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Trustees Affirm Right to Visit Campuses

Responding to a grievance filed by the teachers union, trustees of Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District this week affirmed board members’ right to visit campuses and look over materials.

The Assn. of Placentia-Linda Educators filed a complaint alleging that school board member Roseann Thorn intimidated teachers and interrupted classes at Travis Ranch School during a Feb. 4 visit to the campus, where two of her children are enrolled.

But Thorn, who has been a volunteer at the school for more than eight years, said she was welcomed into classrooms “like an old friend” and permitted to borrow some reading materials to review.

The board’s response, approved 3 to 2, stated that trustees have a right to visit campuses and examine instructional materials, so long as they do not interrupt classes or intimidate teachers. Thorn and trustee Cathy Ann Brooks voted against the response.

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An emotional Thorn said at Tuesday’s board meeting, “I will not allow myself to be bullied, and I won’t apologize for things I didn’t do.” She said the grievance was politically motivated because of her support of phonics in teaching reading.

Union President Randy Dennis said he was generally encouraged by the board’s response but that the union may still seek arbitration if Thorn does not acknowledge wrongdoing and promise to obey district policies.

“I feel good about the fact that the board has taken some positive steps toward solving this,” Dennis said.

Two dozen parents and other community members spoke about the issue, most of them expressing the view that trustees and teachers should stop squabbling and get on with their main job: education.

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“It’s time to get this off the agenda and get on with the business of helping students,” parent Paul Strain said. “This is childish nonsense, and you should all be ashamed of yourselves.”


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