Kids and Hope, Rain or Shine

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Editor,

I want to help our school board make our great Kids and Hope, Rain or Shine schools even better. That happens when school board governance achieves the level of excellence expected of students and teachers.

For two Sundays now students from Thurston Middle School and Laguna Beach High School joined parents going door-to-door with me to meet voters. It was fun for all of us, but the kids asked to do it again.

Last Sunday we got much needed rain, even more fun!  No one was slowed down by weather.

Watching kids explain their own ideas and views to voters reminded me of campaigning for a 1969 school bond with LBHS classmates. Both our families voters we met exemplified our town’s character and diversity.

School board elections should exemplify character and diversity too, restoring a culture of inclusion not exclusion. Lamentably, we saw candidate-profiling rituals of exclusion at the only school board forum this election.

False narratives included irresponsible allegations I want to deny access to our unsurpassed special education program for families that rent rather than own homes in our school district.

First, I’m a civil rights lawyer and that would be unconstitutional.  Second, my wife and I were once renters caring for a grandson in the TOW special education program!

At the forum I noted good stewardship of our special education success story includes preventing liability and lawsuits arising from opportunistic fraud and abuse.  That means consistent compliance with state residency and inter-district enrollment laws.

Fraudulent enrollment based on falsified apartment rental documents is a problem statewide for school districts with high performing programs.  My point was simply that it must be addressed by our school board competently under state Education Code section 48204.1.

For the record, I worked as a severe autism special education classroom aide while earning my psychology BA at Cal-State Sonoma.  Our daughter served as a special education teacher for Los Angeles public schools, and supported the success of our grandson’s SE/IEP at Top of the World Elementary.

As special education boosters, it was sad for us to see emotions and economic class issues for special need kids exploited to score cheap political points.

We’d rather honor kids and families striving to realize each student’s unique potential, in good times and not, come rain or shine.  That’s what Laguna’s small town public schools were always about, and can be again if we make it happen.

Howard Hills, Laguna Beach

The author is a candidate for school board.

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