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Setting the record straight

April 07, 2012

On April 1, the Valley Sun editor offered some thoughts on recent issues involving an LCHS math teacher (“Schools must keep eyes open”).

Much of the editorial is insightful, and the LCUSD Governing Board is grateful to the local press for bringing public education and our schools to the attention of the community.

However, we are compelled to correct some misinformation contained in the editorial, specifically:

Current board policy provides for complaints from any party at the informal level. The issue before the board is whether we will entertain future formal complaints from a third party whose testimony amounts to hearsay.

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Principal mediation, an amendment to the complaint procedure as of June 2011, allows for a principal to follow up on a concern without the teacher's permission, and the source can remain anonymous as long as the concern is a situation that affects the entire class and can be objectively documented or independently corroborated and is a violation of a board policy, district administrative regulation, or agreed-upon policies and procedures of the school site. These concerns need not be firsthand.

No final decision has been made by the board. Further, no proposal has been put forth that would in any way impede any investigation into criminal charges; state-mandated complaint policies and processes for sexual, racial, ethnic, religious or other state-prohibited discrimination; or state-mandated policies and complaint procedures covering safety, physical disrepair or lack of required instructional material.

The board has agreed on a number of changes that will strengthen the effectiveness of the complaint process.

At present, the board has not finalized how best to treat third-party formal complaints from those who have no direct knowledge, no direct information or no direct evidence.

We have formed a Superintendent's Subcommittee, comprising Supt. Wendy Sinnette and board members Ellen Multari and Joel Peterson to recommend policy language to the board that will clearly define our district's commitment to the free flow of information, to a full and fair investigation of any allegation, and to protect the interests of all involved parties.

The board appreciates the interest of the local press in issues of public education and efforts to heighten the community's awareness of critical issues affecting our school district.

Scott Tracy

President, LCUSD Governing Board

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