BY JAMES RICKMAN
Although Los Alamos Schools Superintendent Jennifer Guy’s statement regarding a recently closed Office of Civil Rights investigation (link here) was mostly reassuring, it’s still troubling to wonder why the Schools waited more than a year and half before publicly acknowledging the very existence of the incident in the first place—and doing so only after the incident was brought to light at a candidate forum and then subsequently in a local news blog?
The lack of transparency and openness in the Los Alamos Schools system throughout the past three decades at least has been legendary among longtime residents; unfortunately, it seems most in the community have come to tacitly accept it, possibly because many adults are afraid of subtle reprisals against their children in the system if a parent gathers the courage to speak out (but that never happens here, does it?).
I have no children in the system, but our taxes do fund the public education system. As such, I feel it is in everyone’s best interests for a public entity like the Los Alamos Schools to be open and transparent about all manner of issues potentially affecting the schools, its educators, and its students. As a former public-relations-type person, I might even suggest to Superintendent Guy that over-sharing is probably a very good idea, given the fractious period of history in which we are all living.
My parents were teachers here in Los Alamos, so I do understand the challenges educators face here in the Petri Dish of Overwhelming Entitlement that is the Pajarito Plateau. I also understand the horrible strictures imposed upon our front-line educators by the Administrative Elite. So the schools and its employees do have my empathy.
I suppose like many others in the plurality of Moderates, I am exhausted by the near constant debate among members of the far Right and far Left about real or imaginary sex organs and what toilets they belong in. I’m tired of hearing suggestions about banning books, even “bad” books (God bless the librarians). I am tired of whisper campaigns that disparage candidates for school board. Most of all, I’m fed up with schools becoming castles in the Culture War chess game.
That said, I have grown weary of the bunker mentality of a local school administration that is terrified to acknowledge that not everything is always perfect here in Pleasantville. The way I figure it, if Superintendent Guy implemented and empowered a culture of openness and transparency—warts and all—throughout the Los Alamos Schools and led by example, it might diminish the power of the contentious gossip and rumor mills that have bewitched the local culture warriors who whisper their pernicious philosophies from the fringes of our community.