We have a problem, and it's time it stops getting swept under the rug. It's time that secret parking lot conversations stop being secret. It's time that we do our part to let people know they MUST be paying attention to the school board elections this year in the Conejo Valley Unified School District.
This isn't a conversation about who is right and who is wrong regarding opinions of curriculum or budget. This isn't a conversation about what parents cares more, or what parent's opinion is more important. This is a conversation about certain CVUSD board members abusing their positions to threaten constituents who have voiced opposition to their extremist agendas.
On November 6, 2018, we must go to the polls and support good governance candidates — those candidates who will place a priority on good governance and who would pledge to take the role as a publicly elected representative seriously — with respect.
Freedom of Speech
We all believe in freedom of speech, right? I mean, it's a constitutional right, so I guess that gives it a little weight.
We all believe that, regardless of disagreements, the protection of freedom of speech is vital, right?
So, how would you feel, if — after speaking during public comments at a public school board meeting — one of the board members retaliated against you, a taxpaying constituent and parent, because he disagreed with your contention of a policy clouded in controversy?
That's what happened to me and every resident of Conejo Valley should know about it because you deserve to know who is representing your children's education and our district's reputation and how the current board majority responds to criticism.
Four weeks after giving birth to my second daughter, I attended the school board meeting to share my concerns regarding the alternative assignment policy the district carelessly implemented in January of this year. Two days later, I would come to learn that CVUSD board member Mike Dunn emailed my employer and threatened my employer to silence me, or he would retaliate publicly against my employer as a result.
That is a real thing that happened. And, instead of apologizing, Mike Dunn, who is up for re-election in November, doubled-down. He wrote editorials to the local paper, as well as anyone who emailed him, describing me as a "cyper" bully and accusing me of slandering the district. He described me as a foot soldier for my male boss and gave a statement to the local news stating that I was waging war against Christianity and hurting the economy.
During this time, board president John Andersen, who is also up for re-election this year, went radio silent... responding to no one, refusing to offer even a courtesy response to the email I sent to the board in the aftermath.
On the night of Mike Dunn's censure (his second official censure — his third was overturned on a technicality) Mike Dunn didn't show up, having John Andersen read a written statement in which Mike Dunn said his wife made him stay home. Mike Dunn did not show up to listen to his constituents — those he is elected to serve and represent. Those he threatened. Mike Dunn did not and will not and has not taken any responsibility for his behavior or actions in this matter.
The resolution stated that if censured, I and my employer were due written apologies from board president Andersen, recognizing our good standing in the community.
Three weeks would pass before I received my letter — suspiciously absent of the words, "I'm sorry," and any mention of what had been outlined in the resolution. I think it's even safe to suggest the letter was not written by Mr. Andersen.
The harassment and threats I have been the target of due to Mike Dunn's actions are a story for another day, but it's worth mentioning they exist because Conejo Valley residents should be aware of how the CVUSD board majority treats constituents with whom they disagree.
Adding further alarm to a dysfunctional-at-best board (we can talk about Sandee Everett lying on her candidate ballot and deceiving the community with her false claim that she is a school counselor another time), we recently learned that board president John Andersen went behind the board's back and used more than $1,000 of district funds to file a public records information request to the California Dept. of Education, demanding that they provide the names and exchanges of any community members that had corresponded with them regarding the CDE's annotations, and CVUSD's effort to abuse the use of the annotations in its alternative assignment policy.
So, Mike Dunn is comfortable with directly threatening community members and John Andersen is comfortable with requesting a list of community member names in connection to the wildly unpopular, contentious alternative assignment policy he fast-tracked?
And, have we talked about the lawsuit against the district last year that contained filed evidence of examples of Mike Dunn violating the Brown Act on numerous occasions, sharing private information from closed session with friends? As a result, the entire board was ordered to attend governance training — none of which Mike Dunn attended despite being the reason for the training.
We can disagree about everything under the sun, and that's fine, but here's one thing we can agree on: dysfunction and corrupt board members have no place or role in the CVUSD. We must demand a change in November and we must vote for good governance candidates who will be advocates for the students, not extremist agendas of any kind.
After a recent poll during a canvassing event, it was discovered that less than 30% of people in our community are aware of these abuses of power in our school district. Talk to your friends, neighbors and families. Don't assume that people know. Inform them.
Both Mike Dunn and John Andersen are up for re-election.
November 6, 2018 #donewithdunn #adiosandersen