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Come to defense of RHS teacher Terri Messick
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

On June 7-10 the Ripon Unified School District will conduct a dismissal hearing against Ripon High School Music and Performing Arts Teacher, Terri Messick.  Three years ago Mrs. Messick refused to sign a letter of intent to get her Crosscultural Language and Academic Development Certification, and the district sued.  Mrs. Messick lost the case. She is complying, and has already completed part of the certification.

Not satisfied with winning the CLAD case, Ripon Unified School District is seeking to fire Mrs. Messick. This proceeding is based on allegations under California education law, Cal. Edc. Code § 44932: (a) 1. Immoral or unprofessional conduct, 5. Evident unfitness for service, and 7. Persistent violation of or refusal to obey the school laws of the state or reasonable regulations prescribed for the government of the public schools by the State Board of Education or by the governing board of the school district employing him or her.

Allegedly, to date, Ripon Unified School District has spent $300,000 from the general fund pursuing this case. How much additional cost will be incurred by this upcoming four-day hearing involving California School Board Association attorneys and a hearing officer?

Mrs. Messick’s contribution to Ripon High’s fine arts program over the past 29 years is incalculable. She has directed a variety of choirs, band, barbershop quartet, marching band, jazz band, steel drum band, taught drama class, and produced many annual plays and musicals including The Music Man, Oklahoma, Grease, Guys & Dolls, The Odd Couple, South Pacific, Annie Get Your Gun, Cinderella, Fiddler on the Roof and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. No one can deny the impact Mrs. Messick’s energy, encouragement, and enthusiasm  has had on Ripon High students.   

If you agree with me that Mrs. Messick has been a treasure to our community for almost 30 years, call Ripon School District at 599-2131.   If you agree that continuing this expensive legal fight is a misuse of our tax dollars, call or write board members Mike Fisher, Jack DeLiddo, Larry Stewart, Donna Parks and Ernie Tyhurst.

Douglas L. Fraser
May 30, 2010