Tuesday, August 15, 2006

D.A. Seizes Capistrano Computer

The saga goes on at Orange County's San Juan Capistrano School District, where district officials are accused of maintaining an "enemies list" with the names of parents and teachers who signed a petition to recall the school board.

Monday the District Attorney seized a computer and various files from the school district's office, and gave grand jury subpoenas to several employees.

Wednesday Update: The district has hired a prominent criminal defense attorney to represent it during the investigation.

Yesterday the district spokeswoman said "We welcome any investigation because we're confident any investigation will show the district did nothing wrong." I can't help wondering why, if that's the case, the district feels the need to hire a criminal defense attorney at this early phase of the investigation.


Blogger jau said...

You are KIDDING me. A school district is being that vindictive about people who expressed their opinions? Golly. And people homeschool? I wonder why.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Your reaction is exactly why I've followed this case with such interest -- the folks in San Juan Capistrano seem much more interested in preserving their own power than in serving taxpayers, parents, and students.

Best wishes, Laura

11:03 PM  
Blogger jau said...

Is this your school district? I'd be pulling my hair out. A criminal lawyer?! That's very alarming. (Maybe there's so much lovely weather and sun that it gets in their brains instead of their eyes!?)

7:53 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

No, this district is in the same county, but south of me. Has a pretty good reputation academically, but they sure don't like those uppity parents trying to have a say in how their taxpayer-funded schools are run!! (Sad grin) Best wishes, Laura

4:19 PM  
Blogger jau said...

My daughter lives in Wilton, CT and will be facing school issues in about two years. I'm fascinated to read about this as she girds for the next twelve years. It's mighty tempting to recommend homeschooling but I worry about breadth of subjects. Did that concern you and what did you do about it? (See, I told you I'd question you more!) Best - Anne

7:20 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

"I worry about breadth of subjects. Did that concern you and what did you do about it?"

Hi! One of the reasons I chose homeschooling is because my children would have the opportunity to do many more subjects than are done in our local elementary and middle schools (the grades I have experience homeschooling thus far). In our curriculum, history and geography begin in Kindergarten, at age-appropriate levels. My 3rd grader will be studying the Renaissance this year. (That was my 6th grader's favorite year of history...she is going to help teach some of his lessons, which will also help review and reinforce what she learned 3 years ago.) At the local elementary school they don't start any sort of history until 4th grade, and we go into much greater depth. My children also have art and music lessons which have been almost entirely eliminated from our local schools so they can spend more time preparing for state testing.

Covering the variety of subjects at the high school level is something I'm still considering and researching before we make a decision there --

Best wishes, Laura

9:09 AM  
Blogger jau said...

Very interesting. I guess I didn't realize how much had been reduced at the grammar school level. It would upset me very much if my g'ds don't get history, geography, art, etc. until 3rd or 4th grade. I was thinking, though, that an individual can't possibly have a piano, a trumpet, a violin,... available to try. But if the school doesn't either, then what does one do? Boy, it's difficult! Best - Anne

9:27 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

We've got a piano, trombones, and a flute, though no one plays the flute these days (it was mine). We've also got recorders and tambourines which get a heavy workout. :)

A couple homeschool families we socialize with meet on Fridays for music so the kids can sing along together, and the moms take turns teaching the lessons... I know there's a band for homeschoolers in our area but we haven't checked it out. I suspect community activities and resources for homeschoolers will continue to grow as it is becoming a mainstream educational choice and so many more people are doing it.

Although our local school still has a chorus for 5th and 6th graders, the music program below that age is virtually non-existent. It's really sad. I have such nice memories of singing along with the autoharp and piano in school at that age. In our curriculum they learn both the fundamentals of music (rhythm, note values, etc.) and music appreciation (listening to works of great composers as well as learning lots of good ol' American folk music).

Hope you're having a good weekend! Laura

10:21 PM  
Blogger jau said...

Thanks, Laura, yes it's a nice weekend. Hope it is for you, too.

You make homeschooling sound very appealing. Exciting, even! Much like the small nurturing school I went to in Greenwich Village and the one my children attended upstate. Learning can be so wonderful. (I'm taking a French literature class at the moment.) So why do I still feel wary about homeschooling? Is it just residual fear of breaking a mold?

7:55 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

"So why do I still feel wary about homeschooling? Is it just residual fear of breaking a mold?"

That was an issue for me. I'm a traditional type person, and it was scary going "outside the box." It took several years of research before I felt ready to make the step. We honestly loved my son's private Montessori school, which was small and family like and welcomed parental involvement, but that wasn't something we could sustain financially for all our children simultaneously. Any educational option will have pros and cons, but the "pros" eventually weighed so heavily we made the jump. The combination of educational quality and knowing what my children were being exposed to were major deciding factors; it increasingly bothered us that at the public school we had absolutely no say-so about who our children were with over 30+ hours a week. That's a *lot* of time!

One of the things I've found, as I've alluded to somewhat before, is that while it's different, there are new "pluses" that replaced some of the positives that we gave up. There have been a couple times we've been at events and I've thought "Just think, if we weren't homeschooling we'd never have experienced this!" (Next Thursday we're attending an "end of summer" root beer float social, grin.)

Whatever your daughter ends up deciding, I hope she's happy with the educational journey! And I'm always happy to answer additional questions about our family's experience.

Best wishes, Laura

12:22 PM  
Blogger jau said...

I suppose the people attending your social are too old for this, but one of my all-time favorite really silly jokes asks the rarely-so-apt question "Do you know how to make an elephant float?" (Well, do you??)

You're very generous with your time answering my meandering questions. Thank you.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Laura said...


There were many people who were very generous sharing info with me when I was considering homeschooling, and I'm always happy to "pass it on" and help others as best I can. :) It's a fun topic!

BTW, your French literature class sounds wonderful! I envy some of the experiences my daughter will have at college this semester, delving into similar topics in such depth. --Laura

1:12 PM  
Blogger jau said...

I stopped by my computer on the way to dinner and saw your note. Thanks! What a nice person you are. I think it would be very enjoyable to have some long rambling conversations with you. The internet is a wondrous thing. And I'll keep that dinner in mind as a reward for something, down the road. Have a good evening. -Anne

4:11 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Anne, your kind note made my day! Thank you so much. Look forward to that dinner -- and a movie -- one day. :)

Best wishes, Laura

7:47 PM  

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