Put Students First? Disingenuous Rhetoric!


School board trustees are supposed to be apolitical. Trustees are entrusted to serve students’ best interests. However, repeatedly the SDUHSD, San Dieguito Union High School District, school board has clearly failed to Put Students First. As a relentless voice for students and families, and advocate for policies that focus on the achievement and well-being of all students, I know the characters, their dirty games, and a bit about their behind-the-scenes practices of the SDUHSD Board of Trustees.

The disingenuous rhetoric of Trustee Michael Allman and the President of the Board, Mo Muir, are just as bad as the teachers’ union’s covert tactics. The deceptions and false narrative can no longer be overlooked considering their voting record, decision making, and remarks during board meetings. 

It is imperative that we hold trustees accountable and not be blinded by their political rhetoric.  Let me shed light and explain my assertions. Much of the accounts can be validated by community members, school personnel, and the videos of the school board meetings. 

Issue 1: Restorative justice or zero tolerance policy?

At the December 2021 board meeting, during an agenda item discussion of which disciplinary policy is a better measure for students, Zero Tolerance or Restorative Justice, team Allman-Muir both voted for the Zero Tolerance policy. The Zero Tolerance policy has a traumatic impact on children, and their families, resulting in infliction of emotional distress, financial burden, and even a few students serving at juvenile hall for incidents that had no mal-intent. This traumatic impact is all due to a false sense of panic ensued by school principals and majority vote of trustees behind closed sessions.  

This policy has given trustees the power to punish students heavy handedly, while paying lawyers handsomely. In addition, the lawyers coerce parents to sign agreements, waiving their rights and ultimately families accept, under the threat of an unwarranted expulsion. If you promote Put Students First, would you want your child to be classified as a ‘terrorist threat’ for misusing silly words among their friends? The consequences of classifying students as a ‘Terrorist Threat’ are severe: police barging into the homes of the families, enforcing 51/50 hold, expulsion prior to a full investigation of the incident, a series of administrative hearings with a legal battle that spirals downwards. After a conclusive investigation, even if it is deemed that the child is not a, and never was, a threat, it is rare that the school board reverses their ‘mistaken’ decision. They persist with the expulsion, insist on the student completing a community project and therapy sessions. Even then, parents have to go through a bureaucratic process to expunge the disciplinary record.  

Trustee Muir and Trustee Allman’s Zero Tolerance vote shows that they do not Put Students First. Either they do not have compassion towards the students, or lack the understanding that children are still developing and deserve a second chance to correct their foolish mistakes. However, SDUHSD has employed restorative justice policies or ‘qualified immunity’ policies towards abusive school administrators and teachers. So professionals, who should know better, get a FREE pass for misconduct and abusive behaviors, but children are punished harshly for misuse of words or other silly mistakes. Does that Put Students First? 

The ramification of these decisions is beyond one family and a child. It infects our communities with perverted values and the mental health crisis that has been mushrooming nationwide in the past several decades.      

Issue 2: Bullying, harassment, and false narrative

The Muir-Allman team achieves their goals through bullying, harassment and threats towards dissenting voices. These cowardly tactics have become a common practice among the Allman-Muir select clan. During the February 17, 2022 board meeting, Superintendent James-Ward alleged Trustee Allman harassed her and staff with abusive language. A few teachers also accused Trustee Allman of bullying and harassment.  I too endured personally the Allman-Muir minions’ wrath and bullying. In 2021, Muir-Allman blamed the teachers union for keeping the schools closed. To ensure that schools would reopen in 2021-2022, I initiated the Gibson Recall, a former teacher’s union trustee board member who resigned shortly after we launched the recall. However, not only did Muir-Allman fail to support the initiative, they directly and indirectly used their minions to remove every post or comment about the recall from the Reopen SDUHSD School’s Facebook page. 

Issue 3: Politics above students' best interest

During the October 2021 board meeting, an Anti-CRT [Critical Race Theory] curriculum was up for a vote. Trustee Allman requested to retract the item from the agenda, failing not only his students, but also the Republican supporters.

Issue 4: Enforcing the mask mandate

During the pandemic (2020-2022), despite pleas from parents for mask choice and vaccine choice, not only did they enforce the mandate strictly, but in January 2022, Superintendent Ward emailed parents threatening them not to protest it. Recently, a coalition of twenty-one School Board Members in San Diego County have been advocating for mask choice, however, none of the SDUHSD trustees joined this fight for Local Control. Aren’t Muir-Allman-Mossy trustees, and Superintendent Ward supposed to be the voice for students and their families? These actions show that these trustees ignored the suffering of students failing to prioritize students’ well-being first. Trustee Allman disingenuous support for mask-choice was finally expressed on February 28, 2022. A bit too late.          

Issue 5: Crooked CVRA maps

There are many other examples, but let’s conclude with the recent fiasco of the redrawing of the district maps. Clearly, the board and Superintendent Ward all knew that selecting Map 8 would expose SDUHSD to legal liability. They were warned by the San Diego County Board of Education that “rearranging” the trustee areas, not simply “adjusting” them, would violate the CVRA redistricting process. However, Trustees Muir, Allman and Mossy all voted in favor. One must wonder why these three Republican trustees would vote to make such a fiscally irresponsible decision, when they constantly claim SDUHSD is on the verge of insolvency. 

Map 8 uproots three trustees from their respective areas and would deny one of them, Trustee Mossy, from running in the upcoming School Board Election. Trustee Young would be relocated to Area 1 and Trustee Bronstein to Area 3. At the February 24, 2022, board meeting, Trustee Bronstein stated that Trustee Allman failed to be transparent with the community and is disseminating false narrative and propaganda. Furthermore, several community members voiced that Allman’s conduct as a trustee lacks dignity, civility, ethics and called for him to resign. 

Conclusion: Put Students First Disingenuous Rhetoric

School boards are supposed to be apolitical. However, decisions on this school board are motivated by politics, power and money. You are being fooled if you believe that any of them are Putting Kids First! SDUHSD has been hijacked by a Board majority that claims to have ‘conservative values’ and blames the teachers’ union and left leaning liberals for harming children.  What difference does it make if you are a Liberal or Conservative when you fail to vote for student first policies?  What difference does it make if you are a democrat or republican when you fail to advocate for students’ best interest?  

Putting Students First is a delusional rhetoric at SDUHSD. I would confidently say that this paradoxical playbook has been playing out in many school districts nationwide.  School board trustees have failed not only our children and community but infested a culture of perverted values and deterioration in mental health ranging from self-harm to harming others.   

They failed to support restorative justice, failed to reopen schools, failed to support mask and vaccine choice, failed to provide transparency and accountability, failed to be role models for the next generation – just countless failures. However, they sure excel in bullying, deceptions, false propaganda, cowardly behaviors, and ugly political maneuvers.  

How can we hold trustees and administrators accountable?

We need leadership that embraces diversity of thought, to fuse controversial perspectives into innovative solutions to bring unity. We need leadership that makes decisions to restore trust and confidence to make school a safe environment for everyone. We need to vote in trustees that have proven track record and courage to Put Student First driven by principles, policies, and proper processes, as this is paramount to the roles they have been entrusted with. 

If you are a parent or community member, it is time to speak up and hold School Board Trustees accountable.  Your child may not be impacted today, however, do not wait for that moment to be tested. The rude awakening is filled with many tribulations. Be engaged:

  • Attend board meetings
  • Understand their stances and motivation on issues 
  • Inspect and verify the accuracy of their ‘policies’    
  • Compare their voting record against their stances   
  • Ask questions to challenge and gain knowledge 

No public official is shielded from public pressure; Your Voice is Your Power.

Your power is in your voice. Your voice counts. No public official is shielded from public pressure; therefore, it is imperative to speak up assertively and act responsibly. When you encounter an issue or your goal is to influence board members, here are some tips: 

  • Reach out to trustees initially in private via email or a phone call 
  • Always start with appreciating their hard work sincerely  
  • Present to them the background and context of the issue 
  • Request to understand their stance on the issue  
  • Challenge the disparities highlighting:
    • Facts 
    • Expert opinions 
    • Impact on (your) kids (emotional, academic, mental) 
    • Board bylaws and policies 
    • Education codes and/or other state and federal laws 
    • Their campaign promises  
  • Elicit advice on how to resolve the disparities or the issue 
  • Keep all communications respectful and in written form  
  • If no resolution is achieved in private, then now you may take it public:
    • Share your story with trusted community members  
    • Use the name of the specific board member or administrator  
    • Speak at the aboard meeting and refer to the documentations with names  
    • Write an editorial on social media or newspapers with names 
    • Organize a protest 
    • Start a petition 
    • File a complaint with the appropriate agency if any applicable laws or regulations have been violated   

If you still don’t get the desired resolution, join others, collaborate, it is just a matter of time until bad behaviors are fully exposed.  

Do not be blinded by empty words. Pay attention to the trustees’ voting record, decision making, and deliberation on the school board.   

Think critically, speak up assertively, and act responsibly to better oneself, friendships, and communities.

If you still don’t get the desired resolution, join others, collaborate, it is just a matter of time until bad behaviors are fully exposed.  

Do not be blinded by empty words. Pay attention to the voting record, decision making, and deliberation on the school board.   

Think critically, speak up assertively, and act responsibly to better oneself, friendships, and communities.

Sources Cited:

    • SDUHSD Board Meeting December 16, 2021
      Zero Tolerance or Restorative Justice Policy Discussion
    • https://thecoastnews.com/school-threats/
    • San Diego Union Tribune February 15, 2022
      SDUHSD Trustees fail to join San Diego Coalition of Trustee to Fight the Mandate or Mask-Choice
    • SDUHSD Board Meeting February 17, 2022
      Superintendent Ward accused Trustee Allman accused of bullying and harassment
    • SDUHSD February 24, 2022
      Trustee Bronstein accuses Trustee Allman of false narrative and propaganda
    • SDUHSD February 28, 2022
      Trustee Allman finally supports mask choice
    • SDUHSD October, 2021 Board Meeting

Allman’s Motion to Remove the CRT Ban from the Agenda

  • 2021-2022 SDUHSD Board Documents and Videos
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt