Sunday, 19 May 2024

Thornton: It’s time for a change in Lakeport Unified School District

I went to two school board meetings Thursday.


The first was at the board room at the district office. A room full of concerned teachers, parents, LUSD staff (past and present), and community members. I was there to voice my opinion as a homeowner, taxpayer, voter, aunt, and concerned parent of a child that is supposed to start Lakeport Elementary next year. I stood in front of the school board as they stared blankly at my face, not listening to a single word I said.

You can copy and paste that for every single person in that room. We all stood in front of the school board as they stared blankly at our faces, not listening to a single word we said.

The second meeting was yesterday evening. The seats in the MAC building were full of the same crowd that was at the earlier meeting, plus all of the other teachers, parents, and community members that were cheated out of the opportunity to go to the 2 pm meeting because it was sprung up out of nowhere in the middle of the work day.

More people stood in front of the blank stares of the same board that we did earlier. More people pleaded for the board to do the right thing. More support, more requests for the board to reinstate Rachel Paarsch. Everyone spoke of what a wonderful person, teacher, and principal she is.

The board fired her.

They never explained what Rachel had done. But it couldn’t have been something as awful as the rumors that are being spread around or they wouldn’t have said she’s reinstated as a teacher. Whatever she “did” makes her safe enough to be in a classroom one on one with our children, but not safe enough to sit in an office chair and have a position of any power to make positive changes to try and save our school from the superintendent and the board.

They don’t care about the public opinion. They don’t care about the fact that the students love Mrs. Paarsch. Or the staff. Or the community. And they certainly don’t care about the children at Lakeport Unified School District. The people of Lakeport send their children to a school everyday where the teachers and staff are being bullied by the board and the superintendent. They cemented the fact that anyone who speaks out against the board or the superintendent will be removed from any administrative role and face retaliation.

I am a homeowner in Lakeport. I pay taxes to support this school. I have nieces and nephews that go to this school. I spent my entire school career from kindergarten to high school graduation at this school. This is OUR school. My child is supposed to start school next year and I’m not sure that there will be any teachers left to teach him. How many students transferring districts, how many families now paying for private school, how many teachers and staff leaving is it going to take to make the board realize what the problem truly is. It’s the lack of leadership from the board and the superintendent that have put our school in such a sad state. The fact that any teacher or LUSD staff member that speaks out against the superintendent or the board, or makes any complaint about how the school is being run into the ground puts a target on their back is a PROBLEM. Our school is dying, and the smell of rotting futures is coming from the district office.

Register to vote.

Vote for a new school board.

It’s time for a change.

Sharon Thornton lives in Lakeport, Calif.

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