The Hermosa Beach Superintendent and School Board are now seeking to suppress written communication from the public. We need everyone’s help ASAP in order to stop this.
The background is that the Hermosa Beach Superintendent Jason Johnson has an aversion to the written record. This is why he prefers talking to people rather than putting his responses in writing. Hence, the Hermosa Beach School Board in the past has not been attaching written communication to the agenda; they instead read it into the public record.
Behind closed doors, they have now changed this policy and will only allow public participation via Zoom. For all those busy people who are at work, making dinner, picking up kids, helping with homework, you are now being effectively silenced by the Hermosa Beach School Board. If you cannot carve out time to appear live, your opinion will no longer be made publicly available. This is why allowing written comments to be published is so important.
Bizarrely, they made this change effective with tonight’s meeting and at the same time have this as agenda item for discussion: IX R-71-21, Discussion/Direction for Public Comments.
Please do the following as soon as possible, but no later than 4pm:
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here: C Diaz Email with the subject header Written Communications to be attached to the agenda or read into the public record. Include the entire school board at email@example.com or click here: Hermosa Beach School Board Email
Hermosa Beach School Board:
I oppose you effectively silencing the community by only allowing our comments either by Zoom or in person. If you do not wish to read our communication aloud, you can simply attach to the agenda – as do most other school districts.
As representatives of the community, you should seek public input as you discuss policies that affect the school district. Why would you move in the opposite direction and instead suppress our opinions? There is tremendous value to attaching written comments to the agenda. When items are up for discussion, the entire community has the benefit of understanding various points of view.
With your new policy, all of the written communications to the school board will only be seen by you privately. This defeats the entire concept of civic engagement – something the board should cherish and encourage, not stifle.
You want the residents to approve a parcel tax in the near future – can we interpret this as you want our money but you do not want us to offer our input in a public manner?
Please, allow written communications to be visible to all, there is no need to read them aloud. Manhattan Beach schools have a good policy which you can follow.
We have STRENGTH in numbers, and TOGETHER we can be a force that pushes back against these changes and instead pushes for EXCELLENCE and an APOLITICAL educational environment that allows students to develop critical thinking skills, the ability to debate varying points of view and above all, continue to strive for excellence in education.