologized to other parents who might have had a problem with his outspokenness, but those parents were not responsive to his apology and said they didn’t know what he was talking about. According to the district, one parent said she felt “unsafe” when he was present on campus.

That afternoon he called the district office to ask about their “policy requiring adults to wear masks when accessing school property.” Assistant Superintendent Hani Youssef and Director of Elementary Education Julie Ellis called him back, and Hernandez recorded the call. Youssef and Ellis weren’t informed immediately that Hernandez was recording the call, but he did tell them shortly after the call started that he was recording.

The call lasted around 50 minutes, and the entire recording can be accessed at the bottom of this page. Essentially, Youssef repeatedly told Hernandez that while they recognized his medical exemption, they were not required to allow him on campus with it, and presented their “accommodation,” which consisted of not allowing Hernandez on campus to pick Kamdin up and instead having a staff member walk Kamdin off campus to where they wanted Hernandez to wait. Youssef presented Hernandez two options: “willingly” accept this “accommodation” or he will “invoke the civility code” and drop a letter prohibiting Hernandez from “accessing that gate.”

How is keeping Hernandez off campus considered an accommodation? It seems that in Youssef’s mind the only two outcomes were keeping Hernandez on the public sidewalk either through him agreeing to it or through the school claiming he was disruptive and threatening so they could legally prohibit him from accessing the campus. They recognized his exemption, but claimed it didn’t apply to them. Youssef said:

So I just said that you’re in the right about not having to wear a face mask because you do have some sort of medical condition that prevents it. The part that you’re doing incorrectly is, you’re imposing your exemption on the school. You’re insisting on accessing the campus even though you don’t have to wear a face mask. That’s the part that’s wrong. So, correct, you don’t have to wear a face mask if you’re exempt, but the school isn’t required to let you on the campus facility to pick up your son without a face mask. You don’t have to wear one, but the school doesn’t have to legally give you access to the campus.

So legally, Mr. Hernandez, your son is entitled to a free and appropriate public education. If he’s allowed to access his free and appropriate public education —

Advertisement

One wonders who their attorney is? Is it the same one who prepared their investigation reports into Hernandez’s complaints?

Regardless, Hernandez refused their offer. He explained that one reason he wanted to walk Kamdin all the way to the gate was because of an incident that occurred when Kamdin was in first grade and had a garden-variety conflict with another student in his class. The other father got in Kamdin’s face right in front of the school, on the public sidewalk, and screamed at him so loudly that other parents were afraid and basically pulled the other father away. Hernandez’s daughter walked up as Kamdin was being yelled at and reported the incident to her father. Hernandez complained to the school and was told that the school couldn’t do anything because the incident occurred on the public sidewalk and not on school grounds.

Ironic, huh?

Kamdin was understandably scared, and knowing that tensions were running high at school Hernandez didn’t want him to be subjected to anything else like that.

Also, as Hernandez said:

I didn’t go and serve in Afghanistan to just have people tell me what I can and cannot do on my homeland. That is very disrespectful. I’m not telling you what you can and cannot do in your own school. I’m just abiding by the rules that the school and the CDPH have put out.

Youssef made clear that even though they were asking him to go along with their suggestion, if he didn’t go along with it there would be consequences:

Well, here’s the thing, is we’re not actually asking you, we’re telling you, that you cannot access that campus without a face mask. If you choose, because of your disability —

Incredible. Hernandez’s disability is a choice? Or is he making a choice to not wear a mask because of his PTSD?

Now, Youssef did later say he misspoke in stating that it was a “choice,” but it’s difficult to comprehend the word “choice” even being in the conversation to start with.

At the end of the conversation, Youssef again made clear that the consequence of not willingly accepting the alleged accommodation would be “invoking the civility code.”

In the clip above, Youssef said:

At this point I don’t know if there’s anything left for us to talk about. If you continue to access that gate against the school’s wishes, given everything that’s happened, given the options presented to you, we will draft a formal letter to you invoking the civility code, preventing you from accessing that gate. I guess that’s where we’re gonna wind up hanging up here since we’re not, you know, really making progress, and we’re just disagreeing at this point.

May 12, 2021

Hernandez went to school to pick Kamdin up, and was standing on the public sidewalk in front of the school again wearing the t-shirt he made. Some parents weren’t happy that he was exercising the First Amendment he fought to preserve, which Hernandez caught on video.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Tim Hernandez (@tim_hernandez101)

Advertisement

The other man, sitting in a white Prius (of course), said:

Hey man, you look like an idiot. You should be embarrassed of yourself. You can’t even get on the school grounds anymore.

And no, I didn’t correct his grammar in the quote. The school said they hadn’t participated in any type of negative commentary about Hernandez, yet less than two days after this conversation occurred a random parent knew that the school was banning Hernandez from campus and heckling him about it?

Eventually, a “civility code” letter made its way to Hernandez. Though it was dated May 11, 2021, Hernandez received it May 27, 2021. It seemed to be written from Youssef’s point of view but was signed by Perryman.

At the end of the letter, Perryman informs Hernandez that he can be charged with a crime under  California Penal Code Section 626.7 and 626.8 if “it appears that s/he is committing an act likely to interfere with the peaceful conduct of the campus” and refuses to leave after she directs him to, and also threatens to obtain a restraining order against him.

As referenced above, Hernandez filed a complaint with the school district, saying that he was being discriminated against because of his disability and that Kamdin, too, was being discriminated against by association. The district’s report found that staff misunderstood the mask mandate and that adults were, in fact, able to have exemptions, and that Hernandez was not required to provide documentation of his exemption. This footnote was added, though:

Parent stated that the School was already aware that Parent did not have to wear a mask due to a medical exemption; however Dr. Youssef indicated that the District has never received proof of Parent’s medical exemption for wearing a mask.

What is the point of that?

The investigator didn’t find any evidence of discrimination or harassment based on disability, and Hernandez appealed. As one corrective action implemented by the district, though, the “civility code” letter was being withdrawn and was no longer in effect, meaning that Hernandez wasn’t under any type of prohibition regarding the Garden Grove Elementary campus when Kamdin started 4th grade on August 11, 2021.

In part 2, we went through the events of August 11-16, 2021 in detail, but they culminated in Youssef directing school resource officer Ellis to issue a trespassing citation to Hernandez and claiming that Hernandez wasn’t allowed on campus and knew that when he went to campus on August 13 to pick Kamdin up at the principal’s request. Hernandez also filed a complaint regarding those events; that complaint is currently on appeal to the CDE.

There were still tensions throughout the first half of the school year, but when it was time for Kamdin to go back to school in January he’d decided he was just done with doing his best to comply and was simply refusing to put the mask on, period. This led to Perryman leaving Kamdin alone outside his classroom on multiple occasions and even at the far end of the playground. Hernandez went to the school – outside the fence – and documented a couple of these occasions on video that he posted to his public Instagram.

Advertisement

On January 11, Hernandez received a letter from CDE’s Education Equity Uniform Complaint Office informing him that any retaliation by the district may be the basis of a new complaint and that the district is required to have policies to “ensure that complainants are protected from any form of retaliation or intimidation as a result of the filing of a complaint.”

Knowing that, why would the district have Youssef involved in communicating with Hernandez in any way?

Three days after that letter was sent to Hernandez, Youssef confronted Hernandez at the school, where Hernandez was filming Kamdin being left alone across the field from the nearest teacher or human being. School Resource Officer Colato communicated the school’s position that if Kamdin wasn’t taken home, he would be considered abandoned on campus and Child Protective Services (CPS) would be called.

Given the way SVUSD’s investigations have gone so far, they wouldn’t consider this retaliatory conduct; they’d claim that these actions were taken because of Hernandez’s current actions.

On January 18 Hernandez and Kamdin addressed the SVUSD Board of Trustees. The audio is muted during Kamdin’s comments, but when Hernandez brought up the fact that CDE found merit in part of Hernandez’s complaint, Youssef rolled his eyes. Hernandez lost his cool at that point, calling Youssef a “piece of s**t,” and was then muted. The exchange can be viewed below.

Earlier that day Youssef had emailed a letter to Hernandez stating that Kamdin was excluded from in-person attendance because his refusal to wear a mask constituted a “clear and present danger to the health and safety” of students and staff.

Then on January 21, Youssef had a letter hand-delivered to Hernandez at home “withdrawing consent for [him] to enter the Garden Grove Elementary School for 14 days pursuant to Penal Code Section 626.4” because Hernandez was still bringing Kamdin to school despite Kamdin being “excluded” from in-person instruction and labeled a “clear and present danger.” Recall that earlier in January when Kamdin was “excluded” from in-person learning he was still allowed on campus, just outside. This time, Youssef told Hernandez, “Please do not bring Kamdin to campus while he is excluded from in-person attendance” and added a requirement that Kamdin agree to wear a mask above his nose at all times while on campus and sign a behavioral contract to that effect before he could resume in-person attendance.

So, what changed between January 7 and January 21?

Well, Hernandez had posted two videos to Instagram showing Kamdin alone outside, numerous community members spoke at the January 18 SVUSD Board of Trustees meeting, SVUSD received the final decision letter from CDE that gave them a few slaps on the wrist (which is extremely rare), and the Simi Valley Acorn published a story about Hernandez’s plight. None of those are things that would give rise to a determination that Hernandez is a disruption to Garden Grove teachers delivering education to students, but they are things that tend to paint Youssef and the district in a bad light.

Advertisement

At the same time, Hernandez was receiving emails from Perryman and Youssef directing him to enroll Kamdin in independent study and also received a truancy letter stating that Kamdin was absent without a valid reason.

It’s simply stunning that the district, knowing that Hernandez’s August complaints were now on appeal to the CDE and that they are supposed to have policies guarding against retaliation or harassment, would allow Youssef and Perryman to continue to interact with Hernandez and to take such drastic actions.

Hernandez has emailed each individual member of the Board of Trustees multiple times with his complaints and the most he’s heard back from them is by receiving a stock, “I’ve received your complaints” email from one of the five trustees. Perhaps they were given advice from the legal department to not interact with Hernandez. Who knows. But they were certainly put on notice during that January 18 board meeting – even voting that night for Youssef to be the district’s next Superintendent – yet Youssef continued to harass Hernandez. At some point, the Trustees are responsible for this conduct as well.

So, what’s next? On February 2 the district finally reached out asking to assess Kamdin for a Section 504 plan that would give him accommodations for his disability, but that process takes a bit of time. This week Kamdin has attempted to go back to school but the principal is still physically blocking him from entering his classroom. The Hernandez’s are working with education disability attorneys to pursue legal avenues to ensure Kamdin gets the education he deserves and those who have harmed him face some consequences. And, members of the community are preparing to address the SVUSD Board of Trustees when it meets again on February 15.

More updates will be posted as they’re available – but don’t miss Tim Hernandez’s appearance on Steve Hilton’s California Rebel Base podcast, which drops Thursday morning.

Full audio of Hernandez’s call with Dr. Youssef and Dr. Ellis:

Sponsored

Recommended

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos