Readers comments 5.23.12

5 Second Film Festival

Dear Editor:

On behalf of our volunteers, I wish to thank you and the community for your support of our 4th Annual Claremont 5 Second Film Festival.

This year’s event showcased films from around the world along with movies made locally. The Back Abbey was the perfect setting for the reception and the Laemmle Theatre is, of course, synonymous with independent films.

We are pleased that the show attracted an audience from throughout southern California along with industry professionals from Hollywood.

Proceeds from the show are used to help deserving children and their families during the holidays.

We look forward to our fifth annual festival next May. During the year, we will provide film-related workshops and  opportunities for local students to learn the art of filmmaking.

Vincent Turner

Claremont Community College


Not abuse

Dear Editor:

As a pastor and a teacher I have done a lot of research about, and had considerable experience of, child sexual abuse. An occurrence like this, between 7- and 8-year-olds, is not child sexual abuse.  See references below.*

Though she covered the story well and otherwise sensitively, I invite the reporter to further research the subject.

Furthermore, I don’t understand why it was the [principal’s] responsibility to report anything to DCFS when it wasn’t a case of child sexual abuse and when it had already been reported by the family of one of the children.

I agree his not being honest about reporting the incident was a failure in wisdom, but confusion about what constitutes child sexual abuse in this instance is a major part of the problem.

*   American Academy of Child and

     Adolescent Psychiatry

     American Psychological Association

     National Center for PTSD

    U.S. National Library of Medicine

Judith Lane Chatfield



The health of our civic culture

Dear Editor:

There is probably no more humbling and thankless job in American public education than to be legally entrusted, by election, to a school board seat.

Board members are “civilians” who depend on the judgment of the professionals they employ, and they bear responsibility for the quality of schools today and in the future. Schools, boards, peopled by unsalaried volunteers, are where the buck stops. Lawyers know that schools may be cash-poor but can be intimidated into signing big checks to settle lawsuits.

The decisions about Frank D’Emilio’s future must have been heartbreaking to make, and one suspects our board knows how out-of-balance things have become. But one needs to ask: Has the fear of damaging litigation been weighted too heavily? Are we being bullied by lawyers unconcerned about the health of our local civic culture?

Insights from 2 former board members, Joan Presecan and Nat Lord, are instructive. Joan, a parent and teacher, once observed that schools need to be risk-takers. Indeed, if they don’t take risks, the weaknesses of the past will dominate any future agenda.

Nat, a parent and business executive, frequently observed that school boards were too easily bullied by the plaintiff bar. Sometimes, he said, going to court with a suit is the better thing to do. Nat clearly understood his duty to our schools, but also knew that sometimes boards were better off long-term to stand up to the plaintiff bar.

Absent any unknown facts that would unambiguously support the termination of Frank D’Emilio’s employment, I think the CUSD’s decision should side in favor of a man whose excellent character is well-known. An unnecessarily conservative, take-no-risk attitude is a mistake.

We have to ask ourselves a question that our legal counsel cannot: What are we putting at risk to our local civic culture if injustice is allowed to stand?

Richard O’Neill



Board recovers thousands

Dear Editor:

The CUSD board of education reported recovery of $150,000 from former highly paid, short-term Superintendent, Dr. Deceipt, who broke his contract in 2011 in order to move to a more lucrative position.

“Cozy financial deals between school boards and opportunistic superintendents are not acceptable in this district,” stated board member Ms. Concern. “This money will be used to provide sorely-needed materials and incentives to our devoted child-centered teachers, and to cover the expensive costs of getting another superintendent.”

In other actions, the board unanimously supported Frankly Humane, 25-year exemplary employee of the district and principal of award-winning Sumer School, in a so-called but largely imaginary child-abuse issue.

“I am thankful the board had the courage to thoroughly investigate what was in the best interest of the children involved,”  stated Principal Humane. “In a sexually hysterical and fear-based culture, the board could have made the safer C-Y-A decision, which would have destroyed my career and all I have stood for.”

Disclaimer: The above narratives are make-believe.

John Roseman



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