Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dr. Leonard Hernandez continues CVESD's policy of hiding Castle Park Elementary secrets

On May 27, 2008 Dr. Leonard Hernandez from the CVESD office asked a group of about fifty Castle Park Elementary parents what kind of person they wanted as their twelfth principal in under fifteen years, and then told them that the district would make a decision within about two weeks.

He told parents he didn't want to discuss why yet another principal is leaving Castle Park.

He also didn't want to discuss the group of teachers that holds power at the school. Of the five teachers that the district transferred from the school in 2004, one has returned (Nikki Perez), and others exert great influence from outside the school, particularly from the teachers union office (Chula Vista Educators).

The teachers who control the school call themselves the "Castle Park Family," and they have been able to call the shots at the district office for seven years now.

After the district and its lawyers (Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz) made the serious mistake in 2001 of covering up crimes committed by some of these teachers, the district ended up paying $100,000s of dollars to the lawyers.

Then the district found, to its surprise, that the teachers were not grateful at all. Instead, the teachers were determined to keep calling the shots, making it impossible for the district to transfer trouble-making teachers out of Castle Park Elementary.

I believe that Castle Park Elementary (which I attended in the fifties, and worked at from 1997-2001) will never return to normal function until the district engages in some open and honest discussion, modeled on South Africa's "truth and reconciliation" committees.

The district and Castle Park Elementary teachers should quit hiding the crimes and other wrongdoing, say they're sorry for the harm done, and start some honest discussions about human decency and appropriate professional behavior for teachers. Then instead of worrying about how to keep their secrets hidden (as Dr. Leonard Hernandez demanded at the meeting), they could put all that energy into helping children become healthy, strong, honest, law-abiding, well-educated citizens.

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