There are three reasons the quality of the relationship between the Josephson’s and Archer is relevant:
1) Credibility. Anne and Michael Josephson are extremely credible; they deserve to be believed and given the benefit of doubts. An extensive history of interactions demonstrates that neither are malcontents or irresponsible parents who expected or even accepted special treatment for themselves or their children. To the contrary, they (particularly Anne Josephson) contributed to the well-being of the school and, prior to the incidents giving rise to this lawsuit they invariably supported the disciplinary approach of Archer in dealing with their four daughters since 2005. They supported and encouraged the school to hold their children accountable when they misbehaved. It is of critical importance that even in this situation which began with an act of rudeness to a teacher by Child 1 that both parents supported efforts to hold her accountable, they simply opposed the imposition of a totally inappropriate and unnecessary process that they and C1’s psychologist believed would cause extreme and lasting emotional damage way out of proportion to the underlying infraction.
2) Collaboration. Anne and Michael Josephson are professionals with the background and disposition to work in collaboration with the school to devise and implement effective responses to disciplinary issues that meet the needs of the institution and advance the well-being of their children. Anne Josephson has a masters degree in psychology and in her very successful gymnastics business deals with thousands of families including hundreds of adolescent children. She was recruited by Ms. English to join the board and earned the respect of teachers, other parents and board colleagues for her sensible and insightful problem solving. Michael Josephson is a nationally known ethicist with a reputation for fairness and integrity and, as a law professor, one of his areas of expertise was counseling and negotiation. The repeated refusal of Ms. English to collaborate with both or either of the Josephsons to find a mutually acceptable method to resolve this very small disciplinary matter is understandable only when one considers her unusual intolerance of disagreement and her history of animosity toward Michael Josephson.
3) Irrationality of Decision to Exile the Josephson Family. Ms. English’s actions intended to forcefully separate the Josephson children and their parents from the Archer community simply makes no sense except as a demonstration of power and vindictiveness. When Ms. English ignored the separate pleas of both Anne and Michael Josephson to refrain from retaliatory actions against Child 2 resulting from Michael Josephson’s advocacy for Child 1 and is refusal to accept as final her decision to effectively expel Child 1 (a senior a few months from graduation) unless she subjects herself to a process her parents and her psychologist believed would be extremely harmful she set into motion the complete exile of the Josephson family (literally finalized in a letter formally banishing all Josephsons, including the two daughters who had graduated and are in college in New York from ever coming to the campus – even as guests of others). That these actions were taken without any effort whatever to specify the conduct she objected to, the nature her concerns and to and seek remediation – offered by the Josephsons in the hope of protecting Child 2 – demonstrate this is a result she wanted. From the perspective of Archer, this was an irrational decision. Not only did it lose a board member, a prominent and generous influential family it subjected the institution to all the collateral damages of this lawsuit.
Here are some additional facts concerning the Josephsons and their relationship with Archer from the Josephson’s May 29, 2014 offer to settle.
The character and quality of the relationship between Archer and the Josephson family.
The end result of the cumulative actions of Ms. English has been to exclude the Josephson family from the Archer community. The two Josephson children enrolled in the school at the beginning of the school year have both been forced to leave the school. The character and conduct of Michael Josephson has been defamed and Anne Josephson was effectively forced to resign as a member of the BOT. All this happened as a direct result of Ms. English’s conclusion that the family was not a constructive part of the Archer community.
We are confident that this claim will not withstand objective scrutiny.
The evidence is overwhelming that Michael and Anne Josephson have been active, positive members of the Archer community since 2005. They have enrolled four daughters in the school. The two that graduated received various awards and recognitions and one of them was selected to deliver the valedictory speech to both her middle and high school class. A third daughter (C1) was in her last semester at Archer having already received early admission of Barnard College and earned what my clients were told the highest ACT score of any girl in Archer history. C1 also distinguished herself as a leader of both dance troupe and several community service projects. A fourth daughter (C2) was an enrolled in the 10th grade and was a popular student, a natural leader who was very active in Archer’s theater program.
Anne Josephson is founder and CEO of one of the largest and most prestigious gymnastic academies in the country. She is a graduate of Barnard College and serves on the College’s Advisory Board. At the invitation of Ms. English, she became a member of the BOT nearly two years ago. She is well known as one of the school’s best advocates and active recruiters of both faculty and students. She also was a much loved and respected friend of Archer with extensive and intensive friendships with many administrators, staff and faculty. She repeatedly hosted, at no cost to Archer, parties and gatherings of student groups. Anne also provided free scholarships to the Josephson Academy of Gymnastics to the children of faculty and staff.
Michael Josephson, a former law professor, is a nationally known radio commentator, speaker, writer and consultant on ethics and character. He has devoted the past 25 years to serving, for no salary, as CEO of the nonprofit Joseph & Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics and the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, the world’s largest and most influential student development program. He voluntarily conducted a three day workshop for Archer faculty, conducted a school-wide survey of student behavior, presented sessions on parenting for character for Archer parent groups and taught sessions of several Archer classes.