Thanks to Sarah Steindl for her City Page interview of 2022 CUSD Board President Esther Valdes-Clayton. We the Parents Coronado were encouraged by Trustee Valdes-Clayton’s support for parent participation in guiding Coronado schools.
A word is needed concerning her claims regarding the “facts and law” that led to the District’s decision not to appeal the California Interscholastic Federation’s (CIF) nullification of the Islander’s CIF basketball championship and CIF’s levy of sanctions on CHS athletic programs. In her interview, Trustee Valdes-Clayton appealed to truth. She declared “we have to attach ourselves to what reality truly is.” We the Parents Coronado agree. Truth is that which corresponds to reality.
Truth 1: The District’s investigation found no evidence racism played any part in incidents following the Islander’s buzzer-beating championship win.
Truth 2: The CIF nullification was justified based on an assumed premise of racism. That is not true. There is no truth in it.
Truth 3: The only evidence CIF cited supporting racial animus were the statements of the CUSD Superintendent and the now infamous Board of Trustees “racism, classism and colorism” statement written by Trustee Valdes-Clayton. Though later rescinded, by a 3-2 vote of trustees, Trustee Valdes-Clayton voted with the minority, reasserting it was true. It was not true. It vilified the team, CHS and the Coronado community.
Caveat 1: In the “heat of the moment,” in this era when dishonest activists routinely misuse snippets of video on social media to create false narratives to serve their political ends, it is understandable Trustees felt an urgent official statement was necessary prior to investigating the facts “to get ahead of the narrative.” While careless and irresponsible, in retrospect, it is understandable.
Truth 4: Not one of the Varsity young men who played their hearts out to win the championship did anything wrong.
Truth 5: the investigation confirmed two 14-year-old JV athletes the coach invited to experience varsity playoff competition from the bench, neither of whom played, did throw tortillas. We agree these two students should be “challenged to do better.”
Caveat 2: it is important to note the investigation confirmed these two students acted only after being prompted to do so by an adult political activist who planned and orchestrated an incident that resulted in a “viral” media campaign painting a school with over 40% minority enrollment, most of whom are Hispanic, as rich (classism), white (colorism), racists (racism). Where do you suppose such ideas came from?
Despite this, Trustee Valdes-Clayton dismissed the idea that our CIF Champions and CHS athletic programs were, in fact, being punished because of the bad behavior of adults. She claimed correction of wrongdoing is not punishment.
Truth 6: CUSD purposefully withheld the findings of its investigation from their CIF appeal. The CIF appeal board wanted to know why, so do we.
Truth 7 (truth 3 revisited): official public statements of the superintendent and the trustees, adults all, were the only evidence of racial animus cited by CIF. These same adults should have been advocates for justice. These adults should have defended, rather than slandered, the students and the community whom they so blithely defamed.
We the Parents Coronado propose: if the Board of Trustees sincerely desires to rebuild trust with the community, the foundational first step is to apologize for publishing personal opinions masquerading as truths. Their claims were not true. The official statements from these adults defamed and divided our community. The actions of these adults directly resulted in a grave injustice being visited upon a group of student athletes, a school and a community that deserved better from its public officials.
As president, Trustee Valdes-Clayton now speaks for the board. The opportunity for repentance, in the form of a no-nonsense apology, is now upon us. We the Parents Coronado urge this opportunity not to be dismissed as irrelevant “old news” or squandered by hiding behind legalistic doubletalk. Given the challenges CUSD faces, our community will, we surmise, forgive the Board’s absence of the courage necessary to persist in seeking justice; but only if the truth is stated plainly and forgiveness is asked. To err is human.
Finally, We the Parents Coronado agree that truth should guide all efforts to reform Coronado schools to meet 21st century challenges. The Board should refocus CUSD on academics vs. harmful politics that hurt our kids, our schools and our community.