If the Brentwood Union School District wants to begin reestablishing any form of credibility, it will need to immediately fire Superintendent Merrill Grant, Loma Vista Elementary principal Lauri James and teacher Dina Holder. After that is done, the healing process can begin.
Since the story broke about a 2010 incident, in which teacher Dina Holder pulled a 5-year-old student from his chair and kicked him as he lay on the ground, things have not improved with the actions of the Superintendent or the Board, its actually gotten worse as the District has taken a “protect our butts” stance while blaming California laws. Okay fair enough, but the lack of effort in trying is more disturbing.
I would hope the school board realizes that when a child is messed with, parents will not go away. Parents will continue to advocate for action until it occurs. Parents band together and unfortunately, it puts the school board in an unfriendly situation. The truth is, the longer this drags on, the worse it is for everyone associated with the District–and the City of Brentwood.
The school board needs to put on its “big boy pants” and begin taking the leadership position to begin the firings or seeking of resignations immediately. For obvious reasons, resignations would be the cleanest and fastest ways to move forward, but it’s been weeks and their has been no action, just lip service.
Here is a brief summary:
- On January 15, story breaks about the $950k settlement.
- On January 16, we get a poor explanation from Superintendent Grant that “Teacher dismissals are very complex, very cumbersome and it takes a lot of time” He then said laws prevented him from firing the teacher. No, he didn’t try hard enough 2 1/2 years ago.
- On January 24, there is the meeting where the School Board spoke through their lawyer stating how the course of action was justified by moving her to another school while changing her grade level. Wrong, they could have fired her if they had just attempted to do so as this is a non-union school district. It should be noted, the School Board didn’t plan for a large audience and held their meeting in too small of a room.
- Then last night, Brentwood finally gets its much deserved apology which is too little too late.
It’s been 15-days and very little action has occurred. At this point, actions speak louder than words. Stop with the apologies and explanations and take the appropriate action towards removing the trio from the District. Then move forward with the healing process and putting policies in place. People will forgive and move forward in time, but not under this leadership.
While I hear people state that they need to fix the process and policies first, then fire, I reject that philosophy. You can’t expect those people who screwed this up that badly to fix the problem. This is technically not even a policy problem, its a lack of action problem because when the incident occurred, there was already processes in place. They also had 2 1/2 years while this was going on to fix its reporting policy and are just now waiting to it after the story broke? Give me a break. They are in reaction mode, not proactive mode.
As a parent, I am not quite sure what this Board is thinking. When injustice towards children occurs, parents band together and ensure proper actions occur and will not stop until justice occurs. For that very reason, this is not going to go away.
While I applaud the group of parents who announced the formation of the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education, more needs to be done by parents ensure the Board moves forward with appropriate action by hitting the District where it hurts—financially!
If parents really want to make an impact, begin issuing transfer requests out of the special needs classrooms within the District—it takes away that money.
A much larger impact is strategically keeping children home from school which also hurts the district financially and at a much larger impact. You have two options here which is a massive “sick out” of all schools or rotational. Or, one kid per classroom each day until the Board “gets it”.
Is a “sick out” a bit extreme to suggest? probably! But the lack of actions by the Board is disturbing to say the least.
It’s been two-weeks since the District stated they believed their actions were appropriate. Parents suggest otherwise and I’ll side with the parents on this. If Superintendent Grant and the Board can’t do the right thing, its time to begin “sick outs” and find new Board Members who will do the right thing going forward.