The Josephsons’ decision to file this lawsuit has generated intense reactions. Many people who learned the story have become passionate supporters, including quite a few families who have their own horror stories about being mistreated by Elizabeth English. There were also harsh accusing the Josephsons of being bad parents, claiming their efforts in this lawsuit will damage their children. It is in this context that Michael Josephson found on his personal Facebook a post from their 21 year-old daughter Samara who attends NYU. This is her perspective.
by Samara Josephson
The LA Times published an article about a lawsuit my family filed against the Archer School for Girls today.
As I have received questions and comments, all loving and supportive, I thought I would share my thoughts. This post is long, so if you would just like to read the article here’s the link, http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-archer-josephson-20140702-story.html#page=1, and more importantly if you would like to visit the website detailing the case visit www.josephsonvsarcher.com .
I have always been very vocal about how much I loved my time at Archer. My experience was an overall positive one, and while my sisters and parents may have had negative experiences at the school I have tried very hard to separate theirs from my own. I loved the school and tried to remember Archer the way I experienced it.
However, Archer made this impossible for me when they went on to ban my entire family, including Aby and me who were not at all involved in the legal situation, from campus and all Archer activities. This meant I could no longer attend the alumni events I have been attending since I graduated Archer in 2011, the school plays directed by the teachers who guided me to attending NYU Tisch, as well as visiting many of the other teachers with whom I have maintained close, personal relationships.However, this lawsuit is not about me, but my sisters and family.
If you read the website, you will see the whole story that the LA Times does not cover. Many people may have the impression these are just “entitled parents” protecting a “spoiled brat” who are retaliating because things didn’t go their way, but that is not what this is about.
Elizabeth English’s actions were malicious and have deeply hurt my family, and as it turns out, similar situations have happened to many other girls as now six other families, and counting, have come forward with similar stories.
I am very proud of my sisters for their strength and resilience and proud of my mother for being so loving and sensitive to all involved, including those we love who are still affiliated with the school.
But most importantly I am proud of my father, who is putting everything on the line, including his reputation, to stand up for our family and fight what he believes in.
I was also touched by this cogent letter from a fellow named Brandon – I don’t know him:
Being a consultant in human capital management and having a series of articles published on ethics in business relationships; it seems Mr. Josephson’s red line in the sand is not an objection to a reasonable disciplinary measure against an acknowledged transgression by his daughter; but against an irrational act of administrative overreach engaging in improper influence over staff, teachers and a governing body. What parent would not defend and allow an administrator to stand in the way of a child walking graduation; particularly a vulnerable child? What parent would allow an overzealous administrator to penalize a completely innocent sibling who had no involvement in the incident? What parent would allow a school employee or governing entity [or anyone] to penalize an entire family with expulsion, perpetual exclusion and the character assassination of each member of the family and malign their collective reputations?
There are situations when all good faith efforts have failed that defensive measures aren’t enough; where the best defense is a good offense. Was the ‘governing body’ ‘for show only’ and unduly influenced i.e. derelict in exercising its charter responsibilities? Can any professional, particularly an acclaimed ethicist of national renowned stand silent in the face of an attack? Beyond the business side of the equation there are indeed unreasonable people in the world; people whose sense of self-importance knows no bounds, and must be confronted. Sociopaths for example, inflict emotional pain on others with a passion and without limit, unless confronted. While
I can’t say whether this school administrator in this situation is a sociopath; was the prescribed discipline of excluding C1 from high school graduation [a one-time life’s event] over a single outburst, reasonable discipline? Was ouster of C2 from the school program reasonable or responsible professional behavior? Was alienation of an entire families deep-rooted social relationships a moral or reasonable act in the face of an otherwise long, good standing affiliation within this school and community?