Down in the Capistrano Unified School District, the ex-principal of San Clemente High, Michael Halt, was recently allowed to work as a principal in another district in the school, but not at SC High.

The reason or reasons for his partial termination and possible reassignment were not given, with everyone hiding behind the usual “personnel matter” excuse.

(I have a guess as to why Halt was sort-of fired but I can’t discuss it because it is a personnel matter.)

But here is what I can discuss: I have not read one word of outrage from Halt. No protests, no condemnations, no claims of injustice. And leads me to think that there was some justification for the board removing him from SC High. Yeah, it’s a guilty until proven innocent approach, but there is some merit and some research behind this position.

Contrast that to the complete termination of ex-N-MUSD HR head John Caldecott, who continues to demand justice in the form of a hearing. That’s really is all he is looking for – a chance to tell his side of the story to the school board. But, they refuse to hear it and Caldecott just keeps upping the ante.

It seems to me that anyone who is so determined to get his day in court has some sort of case.

Unfortunately, he is working against a school board that preaches fairness on the playground and has a strong anti-bullying policy, but will not extend the same consideration to a valued 10-year employee.

If a student complained to a teacher about an incident of hazing or bullying, the teacher would take the matter to the principal, all sides would be heard and a decision would be made. But if you work for the district – even if you have put in your time and done a good job – you are exempt from the rules that apply to kids.

Caldecott is being bullied, plain and simple.

Life’s a Beach

Here an excerpt from a 5/20 story in the Huntington Beach Independent: “About 200 Huntington Beach City School District teachers and community members gathered on the corner, drivers honked their horns and gave thumbs-up signals in support [of a pay raise for teachers]. 

Teachers in Huntington Beach got a 5% raise last year, the first one in 8 years. Yes, you read it correctly – no raise in 8 years, long before the recession.

I’ve never attended a Huntington school board meeting but it’s probably the same as ours: Several well-meaning but unqualified citizens rubber-stamping staff recommendations and handing out a lot of awards. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Some of those awards are given to teachers. There’s probably an award for teacher of the year, one for best teacher in each subject, and one for the best teacher in each school. Lots of teacher awards. Yay!

But while the teachers were being denied their raises, I’m going to bet that the top administrative folks got salary increases. I’ll check on that and report back and if I’m wrong, I will conduct (more) community service – that’s how sure I am of this.

Here’s what I know for sure: The teachers in N-MUSD want more money, but what they really want is respect. They want an end to a district that pleads poverty but hires more managers. They want the school board to stop preaching about how teachers are their greatest asset, yada, yada, yada, then turn around and try to cut or put on hold their hard-earned compensation. They want an end to the toxic environment in which they are afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation. In short, they want an end to the hypocrisy.

Ooops. I just noticed that I opened the last paragraph with “N-MUSD.” I meant Huntington Beach, of course.

Steve Smith

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