Ms. Mayer's Comment:
Last night the Board of Education voted 4 to 2 to uphold Dr.Schuster’s “Decision” on the Policy 8:030 complaint I filed against a former board member who assaulted me. Members Heneghan and Garg voted no, stating that I should be allowed a hearing.
Member Heneghan stated publicly that he had seen the water bottle hit me. He also disclosed that between $8000 and $9000 was spent on the “investigation.”
Board Members Nelson, Clarin, Turek and Vorobiev voted to uphold the “Decision.” Ms. Vorobiev claimed that there were “inconsistencies” in the fact finding report and that Dr. Schuster was allowed to impose a written reprimand on the former board member. She further stated that in the future, such claims should be filed in a timely manner.
I am disappointed, disgusted and deeply offended by the actions of the board majority last night. They conducted the worst kind of Kangaroo Court.
A kangaroo court is "a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted". Merriam-Webster: Dictionary (online).
That is exactly what happened last night.
First, the majority of the Board denied me a hearing, where I could have publicly explained the reasons why Dr. Schuster’s “Decision” should be amended to impose the sanctions as specified in Policy 8:030. Second, they ignored the evidence I submitted in the written Request for Review that I sent them almost one month ago. (Click to open Request for Review.) Third, their actions proved that they condoned the assault. Fourth, their decision undermined the intent and purpose of Policy 8:030.
Looking at the evidence, there are NO meaningful inconsistencies. The fact finding report pointed out that I and another board member said the bottle hit my arm. The only “inconsistency” is that Mr. Heneghan recalled a different part of my arm, than the part I told the fact finder about. The board has PHOTOS of my arm. Now you can see them too.
For Ms. Vorobiev to assert that there are inconsistencies, means that she has chosen to believe Dr. Schuster’s accusation that I marked up my own arm. It is absurd to believe that in the split seconds after the bottle hit my arm, that I fabricated a story and created the red mark. Ms. Vorobiev is a lawyer. Lawyers are trained to review all the facts and evidence and reach logical conclusions. Only paid lawyers will twist facts in order to reach a pre-determined outcome for their client, as was done last night. An elected official, who is sworn to uphold their duties as a board member should not act as a paid attorney who is hired to reach the outcome the superintendent desired. It is illogical to believe that the bottle did not strike me. In my opinion, last night Ms. Vorobiev did not act as an objective public official and did not act with the integrity we should expect from our elected officials.
But even if any person wants to believe that the bottle did not hit me, it is irrelevant. Dr. Schuster found that the former board member violated Policy 8:030. But having found that fact, she chose to ignore the enforcement mechanism as articulated in Policy 8:030 and crafted her own sanction – a written reprimand. Such a sanction is meaningless when obviously created to allow Dr. Schuster to keep the former board member on the Superintendent’s Finance Committee, an appointment she made AFTER the bottle incident and in complete disregard of Policy 8:030. Her actions have made a mockery out of the prohibited behaviors listed in Policy 8:030.
More importantly, last night the Board majority chose to completely ignore that Dr. Schuster has wielded Policy 8:030 against parents who have not violated it. She was not involved in either of the issues surrounding the two parents, yet Dr. Schuster contacted both parents and made them feel threatened with Policy 8:030. She chose to ignore Policy 8:030 in this case.
That is what Ms. Vorobiev should have focused on, rather than assert that somehow my complaint was not timely. Ms. Vorobiev should have asked Dr. Schuster why she failed to implement Policy 8:030 back in April and why I was the one who had to make the claim months later AFTER I learned about the existence of the policy.
Further, I am shocked that between $8000 and $9000 were spent on addressing my complaint There was no reason to hire a lawyer to prepare the fact finding report. The district has 3 complaint managers – the Assistant Superintendents of Learning, Business and Human Resources – who could have been assigned to investigate the Policy 8:030 complaint. Dr. Schuster chose to hire a lawyer rather than assign one of them. Why would she do that in this case, but not in the Donoroo case? This action speaks volumes on BOTH situations. Draw your own conclusions on why she did this.
Finally, I would address Mr. Nelson who participated only by phone. Listen to the podcast tape and you will clearly hear his demeanor. He’d already stated publicly at an earlier meeting that the 8:030 Complaint was a monumental waste of time. So it came as no surprise that when he was asked last night if he wanted to say anything during the discussion, that he said no. However, his snide and nasty tone and demeanor -- clearly directed at me – were utterly disrespectful and truly saddened me.