October 12, 2001

Editorial

Ya Basta With Braun, Lopez, Ottinger & Bersin!

Grand Jury Investigation Requested; Faith in School System Shaken!

La Prensa San Diego broke the story on Friday Oct. 5 that in a fit of rage School Board Trustee Sue Braun threatened to shoot Trustee John de Beck and Frances O'Neill Zimmerman. Her threat was sent via e-mail on the school district's computer system which is fed throughout the entire district. Since that time, the district has been in turmoil.

La Prensa San Diego has been investigating the ongoing battles between Trustees Sue Braun, Ron Ottinger, Edward Lopez, John de Beck, Frances Zimmerman, Superintendent Alan Bersin, parents, teachers, administrators and community groups, board meeting after board meeting. At issue is Superintendent Alan Bersin's "promising" reform plan.

The Bersin plan is strongly opposed by Trustees de Beck and Zimmerman. They are joined in their opposition by teachers, parents, educational groups, administrators and large segments of the communities that lie within district boundaries. The reform plan most significantly impacts the schools located in the African-American, Mexican-American, Filipino and other minority communities.

Bersin, a non-educator, promised to improve the educational achievement of all students. When state-wide testing results, as well as other indicators, became public, it was clear that Bersin and his out of town team had FAILED! In the affected school areas either NOTHING HAD CHANGED or conditions had worsened.

La Prensa San Diego became aware of the Braun threat on October 2 and immediately began investigating the facts behind it. Trustee de Beck had reported the incident to the police and requested protection for himself and Frances Zimmerman.

On Oct. 3rd, the editorial decision was made to publish the story in the Oct. 5th edition, to make the general public aware of the situation between the Trustees, the Superintendent, parents, teachers, administrators and community organizations and to alert them to Sue Braun's shooting threat.

In accordance with the existing regulations regarding the issuance of threats, in particular those that involve or hint at the use of weapons on school grounds, La Prensa San Diego felt that Sue Braun should immediately be removed from active participation in the school system until an official investigation could be made by the proper authorities. All regulations that apply to the students on making threats and the use of guns are applicable to all personnel, whether they are school employees, students, trustees or superintendents.

The obvious lack of concern or action by Trustees Lopez & Ottinger, and the Superintendent is alarming and indicates that the Trustees and the Superintendent have abandoned their responsibilities to their students, teachers and administrators. They were incapable of or unwilling to take any steps to resolve the issues brought on by the Bersin administration, OR to report the death threat once they became aware of it.

THEIR FAILURE TO ACT on the death threat, along with their failure to move to resolve the serious problems that have arisen due to the Superintendent's reform plan, points to the conclusion that Susan Braun should immediately be removed from the board by whatever legal means possible. Trustees Edward Lopez and Ron Ottinger, and Superintendent Bersin, must be immediately charged with failure to report a serious threat by use of a gun under the Education Code and Civil Law. The Superintendent must be immediately terminated and the state must take over the San Diego Unified School District until the situation is resolved. There is no longer any confidence in the administration of our schools as led by the current Superintendent and Trustees Sue Braun, Ed Lopez and Ron Ottinger.

With the failure of the County District Attorney, Paul Pfingst, to do his duty on this issue, it is now imperative that a Grand Jury be immediately impaneled to investigate this matter. The citizens will not tolerate the "BUSINESS AS USUAL" attitude or the "CIRCLE THE WAGON" mentality presently underway.

OUR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION IS AT STAKE AS IS THE SURVIVAL OF OUR PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM AS A VIABLE MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. IMMEDIATE ACTION IS REQUIRED!

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