2022 LAUSD Elections

Dr. Rocio Rivas: Removing Barriers For Children With Special Education Needs

LAUSD Board District 2 candidate Rocio Rivas shows empathy and understanding for the needs of students with moderate to severe disabilities.

Carl J. Petersen
Age of Awareness
Published in
7 min readJul 31, 2022

This is the sixth in a series on serving students with severe special education needs. Please read the first part for an introduction to the issue.

“There should be absolutely zero stigmas in regards to special day classes and special education centers.”

- Board District 2 Candidate Dr. Rocio Rivas

Rocio Rivas

In a district that is increasingly hostile to families who have children with special education needs, parents in LAUSD Board District 2 have a particularly difficult time. Since 2006 they have been represented by Monica Garcia, who holds children with disabilities with such little regard that she considers them separate from “our own kids.” Many of these parents are looking forward to waking up on November 9, 2022, and finding out who will replace Garcia, who is being forced from office due to term limits.

The June primary narrowed down the field to two possible successors. Dr. Rocio Rivas, who was the first place finisher in the primary with 44.17% of the vote, will be facing Maria Brenes. Brenes is the handpicked successor to Garcia and has been reportedly endorsed by the California Charter School Association. The borders of Board District 2 were redrawn especially for Brenes by her husband, Luis Sanchez, who was appointed to the LAUSD Redistricting Commission by Monica Garcia and served as its chair.

Dr. Rivas is an LAUSD parent and holds a doctorate in International and Comparative Education from the Teachers College at Columbia University. She has been endorsed by her primary opponent Erica Vilardi-Espinosa who showed her support for providing a full range of special-education programs in her candidate questionnaire.

Both candidates were presented with a list of questions about special education in the LAUSD, but Brenes failed to provide a response by the…



Carl J. Petersen
Age of Awareness

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children. www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com