Decide for Yourself: Elizabeth English’s Declaration & the Josephsons’ Response

The Josephsons view this as one of the most important posts for those who really want to understand this dispute.

On June 24, 2014 Archer filed a Declaration by Head of School, Elizabeth English stating her defense or explanation to the parade of allegations made against her in this lawsuit. As it was the first, and turned out to be the only time she addressed the merits  of  the Josephsons’ claims and there was no opportunity to cross-examine her statements, Michael Josephson responds to her “testimony” in italics and, where appropriate provides verbatim documentation.

The crux of this lawsuit is about unnecessary and unprofessional conduct of Archer head of school Elizabeth English which  escalated a minor disciplinary incident based on a momentary outburst of rudeness into an acrimonious controversy that resulted in the forced exclusion of two Josephson daughters, the resignation of Anne Josephson from the Board of Trustees, the complete and formal banishment of the Josephson family (including two alumni) from the Archer community, this lawsuit which has and continues to inflict great damage to and drains the resources of all parties, and this public website.

Had their efforts to present their case in court and require Ms. English to testify under oath and be subjected to cross examination not been thwarted by Archer’s successful demand that the Josephsons’ claims be removed from the public judicial process to a forced arbitration clothed in secrecy, the Josephsons would have proved that Ms. English’s actions were contrary to professional educational standards and objectives as well as California law. They would have shown that as a result of administrative ineptitude, personal vindictiveness and a narcissistic need to demonstrate her authority, Elizabeth English, at every crucial decision point chose a course of action that made things worse.

Elizabeth English’s Declaration & the Josephsons’ Response

I, Elizabeth English, declare as follows:

I. I am over the age of 18 years and make this declaration based on my own personal knowledge. If called upon to do so, I could and would competently testify under oath to the matters set forth herein.

II.  I make this Declaration in support of Defendant’s Petition for an order Compelling Arbitration and for Dismissal/Stay Pending Arbitration.

III.  I am the Head of the School for the Archer School for Girls (“Archer” or the “School”), a position I have held since July 2008, and a defendant in this action.

IV.  As head of School, my responsibilities include supervising all Archer’s programs, monitoring and addressing all matters of the school, curriculum, climate, and culture, and working in conjunction with the Board of trustees to carry out and establish School policies.

V.   At Archer, the School asks at the outset of each school year that all students and their parents – including Plaintiffs in this action – acknowledge and sign its Honor Code., which states that that each will uphold the values  of honesty, respect, and responsibility, and agree to be bound by the Honor Code. The school has laid out clear processes and protocols in the event a student violates the Honor Code (1), which students and parents annually acknowledge and agree to follow along with the Honor Code. The Honor Code includes the School’s the School’s Student Honor Educational Council (alternatively “HEC”), the disciplinary process the school adopted to instill values of personal responsibility and accountability of its students.

RESPONSE:

To give context to the dispute concerning Child 1’s discipline for rudeness it is important to to understand that though the Josephsons contend that Ms. English greatly exaggerated the nature of the precipitating incident in her declaration that they do not condone Child 1’s lack of self-control and rudeness. They not only supported, but advocated the imposition of an appropriate sanction for the misconduct.

1) The declaration fails to reveal the important fact that the rules make the process optional and that the HEC process was intended as an educational process and was very rarely used. In any event the process was not itself supposed to be a punishment though this is how Ms. English sought to use it.

2) It also does not mention that Ms. English demanded that Child 1 be subjected to this optional process despite a written opinion of a licensed psychologist informing her that Child 1 was undergoing some exceptional psychological stress  and that the therapist believed that subjecting Child 1 to a public hearing of 12 or more peers would be exceptionally humiliating and was likely to cause serious and lasting emotional harm. The therapist’s letter proposed various alternative sanctions that would meet Archer’s disciplinary objectives without causing lasting trauma – all ignored by Ms. English.

3) Ms. English also fails to mention that her intransigent position demanding that Child 1 be subjected to this rare and, in this case, inappropriate process violated long-standing Archer policies and practices to collaborate with parents to devise an optimum  disciplinary strategy.

4) The ultimatum aspect of this process designed to force Child 1 and her parents to bend to her will was also inconsistent with Ms. English’s publicly declared commitment to “non-coercive” discipline. 

5) The most critical point is that Ms. English had many options to deal with Child 1’s rude behavior (especially since Child 1 apologized on her own shortly after the incident and accepted accountability) but out of a sheer display of malice and vindictiveness she stubbornly insisted on the single process that was so calculated to humiliate Child 1 and provoke opposition of the Josephsons who otherwise supported discipline.

VI.  The school referred C. Josephson (Child 1) to the HEC as a result of her documented history of disrespectful conduct to faculty members throughout her career at Archer. Most recently, in October 2013, the school provided Child 1 an explicit warning, after she was rude to the librarian and repeatedly disrupted other students in the library, that the school would refer any further misconduct to the HEC. Thus, when she disrupted a test during her Advanced Placement Calculus class, on December 13, 2013, by having an outburst during the test, repeatedly leaving and returning to the classroom, and making disrespectful comments to her teacher, the school followed through on its warning and asked her to go before the HEC.

RESPONSE:

1) Ms. English, who was not present during the incident, makes inaccurate statements, not supported by the written report of the teacher as to what happened.  The teacher and student witnesses would testify that the “outburst” was of short duration and had a minor impact and that the “disrespectful comments” were little more than a non-profane expression of frustration on the order of :“this is ridiculous and unfair.” This is rude and the Josephsons repeatedly told Child 1 and Archer officials that they do not condone such conduct and favored a measured, proportional sanction.

2) Ms. English doesn’t mention that Child 1 almost immediately acknowledged the inappropriateness of her behavior and, on her own initiative and shortly after the incident, apologized to the teacher and her classmates. Under Archer policies and practices this sort of accountability and voluntary contrition normally obviates the need for, or at least seriously mitigates, further sanction since it demonstrates accountability. 

3) Ms. English does not mention that in a meeting with Director of the Upper School, Samantha Coyne, and Dean of Students, Gretchen Warner, Child 1 apologized again, accepted accountability and expressed acceptance of the possible need for additional sanctions.

4) Ms. English does not mention that several weeks later, before the matter reached crisis proportions due to Ms. English’s unneeded and unhelpful intervention, Ms. Coyne told Child 1’s father, Michael Josephson, that she thought no additional sanction would be required because of the extenuating circumstances of the remarks and her maturity in accepting responsibility.

5) Were the Josephsons permitted to offer evidence in court they would have shown that Ms. English rejected the advice of Ms. Coyne and at least one other senior administrator and unilaterally decided that Child 1 appear before her peers for what amounted to no more than a public shaming. No one at Archer has ever contended that Child 1’s rude conduct in December 2014 justified or would have resulted in a suspension or expulsion. To the contrary, during a January 9, 2014 meeting with Mr. Josephson, Ms. Coyne indicated that, in view of the nature of the violation and CHILD 1 ‘s subsequent apology and acceptance of accountability that there was “no need to worry” since only a minor sanction was appropriate. She explicitly ruled out a suspension as a sanction for Child 1’s rudeness. (Complaint, para 27).

6) Ms. English’s reference to Child 1’s “documented history of disrespectful conduct to faculty members throughout her career at Archer” seems designed to imply that Child 1 was a chronically troublesome student on the edge of expulsion. In fact, Child 1’s history of infractions over a six year period, involved a small handful of inappropriate but mild demonstrations of disrespect characteristic of many adolescents– none involved profanity or violence and none were deemed serious enough to warrant suspension.

7) In fact, contrary to the implications that Child 1 deserved to be ousted from her school in the last semester of her senior year, Child 1 was a highly valued contributor to the Archer culture and a highly respected student by many faculty members.

8) Had the Josephsons been permitted to prove their case in court they would have shown that Ms. Coyne, the director of the upper school trusted her enough to ask her to babysit for her children on many occasions and Child 1’s successful application for early admission to Barnard College was supported strongly by letters from the faculty and administrators counselor.  Moreover, Ms. English herself had offered to write a letter of support. In addition, Child 1 was selected by peers and faculty for leadership in the school’s dance program, and she was widely admired for her personal commitment to global social causes (including spending one summer in Ghana and another in Cambodia volunteering to assist orphan children).

VII.  Child 1 and her father, Michael Josephson, responded that Child 1 was emotionally unfit to participate in the hearing. Child 1 said she was also concerned that she would be asked to reveal private family matters during the hearing. The School’s response was appropriate and compassionate. The School assured Child 1 that the hearing would focus on the incident in question and that sharing private information at the hearing was not necessary or expected.  The School also offered to have its counselor, who was a licensed therapist, who would work with Child 1’s therapist, who I understand was engaged after Child 1 was directed to the HEC, to determine the appropriate next steps given the family’s stated concerns. Mr. Josephson, however, refused to provide a signed release, as requested by the school, that would allow Child 1’s therapist to speak with the school’s therapist. 

RESPONSE:

1) This is another deliberate distortion This is a blatant falsehood created to justify Ms. English’s callous disregard for the professional opinion of Child 1’s therapist. It misrepresents the time sequence and the possible relevance of intervention by Ms. Lancaster..

2) Josephsons never claimed Child 1 was “emotionally unfit” to go before the HEC.  Instead, they gave Ms. English solid, credible professional evidence that this particular process would be especially damaging  and, therefore, believing that Ms. English would honor the Archer tradition and policies of collaborating with parents and using only non-coercive discipline, they expected that information to induce Ms. English to explore alternative strategies. This was justified not only by school philosophy but by basic professional educational standards of discipline and common decency.

3) On Thursday, Jan 9, 2014 Michael Josephson met with Upper School Director, Samantha Coyne. It was the very first meeting Mr. Josephson had with Archer concerning the issue of how the school would deal with Child 1’s rudeness. After informing Ms. Coyne of the exceptional circumstances that had developed re: Child 1’s severe anxiety about being forced to appear before up to 15 classmates to explain her conduct, Ms. Coyne expressed genuine sympathy but she said she had no authority to consider any alternative since Ms. English had taken control of the matter. Consequently, a meeting between Mr. Josephson and Ms. English was set for 11:00 am the following Monday (January 13).

4) During her June 9, 2014 meeting with Mr. Josephson, Ms. Coyne suggested that Mr. Josephson obtain a written report from Child 1’s therapist to support the case for alternative strategies. In response to that request, Mr. Josephson induced Dr. Esparce to prepare a report over the weekend to present at the meeting scheduled a few days later. Dr. Esparce was also willing to attend the meeting. Ms. English completely ignored the written report and refused to allow Child 1’s doctor to attend the meeting. instead, she placed her own judgment regarding the welfare of Child 1 above her parents’ opinions and disregarded a report a clinical psychologist who had examined and was treating Child 1.

5)  Shortly after the Coyne meeting, Michael Josephson wrote this note to Ms. English (please note the cordial, respectful and non-intimidating tone and content of all the following correspondence).  

“Hi Elizabeth, Samantha mentioned that it would be important for the [Child 1’s] therapist to talk directly with Patty Lancaster [Archer school counselor]. In the hope we can resolve all issues Monday, I wonder whether it would be wise to have Patty Lancaster present as well? . . . I know you would not require the student hearing if you believed it could cause C1 serious harm but that granting an exemption on mental health grounds must be done only upon presentation of credible and persuasive evidence.Is there anything beyond a letter from the therapist (or her direct testimony, if you prefer) and a meeting with Patty that you would need to make your determination? Do you want her statement in affidavit form? Would you need a second opinion? Do you want C1 to speak to a therapist of your choosing? Though we would prefer to not cause C1 further stress and anxiety we are willing to cooperate with you to assure you have sufficient information for your decision.”

6) On Friday, January 10, 2014 (3 days before the meeting with Ms. English), Mr. Josephson sent a note to Ms. English asking: “could Patty Livingston meet Child 1’s therapist on the Monday morning prior to their our 11 am meeting so you will have the benefit of the information which is crucial to our request?”  He added, “The professional opinion of [Child 1’s psychologist] regarding Child 1’s current mental state and the potential impact of a student hearing are central to our belief that an alternate process to determine appropriate discipline would better meet the needs of C1 and Archer.”  The same day. Ms. English wrote back:  “I called Patty to see if she is available on Monday morning.  Unfortunately, she has gone home for the weekend.  I think the best thing to do is have [Child 1’s psychologist] call Patty and leave her number.  That way Patty can call her on Monday morning as soon as she has a chance.  . . . Please return the signed release form to me via email.” On Sunday, January 12, 2014 the day before the decisive meeting with Ms. English, Ms. English denied Mr. Josephson’s request to have Child 1’s therapist come with him to the meeting so she could personally explain and/or discuss her findings and recommendations. Given the timing of these meetings and Ms. Livingston’s unavailability the release was completely irrelevant to the decision conveyed to Michael Josephson including the incredibly arrogant statement by Ms. English that despite what the therapist said, “I believe this will be good for Child 1.”

7) Contrary to Ms. English’s self-justifying statement,  the “school’s response” (note how Ms. English refers to herself as the institution) neither appropriate nor compassionate and it was inconsistent with the advice of several adminsitrators normally responsible for administering discipline.  An appropriate response based on Archer’s policies and practices and professional educator standards of care would have been to consider the special circumstances raised by Child 1’s documented mental state and work with her parents to devise a different strategy that would meet the disciplinary needs of Archer in the least punitive and damaging way.

8) Whether Ms. English was appropriate and compassionate must be decided in the context of her knowledge and the nature and quality of her interactions with the Josephsons at this point. Consider the following letter from Michael Josephson sent to Ms. English on Sunday, January 12, 2014, the day before their meeting:

Dear Elizabeth,

You are far more familiar with adolescents and their defense mechanisms than I am but I find it hard to deal with the emotional roller coaster. Most of the time C1 seems fine to me. Thank God, she is eager and anxious to get back to school and she is interacting positively with her friends.  But when I try to direct her to any aspect of the upcoming meeting and your impending decision on our request for an alternative process of determining the sanction for her inappropriate behavior, she becomes so anxious that she either shuts down, melts down or refuses to deal with it. . . . 

I can’t even fathom the short and long term impact of being denied the opportunity to graduate with her class, not dance with her classmates, and perhaps to lose her admission to Barnard.

I pressed her very hard ‘to suck it up and just do it’ and though Anne and I tried to convince her that this alternative is far worse than whatever may happen during a hearing, she says she simply ‘can’t.’

Elizabeth, you know Anne and I are very familiar with C1’s stubbornness and I have typically been very hard on her when [we] think her actions are willful. We are at this juncture in the process because, this time I truly believe this is not willful stubbornness but an emotional crisis that must be handled with great sensitivity. . . . It is as if she feels she is a volcano that will disintegrate if all the emotions she is struggling so hard to control uncontrollably erupt. I am not talking about anger I am talking about excruciating humiliation and fear. . . . 

Sorry, for all the detail, but this issue has literally consumed me and Anne for weeks. As the authority and responsibility of handling the situation has been given to me, I feel burdened with the knowledge that the outcome of Monday’s meeting truly may be one of the most important events in C1’s life. If that sounds like hyperbole, just think about the chain of events that may flow from it. 

To give her the best chance of a good result, I am committed to doing anything and everything I can to be sure you have all the information you need to justify a decision to grant our request to collaboratively find an alternative means of determine the sanction for her past misconduct. . . .

Thank you for your understanding, 

Michael

 VII. (Declaration continued) The school also offered to allow Child 1 to take a medical leave, perform her coursework at home, and either attend the HEC hearing when she was able to do so, or if not, receive her diploma once she had completed her courses from home. Mr. Josephson refused this offer. 

RESPONSE:

1) The declaration omits the fact that Ms. English completely invented a suspension scenario adding unnecessary and onerous conditions. There is no basis for this suspension theory in Archer policies and inventing new grounds to suspend a student is unprofessional and probably illegal.  Though Ms. English she said Child 1 could complete her course work at home, Ms. English added the absurd and onerous condition that she was  forbidden to talk with her teachers or come on campus for any reason. She was also forbidden from participating in any student activities including graduation ceremonies and to underline the mean-spirited quality of these conditions, Ms. English pointedly said, if Child 1 does complete the necessary coursework, “we will mail her her diploma.” These conditions were unnecessary, unprofessional and vindictive and clearly intended to force Child 1 to withdraw from the school. There is no basis in Archer policies and practices (grounded in a commitment to non-coercive discipline and collaboration) or in standards of care of a professional educator to justify these draconian requirements.

VIII.  The school would not, however, allow Child 1 to attend classes on campus if she did not participate in the HEC, concluding, very reasonably, that if she was emotionally unfit to attend the hearing, then she was not emotionally fit to attend classes on campus. 

RESPONSE:

1) Ms. English made this medical conclusion on her own despite an explicit statement by Child 1’s psychologist that she was not only ready and capable of going to school but that was what would be best for her. Both parents also told her she needed to and was perfectly able to go back to school. Equating a traumatic reaction to the prospect of being humiliated before more than a dozen classmates with an inability to go to class is simply irrational and unsupportable. This was an excuse invented after the fact to mask what was an illegal suspension.

2) In addition, Ms. English’s declaration deliberate masks the fact that she inflicted additional emotional abuse on Child 1 by publicly humiliating her just a few hours before the critical meeting with Mr. Josephson during which a decision as to process and/or sanction would be made. On the morning of the scheduled meeting with Michael Josephson during which he was led to believe Ms. English would consider the report of Child 1’s therapist and her recommendations for alternative sanctions, at the recommendation of her doctor, Child 1 went to school to attend classes. At this point,the issue was still open as to what sanction would be imposed and there was absolutely no basis to suspend her and prevent her from attending classes. 

3) When Child 1 arrived on campus she was surprised and humiliated to be publicly summoned to Ms. Warner’s office where she was told she was not allowed at school and that she must go home. Child 1 was distressed and confused and asked Ms. Warner to please call her father. In what we contend was an incredible display of callousness and irresponsibility, Ms. Warner refused to do so. Child 1 was deeply upset about being ousted from her school in front of her friends and she called Mr. Josephson gasping in tears to tell him what happened. He immediately placed calls to Ms. Warner, Ms. Coyne and Ms. English, leaving the message that it was urgent and requesting a return call. He received no response.

4) Had the Josephsons been permitted to assert their claims in court, this is a significant event would have been heavily emphasized in support of punitive damages. It is clear Ms. English had no regard for the well-being of C1.  

5) Ms. English demonstrated her duplicity and malice in other ways. Still believing the meeting with Ms. English might be productive and knowing it was important not to be provoked into anger, Mr. Josephson sent this calm email at 9:23 AM: “Hi Elizabeth, I am perplexed and concerned. Could you please call me asap to tell me your agenda and goals for our meeting today? Are you open to exempting C1 from the student hearing if a professional says it would be damaging to her to do so. I would also appreciate if during the meeting you could explain your view as to C1’s current status? I understand she was sent home because she has been suspended. Please help me understand what this means, the basis of the suspension and what she has to do to get back to school. Please call me. . .  . Either way I look forward to our meeting where I will present you with a letter from Dr. Esparce and other new information I know will be relevant to your decision. I’m still hopeful we can reach a collaborative agreement on this.  Michael”. Ms. English did not respond and neither Ms. Coyne nor Ms. Warner returned his calls.

IX. During this time it was my impression that Mr. Josephson attempted to intimidate me and other school administrators so that his daughter could avoid having to appear before the HEC. I also felt that he attempted to undermine the School’s administration’s authority with faculty members. 

RESPONSE:

1) Both claims are inventions to mask her malice. Anyone who reads the correspondence will see, if anything, the communications were respectful and not in anyway intimidating. It would make no sense to try to intimate an authoritarian administrator who had all the power. Ms. English made it clear she held the Josephson children hostage to her edicts.  

2) The Josephsons are confident that if they were able to produce evidence (including a pattern of conduct with other parents she did not like)  a jury would conclude that Ms. English who was the bully here, seeking to intimidate the Josephsons into passively accepting an improper and unprofessional decision that would, and was calculated to, do their daughter great injury. Every single interaction between Mr. Josephson and Ms English is either in writing or tape-recorded. There is not a shred of evidence of disrespect or intimidation.

X.  Mr Josephson withdrew Child 1 from School on January 21, 2014. Mr. Josephson’s behavior and unwillingness to work with the School pursuant to the Enrollment Agreement, which states that parents will abide by the policies of the School, forced the school not to offer a Re-enrollment Agreement to M. Josephson (Child 2), a sophomore, to attend Archer for the following academic year. The Re-Enrollment agreement provides that student’s may be dismissed for their parent’s behavior. Child 2, however was not dismissed and the decision not to offer her a contract for the following year had no impact on her ability to finish the 2013-2014 academic year.

RESPONSE:

1) There are many false and misleading statements here but the most important are: a) that Mr. Josephson was unwilling to work with the school (we already covered the implication that Mr. Josephson’s behavior was in any way improper) and that 3) Mr. Josephson’s conduct “forced” Ms. English to terminate Child 2’s Archer Education.

2)  The record of correspondence is absolutely clear — it is Ms. English who violated Archer policies and practices of collaboration who refused to work with either Michael or Anne Josephson to achieve legitimate institutional goals in an manner consistent with reasonable professional educator standards. Ms. English had innumerable options and the Josephsons tried over and over to “work with” Ms. English but at the one and only meeting she had with Mr. Josephson she said, “I don’t negotiate with parents”.

3) The claim that Ms. English was “forced” to take the drastic action of excluding Child 2 from Archer is a shameless falsehood. In fact the basis of her action was her claim that she had sole discretion to decide whether and when to punish a child for parent actions that offended her. Even if Mr. Josephson’s actions were objectively offensive (which they were not) she had many alternatives to first try to correct and limit the conduct (she provided no notice or guidance as to what she found objectionable). For example, in the recent past, when she found the behavior of the wife of one of her board members unacceptable (it was much more extreme than anything Mr. Josephson did) she separated the wife from the school and left the student alone. 

4) To fully understand the Josephson’s passionate outrage a Ms. English’s callousness it is important to understand that Child 2 was a 15-year old openly gay student who was traumatized when she was informed that she would be ripped from her school family and forced to find a new social setting fraught with risks of bullying and exclusion (facts known by Ms. English before she made the decision to exercise her discretion to remove Child 2 from the school. Shortly after this news was conveyed to Child 2 she and Ms English had a meeting during which Child 2 asked why she was being punished. Ms. English confirmed that child 2 had done nothing wrong (in fact she was a model student). Ms. English then explicitly sought to drive a wedge between Child 2 and her father telling the 15 year-old girl that she should blame her father because his conduct caused Ms. English to ban her from the schoolThis worked for several months as Child 2 was furious with her father and refused to talk with him. Why would a professional educator do this to a vulnerable child?

XI.  As he did with Child 1, however, Mr. Josephson voluntarily withdrew Child 2 from the school, on March 21, 2014.

RESPONSE:

1) On February 7, 2014, without any conference, discussion or warning Ms. English informed Anne Josephson that “that the School has decided that it will not offer your family a re-enrollment contract for C2.  I truly regret that C2 cannot stay at Archer, but it is an unfortunate consequence of Michael’s conduct.”

2) Upon receiving this shocking news, Mr. Josephson, responded aggressively challenging Ms. English’s motives and factual statements. The arguments made in this letter would have been pursued if the Josephsons had their day in court.

E-mail: Feb 7, 2014 at 10:07 AM From: MSJ To: Elizabeth English

Dear Elizabeth, 

Anne has forwarded me your recent letter indicating your decision to not allow C2 to continue at Archer as “a result” of my conduct which you said irreparably harmed the relationship between the family and the school. The basis of your decision is my “conduct” during our meeting and the letters I sent Brian Wogensen and Andrea Locke. I must suppose you considered my words or actions severely egregious to justify your imposition of this enormous penalty on an innocent 15 year old. 

You took this action knowing that she will be forcibly separated from her friends and teachers and, despite Anne’s clearly stated concern that your refusal to let C2 return to Archer next semester would subject her to enormous trauma as an openly gay girl with no friends or contacts. And though it seems there was no urgency for this communication, you chose to convey the information at a time when you knew C2 is truly suffering with the death of her best friend’s father.  

Since every child’s enrollment depends on your sensitivities and interpretation of what is or is not acceptable disagreement and discussion it seems only fair that you provide guidance as to how you will exercise your discretion. In that context, I do not think you can justify your conclusions that I was “unwilling to support the School and its policies and to cooperate with and act civilly toward members of the Archer community. 

Even if we assume this is a legitimate test of irreparable harm to the Archer-parent relationship, I respectfully submit there is nothing that occurred during our meeting and nothing that was said in my letters to justify your conclusion. I have listened to the tape of the meeting several times and I am having a transcript made. I do not think there is a single thing you can point to in content or tone that was uncivil. There were no obscenities, vile accusations, yelling or threats. Please identify for me any part of that meeting that qualifies as incivility so egregious as to justify your punitive action.

Respectfully, if you cannot do so I think it is clear that you erroneously characterized my conduct. Is it possible that the mere act of disagreeing with you and/or challenging your reasoning is grounds to disenroll my daughter? If this is the case, I think you are obligated to put that in the Handbook as no one could rationally believe that anything short of passive compliance is permitted.  

Similarly what evidence is there that I demonstrated an unwillingness to abide by your rules and policies? In fact, though I disagreed with the results and reasoning for your decision to force C1 to participate in the student honor council process I did so respectfully and never refused to comply with your interpretation of the school policies. To the contrary, the entire last portion of the discussion was about how we might make it easier for C1 to minimize the trauma of participating in the process. 

Similarly, though I disagreed with your decision that C1 would not be allowed on campus unless and until she participated in the student hearing, I complied with this decision as well. We did not send C1 to school and we continued to explore with her therapist the possibility of preparing for the hearing. You will recall I sent several follow-up emails suggesting possibilities, including allowing a parent or C1’s therapist to be with her. You rejected every proposal and reiterated your refusal to meet with the therapist so she could help you understand the enormous risk you were demanding her to take and to explore less traumatic alternatives. I continued to comply with your interpretation of school policy re: the medical leave. C1 did not go to school and complied with your edict that she could not seek any help from her teachers (we were told to hire private tutors – which we did). 

As to the letters to Brian and Andrea – two faculty members that I have a personal relationship with and who have played a major role in the lives of several of my daughters – what is the nature of your objection? Throughout our time at Archer I frequently have communicated directly with faculty members on a wide range of topics.

Are you saying I violated a school policy by writing them?Are you saying I violated a school policy by discussing C1’s situation with them, that I had no right to discuss my perceptions and frustrations with friends at the school?Is there anything in my description that is untrue?  Again, there was nothing the least bit uncivil about that those communications, let alone something serious enough to justify banning my daughter from Archer. 

Since your description of my conduct is simply not supported by the facts, will you consider reversing it? Otherwise I don’t think you can escape the implication that your accusations concerning my conduct are simply a pretext to express your dislike for me and my refusal to passively surrender to your will by punishing my children. 

Michael S. Josephson

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