Letter to the Editor: Lawsuit against LCUSD in cheating incident unwarranted

La Cañada High School
A former longtime volunteer within La Cañada Unified decries the lawsuit recently filed on behalf of four Korean students who say they were treated unfairly in a 2018 cheating incident.
(File Photo)

Re: “Lawsuit alleges bias against Korean students,” Nov. 7.

Our two daughters were educated by La Cañada Unified School District from kindergarten through 12th grade, and I was involved as a volunteer. I served five years on the LCF Educational Foundation, two years as PTA president at Palm Crest Elementary, and as a committee member for the first parcel tax that passed. From this vantage point, I’m writing to share my thoughts about the lawsuit filed against LCUSD by four Korean American students and their guardians.

While I’m openly critical of certain aspects of our educational experience, one thing I’ve witnessed firsthand is the remarkable commitment by our current administration to serve each and every student. Both Supt. Wendy Sinnette and Assistant Supt. Anais Wenn began their LCUSD tenures serving as Palm Crest principal, and I’ve watched the mind-boggling work ethic, intelligence and earnest desire for excellence they bring to their positions. I have zero doubts about their integrity and lack of bias toward any group imaginable.

My students both took AP Euro with Bill Lively, and I can vouch for the unmatched rigor he brings to teaching and his lack of tolerance for bad behavior by anyone. I cheered when I heard Jim Cartnal was named principal at LCHS because there had been a long chain of unfortunate administrators in that job, and his top-notch reputation was well-known. We have learned that the prior principal was in the throes of exiting the district so it is not surprising that it was only upon Cartnal’s ascension that action was taken about the cheating issue. It is quite unfair to allege bias based on a misleading scenario as these litigious parents claim.


I don’t know all the facts and all the players, and I am not following the back-and-forth on Facebook. I simply want to say that our administration does not deserve this, and it is so disheartening that parents are refusing to accept the fact of their students’ cheating. I believe our administrators must have a reason for punishing these four students more than other students.

Parents, please stop blaming everyone but your own child or yourself if unethical behaviors took place. You are doing your children a disservice in raising them that way. And if your student has denied cheating and escaped punishment, don’t necessarily believe it’s the truth. Students know exactly who participated in the cheating and to what degree, and it has nothing to do with race but everything to do with ethics. Don’t deflect your responsibility onto our hardworking administrators who must now spend untold years and district dollars fighting a lawsuit that should not have been filed.

Amy Bernhard
La Cañada