The long-awaited report on the application by Mariners El for state Gold Ribbon status has been completed. The district’s review is also complete and the “complainants and school administration have been notified.”

That is according to an e-mail from Trustee Vicki Snell, who followed up to a much earlier request and gave me a courtesy update, which I appreciate and for which I thanked her. It was nice not having to ask.

Snell also wrote that the district has no plans to release the report.

That’s not a shock, but it’s good news for the district’s lawyers, who will ring up even more legal fees trying to defend the report’s release from a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request which, since they began being filed by John Caldecott, the district has never won.

(Here’s an idea: How about paying the attorneys only if they succeed? Here’s another idea: Since these particular attorneys have been unsuccessful in defending the district against Caldecott’s CPRA requests, how about finding a new legal team? Nah – too logical.)

Win or lose on the CPRA request, the district still loses. There are many parents at Mariners who want to know whether there is any substance to claims of “untruths and inaccuracies” (the OC Register called them “lies”) alleged in a March 28 letter to the district from the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers. They will not be satisfied with the district hiding behind the “personnel matter” shield.

They will be asking the following questions, among others:

  • Are teachers responsible for the  “untruths and inaccuracies?” If so, should he/she be teaching my kid?
  • Is the administration responsible for the  “untruths and inaccuracies?” If so, what disciplinary action will be taken?
  • And if there is any truth to even one of the union’s claims, shouldn’t the Gold Ribbon award be returned? I’ll answer that one: Yes, it should, because it was acquired under false pretenses. Isn’t that the lesson we teach our children? I’ll answer this one, too: Yes, it is.
  • Where is the greater lesson for our children? Shouldn’t they learn that if you do something seriously wrong you face serious consequences? Me, yet again: Of course. But perhaps the district will teach them that covering up is better. Reminds me of that excellent line of narration from the classic movie “A Christmas Story” about telling the truth… “Adults loved to say things like that but kids knew better. We knew darn well it was always better not to get caught.”

I am not, and never have been interested in the fine details of the report. To me, they are secondary to what is being done as a result. It’s really simple… If the Gold Ribbon application was filed with even one “untruth or inaccuracy,” the person or people who is/are responsible should face the appropriate consequences. The sudden absence or demotion of a person or people will be impossible for the district to hide, though you can expect that the reason given will have nothing to do with the report results.

There will be a lot of people keeping their eyes out for anyone in the district who is packing their bags for Siberia.

Oh, and the award should be returned.

Of course, there is always the distinct possibility that nothing will be done. The absurd length of time it took to generate the report was the first indication that the district was attempting the usual stifle, stall, and stymie in the hope that we’d all forget about the whole thing.

And now, here we are, just two days before everyone breaks for ski week and enough time for everyone to forget the whole thing.

How convenient.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD