Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bullis Charter Litigation Crosses the Line, Gets Personal

Today I sent the following letter to the Santa Clara Board of Education. 

To the Superintendent and Members of the Santa Clara County Board of Education,

You will recall that in April of 2012 I sent you a letter containing some of my thoughts about our situation here in Los Altos. As a parent within the Los Altos School District, I was very concerned about Bullis Charter School's impact on our community, and I remain so. I have been very vocal on various Internet forums in my opposition to this school's actions and policies.

I have chosen to remain anonymous and speak through a pseudonym on this issue for the time being. I outlined my reasons in my previous letter. This is an emotionally charged issue here, and there have been incidents within our community involving others who have spoken out against BCS, and I wish to avoid those. I keep only my legal identity (name, address, etc.) a secret: who I am conceptually is no secret to anybody, including the leadership of Bullis Charter School.

Thus far my concern has mostly involved this school's impact on our neighborhood school communities. 

Today that concern has been raised to the next level. I now see that the negative impact Bullis Charter School is having and will continue to have on our community spans far beyond that of mere school facilities. BCS has now firmly established itself as a force of intimidation upon individual community members here in Los Altos.

Please see the following blog posting by Doug Smith, LASD Trustee, here:

To summarize, Bullis Charter School has mentioned my name (my pseudonym) in their lawsuit against our school district, demanding that the LASD Board of Trustees divulge my true identity (which, to be clear, they do not know). As the Board of BCS is well aware of my writing--including my previous letter to you--this aggressive act can only be construed as intimidation of anybody who dares to speak out against them.

My concern, to be clear, is not for myself--for I have absolutely no intention of being silenced by these thugs--my concern is that, upon seeing the tactics they are using against me, other community members will be afraid to speak their minds openly about Bullis Charter School.

I hope you agree with me that this is a very unfortunate development in our difficult facilities situation here in the Los Altos School District. I ask therefore that the Santa Clara County Board of Education issue a clear statement against tactics like this, and the recent actions of the BCS Board of Directors and their legal team. Please make it clear you stand for freedom of speech, and for community members to be able to speak their minds and be involved in their school communities without fear and intimidation.

Thank you,

Joan J. Strong, pseudonym

P.S. Let me state for the record:

1. I do not know, personally, any of the LASD Board of Trustees, past or present.

2. I have never exposed my real identity with anybody except for my spouse (for fear of exactly what is now happening, happening). 

3. I have never discussed anything with any of the LASD Board of Trustees, or any employee of LASD, except as foloows: my sole direct communication with any LASD official consists of a total of three emails in the past 18 months (under this pseudonym), the most recent one being about 10 months ago. Only one was responded to with a short response from one of the LASD Board Members, and the topic of the discussion was generally about form (criticizing my choice of words, tone, etc. in an internet posting), not policy. The other two communications I sent to them were not responded to.

3a. I have never, through any intermediary, communicated anything to the LASD board (except as noted above), nor have they communicated anything to me. 

4. As I stated in my previous email to this body, I have absolutely no official connection to any government office of any kind, including any school, public or otherwise, except as that of a parent in a public school.

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