The turmoil within the San Dieguito Union High School District by no means ends.
We’ve seen the failed appointment of Ty Humes, the failed Michael Allman recall effort by the SDUHSD academics union, college closures through the pandemic, masks mandates, the map fiasco, and now the choice to position Superintendent Cheryl James-Ward on administrative go away.
But of all this unrest and commotion, what feels most troublesome is the sudden resignation of former SDUHSD trustee Melisse Mossy.
Someone who’s thought to be a swing vote – an unbiased thinker who’s beholden to nobody – must be trigger for celebration and never an object of contempt.
But no, Mossy was topic to the worst type of derision and disrespect.
She was bashed mercilessly by all sides, as she repeatedly acknowledged in her public feedback, from academics, dad and mom and neighborhood members — for not voting the best way “they” wished.
Her pleas for civility and understanding at quite a few board conferences fell on deaf ears.
Mossy was the recipient of dozens, if not a whole lot, of despicable emails, full with advert hominem assaults on her character that went far past any respectful voicing of constituents’ opinions.
“From what I understand of what took place, it is disappointing that it appears that some teachers and others may have pushed Melisse to the point of resignation,” mentioned SDUHSD Board President Mo Muir. “She strived for consensus and was truly a caring person who always tried to put the kids first.”
When the folks your kids grew up with, associates for many years, folks you worship with, store with, journey with, and have socialized with for years – properly, once they activate you, it will possibly put on anybody down, even these with the thickest pores and skin.
Mossy’s resignation was a tragic signal of what first rate, independent-minded public servants have needed to endure these previous few years, ever since public shows of abusive intolerance aimed instantly at people have in some way develop into acceptable.
This is our neighborhood. Everyone has a proper to disagree. Not to be Pollyanna about it, however the saying goes you can disagree however don’t be unpleasant.
“Disagreeable” is hardly sturdy sufficient to characterize latest conduct at public conferences.
It’s tough to know which straw it was that broke the camel’s again – maybe simply an accumulation of incidents and feedback that drove Mossy to resign.
Those who need to choose sides and proclaim she resigned as a result of of stress to fireplace James-Ward, or as a result of of stress to not – or for some other one particular concern – are simplifying a tough scenario and are conveniently omitting the truth that she obtained poisonous stress from all sides over many points.
After Mossy’s resignation, some of the identical individuals who tormented her have been proclaiming how unhappy it was that she resigned – and never as a result of that they had nobody to select on any extra.
People have to see how their phrases may cause ache. They can’t ship toxic missives after which categorical shock and disappointment over what occurs because of this.
Those who attacked her for a way she voted, come what may, after which refuse to acknowledge their contribution to the damage they brought about, ought to really feel contrition and regret, not shock.
When you drive somebody to the tip of their tolerance stage, what do you count on?
It’s not solely the individuals who say or write offensive feedback, but in addition folks round them who cheer and chuckle and goad them on who share accountability.
At the March 30 college board assembly that centered on the redistricting map, Mossy spoke eloquently about her dedication to the scholars of the district.
“We’re not here for money, we’re not here for power, we’re not here for prestige,” she mentioned. “We’re here to make a difference. We’re here to support our students, we’re here to support our staff who support our students, and we’re here to bring our community together. I serve all of you and I hear you loud and clear. What you say matters to me.”
While she was giving her impassioned speech, SDUHSD Teachers Union President Duncan Brown, within the viewers, put a finger to his head and mimed taking pictures himself, eliciting smiles and laughs from others.
In an e mail to me later, Brown mentioned he had apologized on to Mossy.
“Tensions remain high,” Brown mentioned, “and this board majority could have eased the chaos they created by approving a redistricting process true to the intent of gentle rebalancing. Instead, they chose division.
“I regret that I gave them a reason to distract anyone from the real issues at hand … My actions were wrong and I meant my apology.”
Brown was requested twice to touch upon Mossy’s resignation, however didn’t reply.
Deciding in haste
Also throughout Mossy’s speech, an viewers member was known as out by Mossy herself for mocking her.
In the center of her speech, Mossy interrupted herself to deal with the person, saying, “I’m so sorry Mr. Sorem, I really appreciate you being here, but your actions are distracting to me and are really kind of judging me as I’m speaking.
“So I would just be really grateful if you could just connect with me right now instead of dancing and making fun of me. I’d really appreciate that, thank you.”
Mossy later mentioned, “He was mocking me, making faces, dancing, twirling in circles and very animated.”
This similar particular person, a frequent public commenter at SDUHSD board conferences, spoke earlier throughout public remark interval at that very same assembly and mentioned to SDUHSD Trustee Michael Allman, “Mr. Allman, would you mind looking up so we can see that you’re paying some attention? … Do us at least the favor of pretending like you’re listening.”
Apparently, paying consideration when somebody has the ground doesn’t go each methods.
It’s disappointing that James-Ward didn’t acknowledge that Mossy’s determination to resign might have been made in haste. Instead, she rushed and hand-delivered her resignation letter to the County Office of Education the very subsequent morning.
An emotional determination of such import wants a 24-hour breather, a pause to permit for reconsideration and rational decision-making. Perhaps even a heartfelt dialogue between trustee and superintendent would have been applicable, to make certain there could be no regrets.
Mossy was by no means given the prospect to rethink. She was not afforded the chance to take again that sudden impulse to resign.
Before she was positioned on go away, James-Ward was requested twice for touch upon Mossy’s resignation however by no means responded.
Mossy sincerely believed that to function a college board member was a noble enterprise, one through which she might make a constructive distinction within the lives of college students.
“When people write or speak to you with aggression, hate, and in a demeaning and disrespectful manner, it distracts those who serve from the most important issues at hand,” Mossy wrote to me in an e mail.
“In my case, it’s serving our students and the staff and families that serve those students, and ensuring the district is fortified to be as vibrant, healthy, safe, nurturing and innovative for every single student every single day.
“I felt a lot of hate from pretty much every political group … To those who sent me hate email, please know I read every email. I heard you and I cared about what you had to say. I only wish the same courtesy could have been given to me.”
About her work on the college board, she mentioned, “I realized I wasn’t living up to the high expectations I had for myself in this role and that it was beginning to affect me physically, mentally and spiritually.
“I am forever proud of our district and to those who dedicate their lives and careers to making it a top-level, world-class educational experience.”
To college students, she mentioned, “I am grateful for our students and student board members and am sorry if the adults sometimes aren’t the best role models. The future is in your hands and I believe in you.”
Mossy’s resignation is a good loss for San Dieguito and a tragic commentary on what can occur to somebody who approached public service with integrity and idealism.
Opinion columnist and training author Marsha Sutton might be reached at [email protected].
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