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I hadn’t been visited by VAL LYNDER, DEFENDER Of ALL THAT IS TRUE, for a while and I began to wonder if she had left the state, when she waltzed into the office. She looked angry.
“VAL LYNDER,” I asked, “Is something wrong?” I noticed her umbrella was clutched in her hand. Not a good sign.
“I just don’t understand,” she quietly began, “ how the members of the ABC school board did not know what was happening at Stowers Elementary School? Do they wear blinders when something like that happens? That teacher actually threatened to kill two other school teachers. Don’t they ask questions?”
“VAL LYNDER,” I said, calm down. I don’t know what the members of the school board felt or if they knew what really happened.”
“Well they should have known. Hiding behind “It’s a personnel matter” is no excuse. What occurred at Stowers is just as important as the curriculum taught the students.” I could tell she was really upset.
“I’ve been doing some investigating,” she said, “and this policy of sweeping things under the rug has been going on for a long time. I just can’t understand why no one has stepped forward. Are teachers and staff afraid of their jobs or afraid they will lose their retirement?”
I decided I’d better not interrupt her.
“What about the children?” she asked, “It appears the District had less concern about the safety of the children and teachers than the public image of the District.” VAL LYNDER paused a moment. “What I don’t understand is when the principal called the district office, explaining what was happening and asking for some help, the first thing she was told was to get the teacher’s union representative? What did this have to do with the union?”
“That’s a good question,” I said.
Not to be denied, VAL LYNDER continued. “For that matter when District officials arrived on the campus why was the Union President with them? And why did the superintendent (Smuts) tell members (parents) of the PTA the teacher was no longer living in Long Beach but had moved to northern California when he knew he hadn’t moved.”
“Maybe Smuts was trying to reassure the parents it was safe for their children to attend school,” I interjected.
“It looks to me Smuts cared less about the children and teachers’ safety then the reputation of ABC,” she snapped back.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” I said. Before she could respond I continued, “for instance the Superior Court ruled the evidence used questioning the principal’s qualifications to hold her job was fabricated and not true. The court also questioned if the principal’s demotion had to do with her refusing to keep quiet about the incident and reporting it to the police.”
“I saw the videos of the district officials depositions” said VAL LYNDER, “a district official admitted the principal was demoted because she had not followed orders and reported the incident to the police.
“She was correct in her action,” I said. “Protecting her staff and students comes with the job of being principal.”
VAL LYNDER rose from her chair to leave.” It’s almost like there are two school districts,” she asserted, while slowly raising her umbrella. “A public district and a private district.”
Before I could respond she raised her umbrella and brought it down on my desk.
“VAL LYNDER,” I said, “I wish you wouldn‘t do that.”
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