Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kicked out of BCS

This evening, BCS held a meeting to discuss the 2012-13 litigation. They had their attorney, Arturo Gonzalez, come and present his thoughts on the litigation. There was an invitation sent around addressed to "parents and community". A couple of people mentioned it to me, so I thought that I would attend to see what he had to say. I'm a big believer in listening. If you get your news only from one source, your view can get biased. I thought that by attending this meeting, I could hear the unvarnished version from BCS and see if there were any new facts I hadn't considered.

Unfortunately, it never got to that point. A BCS Board Member "asked" me to leave. Their Principal said that it was within her authority to have me arrested. I tried to persuade them to let me stay, and to listen. I have attended numerous meetings at BCS before, and it has never been a problem. I promised that would not disrupt the meeting, or even ask a single question. They were not to be swayed. The BCS Board member harassed and threatened me and said I had no business at the meeting.

In the long run, I wasn't there to create a problem. I just wanted to listen. At some point, though, you cut your losses. When I felt like there was no hope, I left. I was polite through the entire episode, but I was also unambiguous- I wasn't leaving voluntarily.

Inside the meeting, their attorney was telling folks to let other LASD parents stay. He is quite convinced that the facts are on his side, and that rational people will be persuaded by logic and facts and truth. Ironically, I agree with him that it is important to hear all of the facts, which is why I was there in the first place.

I can't imagine barring a community member from a meeting at an LASD school, especially not one that involves such an important issue. Last spring, I went to many LASD schools to discuss the proposed mediation settlement. There were BCS parents in the audience, but I didn't mind. If people want to hear what you have to say, why wouldn't you welcome them? If the facts are on your side, why wouldn't you want someone to hear those facts? Shouldn't those facts be out for everyone to consider?

I want to acknowledge that there were some BCS parents in the room who stood up for the LASD parents who also attended. They encouraged the open dialogue, and I applaud them for it. By that point in the discussion, I'd already been chased out, but I'm glad that some members of the community were able to stay, and I congratulate the BCS folks who were willing to rise above the chaos.

I've been taking a pounding lately from some BCS supporters who keep calling for more meetings and increased dialogue. Yet, on this occasion, when all I wanted to do was listen (and even their attorney said he was fine with me being there), I was chased away. More's the pity.