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Santa Teresa High School Activities Ban

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Wednesday, January 14th, 2004 @ 7:17 AM
Subj: STHS - Facilities Use
From: (Helen Blain)

Dear Honored Board Trustee:

After attending the STHS Field Usage meeting on January 8, 2004, there are several concerns I wish to address.

  1. Our high school is owned and funded by us taxpayers, and is the hub of our community. This community consists of 2000 students and their families! A small special interest group must not be allowed to dictate how our public facility is used. The current school board policy, which limits usage by STHS student groups and denies access to community groups, discriminates against STHS. School board policy and the California State Education Code provide guidelines for use of school facilities. The current board policy neither follows these guidelines nor is in the best interest of our students and the youth of our community.

  2. Mr. Moore’s group states that they have lived in the neighborhood since before Santa Teresa High School was built, and that they are much older now and many of them need afternoon naps and earlier bedtimes. However, our high school serves a student population 13 to 19 years of age. “Quiet” is not a word that describes healthy teen activities! I do not wish to discount their desire for quiet, and I do not mean to be disrespectful. But it seems that a retirement community might be a better place for these older residents, not a neighborhood near a busy high school.

  3. Whatever the problems with the previous high school administration, the ESUHS Board recently hired two principals who must be allowed to do their job without interference by the district or a small group of neighbors. Mrs. Prasch and Mr. Riley were the Board’s top choices from more than twenty highly qualified administrators. On the one hand, the board showed confidence in their abilities when it chose them to be the principals of STHS. On the other hand, the board is tying their hands by not allowing them to make ALL of the decisions regarding the use of the school facilities and the activities that occur there on a daily basis. Please allow them to be fully responsible for our high school.

  4. It has been said that Mr. Moore and his friends have threatened to sue the district if their demands are not met. This in nothing less than blackmail! The district must not knuckle under to a small group, simply because they threaten unsustainable legal action. Again, District Facility Use Policies, the California State Education Code, and San Jose City recreational plans support student and community access to our high school grounds.

  5. Mr. Moore’s group stated that the school grounds are being used from 6am-11pm. How is this possible? There are NO lights on the athletic fields, tennis courts, or baseball diamond. How can students and community members be on them after dark? My son is a football player and he told me, “I can't even see my feet after dark, let alone practice!” In addition, the group has claimed that other school grounds in the district, such as Gunderson High School, are used only until 5:30pm. In fact, Gunderson’s fields are used from 6pm to 8:30pm by Pop Warner football and cheerleading teams, who pay for their use. I am disappointed that Mr. Moore has emphasized the need for honesty in this dialogue and yet has misrepresented the times that fields are used.

I respectfully request that your vote on Thursday evening acknowledge the concerns and desires of the entire STHS community of over two thousand families! For the health and well-being of our children and our community, please adopt the Executive Summary of Proposed Draft Recommendations: Santa Teresa Facilities Use as presented by Principals Prasch and Riley last week. Return control of the high school to the principals you chose to run it, and respect the wishes of the community in which it resides.

Thank you,

Helen Blain, Parent and Community Member

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