Why Did the Pasco School District Turn Away and Refused to Help Jared when he was Bullied?

I have been asking this question for many years.  I knew that I was the cause, the reason Jared received no help, but I have found it hard to except the fact that Jared was retaliated against because of me.

What happened?
Why did the Pasco School District hate me so much?  It's a long story but I'll try and shorten it to keep it from becoming a book.

In 1991 I was asked to run for the Pasco School District School Board - a five member board.  I ran against a 20-year incumbent and as a parent who would represent parents and students above all.  This was not a popular stance, as administrators (superintendents, principals and teachers), inherently feel their needs should come first. "Needs" can mostly be defined in terms of MONEY.

I think it was a surprise and shock to the PSD that I won the election.  I was immediately branded "a trouble maker" and treated as such. In the Spring of 1992, the Superintendent, believing that I would be the swing vote to remove him from his job, resigned and went to work in another school district.  Now, after many years, I believe that this Superintendent was the most ethical and honest Superintendent that the Pasco School District had ever had.

With the loss of this first Superintendent, a replacement was found.  I was not allowed to question him, or research his background because I was entirely blamed for the prior Superintendent's departure.  I didn't want to hire him and voiced my concerns in a private board meeting.  Basically, I was bullied and threatened by certain board members and "good ol' boy" community members that my support wasn't optional.  Because this Superintendent was Hispanic, his followers wanted to brand me as "racist" and "prejudice" if I would not vote to hire him. But, you see, I wanted to hire the other guy, who was also Hispanic so they couldn't bully me that way.  ...In the end, despite my reservations, I voted my support - a huge mistake.

This second Superintendent began to control almost every aspect of the Pasco School District and within a year nearly spent the school district into a hole too deep to escape from as well as alienating many administrators and teachers with his threatening and controlling manner.  Community members, who knew nothing of the Superintendent and his controlling and destructive nature, threatened and coerced me and two other Board Members to keep us from firing him.  There was actually one board meeting that I had to be taken to in a police car because I had received death threats over the phone.  ...A group of Hispanic supporters came to my home to protest and when my neighbor told them that I wasn't home and that I was at church, they came to my church and protested.  This scared my children immensely and I'm sure it caused them to develop some prejudice for Hispanics in general.  The Letters to the Editor that came out of this church protest were supportive of me and very angry towards the protesters.  Even now I wonder why a group would do such a thing to support such an incompetent Superintendent.  ...As I had said, the Superintendent was in control and his followers blindly followed him.

In the Summer of 1993, (before the next round of School Board elections), the second Superintendent resigned causing a great deal of controversy.  Again, I was not allowed to become involved in the search for a new superintendent.  I was not allowed to question the choices that "The Committee of Good Ol' Boys" brought before me.  I was again blamed for the departure of the second Superintendent (as if I were the only one who had voted to accept his resignation).  Basically, this committee gave us two applicants to "choose" from - at least publicly.  The one with the Ph.D. and Superintendent experience, seemed the logical choice to me.  But the whole thing was setup from the beginning and the mediocre Superintendent, with only a Master's Degree, from a nearby town was chosen.  Again, I protested.  I couldn't understand why the less qualified Superintendent was wanted.  Sure, he seemed like a nice guy, but I felt that being a nice guy shouldn't be the deciding factor for a job as important as a Superintendent. Again, I didn't want to hire him and voiced my concerns in the private board meeting, and again, I was bullied and threatened by certain board members and "good ol' boy" community members that my support wasn't optional, that I had caused enough turmoil in the Pasco School District.  So I voted to hire another "second best" Superintendent to appease them.  Another dumb mistake.

In the Fall of 1993, the school board elections were held and I was lucky enough to gain two supporters of my fiscally conservative values to the board.  I was the only woman on the board and my two supporters were two men, one Black and one Hispanic.  The Black man, (Aaron), a fireman, has since become one of my, if not, my best friend.  Only my husband beats him out as my closest friend. 

Within a year Superintendent number three, I'll call him GM, began to show his true colors.  It seemed that he had a problem with women.  Any woman with a Ph.D. was a target of his gossip and degrading comments.  It was a strange attribute he displayed - it seemed that he was intimidated by women who might be smarter than he... which was about every woman in my opinion.  He liked being called "Dr. GM" but of course, that was a lie and he never acknowledged this mistake to those who called him that.  He had a Master's Degree, like many of the educators in the PSD. 

GM was able to get highly educated women out of the school district.  A teacher with a Ph.D. was humiliated and forced by the PSD to leave, but not before trying to fight back with an attorney.  A highly qualified Hispanic woman with a Ph.D. was embarrassed, gossiped against and insulted by GM, enough that she obtained an attorney.  In the end, she left the PSD to keep her sanity.  An Assistant Superintendent with a Ph.D. was also discriminated against, to the point that she choose to leave the PSD, obtaining a job in California as a Superintendent.  I believe that by the end of 1995 there were no more women with Ph.D's left in the Pasco School District. 

So here is where everything starts to go bad for me.  GM didn't like me.  Maybe it was because I was smarter than him, which I doubt because if I was, I wouldn't have allowed him to be hired in the first place.  More likely, it was because I was a woman in charge, in charge of him.

Everything I did GM seemed to take offense too.  He wanted an eternal contract (a job guaranteed forever) and myself and two others voted it down.  He wanted to keep the Outcome Driven Education system of learning (OBE-ODE - a "give me a chance over and over again to get that A" philosophy), but we voted it out, (...and boy, were the mediocre teachers mad at this).  But the defining moment of GM's character came when allegations of Bilingual fraud were made.  As the President of the School Board, I was asked to sit on the investigation.

Bilingual Fraud
What the allegation was, was that the Pasco School District was taking State and Federal moneys for the benefits of other programs or interests other than what the funds were suppose to be used for.  It appeared that children, who were born and raised in the USA, and knew no Spanish, who had a Hispanic last name, were being recruited into the system so that bilingual funds could be obtained.  After being put into the bilingual programs, these children received, little or no services.  They, of course, didn't need the services because they spoke English - some didn't even know Spanish.

Some of the funds were being used to send PSD employees and teachers to futhering-education classes, (to get Master's Degrees) and to buy computers that could only be used by Hispanic children.  In fact, one day my daughter sat down to use a computer owned by this "fund", whereas the teacher jumped up and said, "Don't touch that computer, it's only for the Title (something) students - the Hispanic students."  Don't tell me that kids learn discrimination in the home.  They learn discrimination in the schools when they are told that they can't sit at or use a computer because they aren't Hispanic.

GM was worried that I was beginning to believe what the whistle blowers were saying about the bilingual fraud going on in the school district.  I was.  GM was worried that there were going to be some firings, maybe even him, if the word got out about the fraud.  It was possible.  So what could GM do to prevent this from happening?  The answer was, get rid of the people who could fire him.

GM started rumors about the three of us, myself, Aaron and Sandoval.  He gathered ignorant and robotic support from community members he could control with his lies.  He asked them to start to investigate possible reasons to get us kicked off the school board or recalled.  He accused the three of us of holding a "quorum" meeting.  (A quorum is when 3 out of 5 members meet at any time, school business or not.)  Of course that was an outright lie. 

Getting kicked off the School Board
GM's community goons began to "investigate" me.  They were really having a hard time finding anything that I had ever done wrong.  I believe in righteous and charitable living.  It was the charitable part that, in the end, hurt me the most.  I had an opportunity to buy some computers below wholesale and asked the school district if they wanted them.  They said yes, so I sold the computers to them for a very small profit.  Everyone had knowledge of this transaction, nevertheless, two years after the sale, this was called, "A Conflict of Interest".  Never mind that there was another Board Member, during the same time period, that had a bookstore where thousands of dollars in retail business was done every month.  She was okay because the school district like the way she kissed butt with the Superintendent.

In late May of 1995, I was sent a fax stating that I should appear before the court that very afternoon and answer to this "conflict of interest" charge.  I found an attorney only one hour before the court appearance.  It was like a sheep going to a slaughter.  The female judge, influenced by the Pasco School district told me that my constitutional voting rights were to be taken away, that I couldn't vote to hire or fire any employee in the PSD.  Of course the Constitution wasn't mentioned as this was clearly a violation of my rights of office under the Constitution.  Two weeks later, the female judge had a change of heart - probably based on some phone calls from some judges who cited her about the trouble she could get into based on her decision.  You see, taking away one little school board member's right to vote on any issue could have huge ramifications nationwide.  If one judge could do such a thing, than could other judges do the same thing, say to a State Representative, or U.S. Congressmen, or U.S. Senator?

Six weeks later I was brought to another judge.  I was not allowed to speak, I was not represented well, and I felt, just a little, like Jesus being brought before Pilate. I knew what the outcome would be as the judge was another puppet of the Pasco School District.  Having no constitutional authority to do so, this judge removed me from my office as a School Board Member, a job that only the voters had a right to give or take away.  It was only four months until the next election and I had stated that I did not intend to run again.  This theft of my office was hurtful and embarrassing but I was tired of fighting the system and my husband was tired of seeing the pain I was being put through.  I gave up fighting and decided to leave without any further fight.

About two months later, Sandoval and Aaron were brought before the same judge and kicked off the school board for a false charge of violating the rules of a quorum.  They refused to leave the school board and fought back, taking their case before the Washington State Supreme Court.  It was unanimous, the State Supreme Court struck down the incompetent judge's order of removal.  The State Supreme court told the Pasco School District and the judge they had influenced, that they had no right to remove school board members without the consent of the voters who had elected them.  In other words, elected officials must be recalled by the people if they don't want them to finish their terms of office.  Again, if a judge could remove an elected official from office for any action they deemed unlawful or distasteful (like a "conflict of interest" claim) than, by nature of the imperfections of individuals, 99% of all elected officials could be removed at the whim of any judge.

In October 1995, I took my bilingual fraud concerns to the State Attorney Generals office in Olympia Washington. I told them what I knew about the Bi-lingual Fraud and the real reason the Superintendent wanted to get me off the school board.  After telling everything I knew, like a confession in a confession booth, it was done for me.  The State Attorney General's office was shocked that I was kicked out of office by a judge and reminded me that this was unconstitutional. Dah!!!  But, I was burnt out and tired of the Pasco School District and preferred to become uninvolved.  I decided that unless a matter had something to to do with my children's concerns, I would stay out of school district politics for good.  I just wanted to be with my kids and live a peaceful life like everyone else. 

So, now we come to the question - Why did the Pasco School District turn away and refused to help Jared when he was bullied?
Would I be considered crazy to believe that GM wanted to take out some revenge on me by allowing my son Jared to be treated by the neglectful actions of adults in his school district? When my complaints came to GM, (and it did through the School District Attorney- see "Claim Letter"), did GM make the choice to ignore those complaints, or even tell others to ignore our complaints?  I will never know for sure, but I will always believe that the answer is YES.

If the PSD had just picked on me, well, that's just dirty politics, but when they took it out on Jared and my other kids, that was downright disgusting.

My last words - Jared was retaliated against by the full force of the Pasco School District because of me.  I bare some of the blame for Jared's suicide because I tried to do my best as an elected official and made enemies who cared very little for kids - Administrators (in this case, superintendents and principals), whose real "needs" were defined in terms of MONEY, REVENGE AND POWER.

Brenda High
 

HEAR JARED'S VOICE - PLAY - From an interview with Pasco School District investigators concerning the assault.  This is a recording of a recording and it isn't real clear, but worth the download effort.  Jared had a real mellow voice.   Note: If you have a slow load wav, wait for it to load entirely and then play again from the start.   5 minutes long

 

TRIAL ISSUES
http://www.jaredstory.com/trial_brief01.html
http://www.jaredstory.com/trial_brief02.html
http://www.jaredstory.com/trial_brief03.html
http://www.jaredstory.com/trial_brief04.html
http://www.jaredstory.com/trial_brief06.html
http://www.jaredstory.com/trial_brief08.html
http://www.jaredstory.com/trial_brief09.html
http://www.jaredstory.com/trial_brief10.html
http://www.jaredstory.com/trial_brief11.html

 

HIGH v. PASCO SCHOOL DISTRICT
The Lawsuit

PLAINTIFFS' TRIAL BRIEF & FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The Complaint for Damages
THE SETTLEMENT
The Rest of the Story
The Assault
Suicide - The Forseeable Consequences of Bullying
Why the Pasco School District wouldn't help Jared

Court Case about Videos on a bus & bullying

 

Moms Speak Out!

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