theebrandenburgs blogspear

This page is designed to share information about our struggle to gain equity for our unique children and their learning styles in a public education system that is designed primarily to teach a single type of learner, and which is increasingly sidelined by fiscal and philosophical issues that challenge the core of its collective existence. We are especially interested in unique learners, and the talented people who teach them, their families, and our shared value as human beings. We seek the end of discrimination, the end of seclusion, separation, and isolation, as well as an end to chemical and physical restraints that are commonly used to assault our children and our unique interpretations of the world.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

An Auditorium Named After Who?!!!!

by Tony Brandenburg
(12.5.11 rejected by Sierra Madre Patch)
The upcoming naming of the Sierra Madre School auditorium after former principal Gayle Bluemel was received with applause and self congratulatory back patting by the people who went through the effort of pushing this through with both the Board of Education and the local bargaining unit. There will be fanfare, and there will be celebration, and the unicorns will prance under the rainbows, and the sun will smile on Sierra Madre for embracing the administrator of song and dance.
Any of you who know me already know where I am heading with this.
This was a buy off, and the cost was at the expense of my child.
According to a recent article in the Mercury News of San Jose, "Parents said Bluemel helped bring the school community together."  In the grand tradition of wind-breaking fluff pieces the "News" goes on to quote the same parent who nominated Bluemel for the honor. Obviously, theNews didn't bother to find out if there were any dissenters.
Really? She brought the community together?
Well, yeah, she sure did. The "community members and the committee" that came together were a who's who of the fine folks that came up with another resolution. It was the resolution to remove a disabled child from his school based on mass community hysteria and hatred.
The resolution to rename the auditorium was presented to the Board on June 28, 2011, by Kathy Onye, the administrator who changed my child's educational program while the fearful leader was in absentia--on nothing more than a phone call from the police department--and set in motion that he be forced to eat lunch in the hallway in isolation and no longer be allowed to interact with his same age peers.
It must have been all he could do to stay seated, as Board Member and parent petition recipient Mr. Ed scrambled to second it. 
Heaven knows he wouldn't want another forceful letter from former Sierra Madre PTA representative (name scratched out because she only attacks from anonymity, but which is legible if anyone wants to read it) as she berates him for taking too long to move on this important event.
In reading the resolution, I am stricken by the strong similarities and language, almost identical language, between specifics in the resolution, and language that was written about my son in emails between parents and PUSD staff. What am I saying? The writers of this resolution are the same people. In fact, I could tell you their names. I have letters of horrible allegations, threats, and lies that these fine people spread about my child. They damaged my child's reputation, breached his confidentiality, and used that damaging misinformation to remove him from school.
One of these fine parents went so far as to say she would gather up every teacher and parent from my child's former classes and file a class action lawsuit. She then armed her husband with a pack of rumors which he provided to the police department. That doesn't sound like an invasion of privacy? But our fearful leader, Principal Gayle Bluemel, crumbled. Or maybe she just pretended to. The emails to her pal on the school board certainly cast a different, more telling light.
Yes, I know. I am sure I will hear the identical program this year that I have heard for the last ten. Yes, it has been that long. Hummable, catchy preachy little tunes; there is a reason why the kids love them so.
How about this tune, the one I have been humming for twelve months: where is the petition, Gayle? The one you received in the emails that you sent to the OCR? The one that was forwarded to your pal on the school board? The one sent by the PTA representative? Would it be better for me to come to your party with my choir and sing my song to you there? Maybe you can play piano for us and make sure we sing in key, you know, sweeten the mix, so to speak.
Being a great musician doesn't automatically qualify one as a great leader, nor does it follow that being a popular principal means that one is actually an effective one. To the contrary, I found Ms. Bluemel to be terribly ineffective at the times where strong leadership was most needed, and I found her to be contradictory when clarity was most necessary. The last time I spoke to Ms. Bluemel she told me that Sierra Madre is a small town, and that she was glad she lived across Michillinda. That was the only time her words were crystal clear to me. She was either playing me, or she was making a statement about all of her little cronies. Either way, I get it.
For my family? Bluemel is synonymous with the sharing of my childrens' and my personal information with members of the PTA for years, while standing by while a group of parents steamrolled over my childrens' rights and my family's dignity, and synonymous with a leader who cried at me instead of standing up for my family when we most needed support. 
She can get all the honey she needs from the drones. Believe me, they are more than willing to shower her with it.
Some of us, however, can read between the lines. We can read between the lines of the documents--the ones that she and her friends up at the district office had hidden from my family for a year until she could scoot off and retire--rather than own up to what she allowed to happen to a child that was being bullied on her watch. She rewarded those same parent bullies of Sierra Madre Elementary School with the removal of 'that' child- MY child- from his home school- and they, in return thanked her with this dedication. 
I move that we call the auditorium Teatro de Stromboli, which featured the little pine-eyed puppet with the long nose. Congratulations Gayle, you and your deceptive little pals deserve each other. I can't wait to let my little puppy come by to christen it herself. 

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