Letter: Still Not in School

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Just in case you forgot, Laguna Beach Unified School District secondary students are still not in school. Administrators and board members might correct this statement to say they are “in” school, they just are not in school, and hope you will not notice that the middle school and high school are still closed.

The LBUSD leadership wants you to think that being on campus, interacting with peers, staff members, and teachers is not really all that important. They want you to think that getting up in the morning, getting dressed to face the day, gathering sports equipment, dance costumes, and backpacks is just not all that meaningful. They want to remind you that we are in the middle of a global pandemic (even though science shows kids are safer at school). They want you to think that all these kids are better off, tucked behind their computers at home—when really they are isolated, depressed, confused, and starting to unravel.

The board majority and the superintendent are responsible for the greatest failure of our affluent and otherwise engaged district. Parents forewarned the trimester option would be a problem with extra-long Zoom meetings, AP testing concerns, modified college applications, and teachers cramming a year of knowledge into a small amount of time never to be repeated. Goodbye math retention! Hello private tutors!

When finally we went into the red tier many parents begged to let the students go back. But lacking the foresight real leadership requires, our board and superintendent made the decision to stay the course at home online. There would be time enough to go back to class! Until, oops, there wasn’t.

As educators and leaders, our board and administrators should know: education is not just about the classes, it’s the learning that happens when students are around their peers, socially interacting and communicating with other people. Education is an essential function. Our teachers, staff, and yes, administrators are still getting paid as essential workers and we want our kids to actually attend our first-rate schools.

Instead of all their constant self-applause, how about our district leaders show some full-strength humility and self-reflection of how they have betrayed our students. Regrettably, they have not done what is required to lead, inspire or motivate. They have thwarted and recklessly impaired our kids’ education. It’s time they take responsibility and work to get kids back in school.

Amy Kramer, Thurston middle school parent

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