Readers of this blog will know about the issue that arose in May when my daughter’s school – San Lorenzo Valley High School (Felton, CA) – and all the public schools in Santa Cruz County chose to fly the LGBTQ+ pride flag. This move was egregiously inappropriate, and thus necessitated a response. You can read about the unfolding response in my two posts from May 18th and 19th. Since then, more has taken place. Let me review events thus far, and bring you up-to-speed on some of the recent developments:
Step 1 (May) – Email and letter to the SLVHS principal and the San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District (SLVUSD) Superintendent (who has since begun what is, I trust, a well-earned retirement from her career in education).
Step 2 (May) – A second email to the SLVUSD Superintendent, based on her response to my first communication.
Step 3 (May) – An email to Dr. Faris Sabbah, the Superintendent of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, and our five county supervisors – Mr. Zach Friend; Mr. Ryan Coonerty; Mr. Greg Caput; Mr. Bruce McPherson; Mr. Manu Koenig. In this email I described my concern and also attached both my initial letter to the SLVHS Principal/SLVUSD Superintendent, and the letter sent by my daughter. The only response I received back came from Dr. Sabbah. You can read his letter to me here.
Step 4 (June) – On June 6th, I sent a letter (via email attachment) to the five members of the SLVUSD Board of Trustees, preparatory to participating in the public comment portion of their June 9th meeting. You can read a copy of that letter here.
Step 5 (June) – On June 9th, I spoke virtually during the public comment portion of the SLVUSD Board of Trustees meeting. For approximately two minutes I outlined the objection to the inappropriate display of the LGBTQ+ pride flag over public school campuses.
Step 6 (June) – Approximately two weeks ago, I called the S.C. County Supervisors’ office inquiring as to why none of the supervisors responded to my May communication. The administrative person who answered politely listened, expressed concern, took my phone number, and indicated (as I understood her) that I should hear back from the supervisors.
Step 7 (June) – Yesterday, June 28th, I called the S.C. County Supervisor’s office a second time, expressing my profound dissatisfaction with not having heard back from any of our elected representatives. Once again, the administrative person who answered listened, took my contact information, and stated that she would notify the supervisors.
Step 8 (June) – Also yesterday, I responded to Dr. Sabbah’s letter to me from May 19th (see above). While I appreciate Dr. Sabbah taking the time to write, his response did not adequately address the situation. You can read my letter to Dr. Sabbah here. I sent this letter attached to an email, addressed to Dr. Sabbah and, again, to the five county supervisors.
Since this incident began in May, one of the most concerning aspects, from my perspective, is what I’ll call “radio silence.” With the exceptions noted above, I’ve received NO response to the objection I raised regarding the LGTQ+ flag over public schools, and NO engagement with my reasons for why this display was so inappropriate. Mark that…carefully. To date, I’ve contacted ten elected representatives of voters (of which I am one) in Santa Cruz County – our five county supervisors, and the five members of the SLVUSD Board of Trustees – and not one of them has engaged with me personally on this issue. To be fair to the SLVUSD Board of Trustees, my statement to them did not ask for a specific response. And yet, none of the Board’s members acknowledged receiving the letter I sent on June 6th in advance of the June 9th meeting, and none of them has contacted me for discussion in the aftermath of my public comment. I appreciate the work our Board of Trustees does, and I know their time is limited. Nonetheless, this is no small issue and I think it warrants their attention beyond listening to a brief two-minute statement. More egregious in my opinion, after repeated attempts at contact I have yet to hear back in any manner from any of our elected county supervisors. Folks, in a democracy we elect representatives to work in various capacities on behalf of their constituent communities. That requires such persons to be responsive and engaged when members of the community raise serious, substantive concerns…not passively dismissive.
Here’s hoping that the radio silence will end…