Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I have known Debi McLarty for 15 years and worked with her in the classified union. Yet, I never went onto Debi’s Facebook page. We both know we have opposing views on many issues. We have a shared belief that we have the right to express these opposing views. It is almost ludicrous to believe her social media page would racially inflame people or influence Manteca Unified School District students.
It is appalling that a Facebook page, and the interpretation of one person who has control over McLarty’s employment, has been used in a way to publicly tarnish McLarty’s reputation. The issue is not why certain pictures were on Facebook, but that we have freedom of expression and two MUSD school board members seemed to have ignored MUSD employee policies and contracts. The school district uses the standard statement, “This is a personnel issue and I cannot comment on it.” Then personnel issues are discussed in closed session unless the employee waives that right. However, on Fox 40 News, trustee Sam Fant’s comment was that these accusations would be investigated. This is taking “action” on his own without full board votes. How does he know the votes are there to investigate this? Plus, what MUSD policies were violated by personal pictures on a personal social media account? We all know that Facebook asks for employer information. Entering this information does not reflect on the employer.
Trustee Ashley Drain, in the email exchange with Mrs. Ordner, seems to threaten every MUSD employee with being able to get in to their social media accounts and is coming after them for anything she perceives as racism. Apparently, McLarty is the first. What a chilling assault on employees’ rights and our American rights! For this statement alone Drain has declared she is not serving all of the people of MUSD, like an elected official should.
If Dennis Wyatt is right and McLarty came to Drain’s attention while being the labor representative to the WRHS classified employee involved in alleged racism, then Drain needs to learn the protection afforded union members by both federal and state laws protecting union members’ rights. She has made MUSD vulnerable to possible legal action.
Ralph White said a family picture showing the Confederate Flag could incite people and likened it to the KKK wearing hoods. There is an ongoing debate about what the confederate flag means to people. I want to know why publishing McLarty’s name, her job position and work site isn’t exposing her to possible backlash? The front office area is the one area of a school that is opened to the public.
Lest Drain accuses me like she did Mrs. Ordner, I will add that I am one of a few people who volunteered to serve on the Superintendent’s Diversity Committee for the entire three years it existed. This committee was formed in response to the Weston Ranch High racial allegations of years ago. I was a trainer at several district wide diversity events for all employees. Kikansa Nuri-Robins was hired as a consultant by MUSD and met with the committee and sub-committees. I have also had union training in interpersonal relationships.
Drain needs to reexamine her role as a MUSD school board member and realize that she is supposed to represent all the people, employees included, not go after them. If she thinks there is rampant racism within MUSD there are proper channels for her to use as a school board member to make a change.
Kathleen S. Griffin
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,