Education Matters: The loss of Mossy – Del Mar Times

by | Apr 26, 2022 | Education

The turmoil in the San Dieguito Union High School District never ends. Marsha Sutton(Courtesy) We’ve seen the failed appointment of Ty Humes, the failed Michael Allman recall effort by the SDUHSD teachers union, school closures during the pandemic, mask mandates, the map fiasco, and now the decision to place Superintendent Cheryl James-Ward on administrative leave.But of all this unrest and commotion, what feels most troublesome is the sudden resignation of former SDUHSD trustee Melisse Mossy.Someone who’s regarded as a swing vote – an independent thinker who is beholden to no one – should be cause for celebration and not an object of contempt.But no, Mossy was subject to the worst kind of derision and disrespect.She was bashed mercilessly by all sides, as she repeatedly stated in her public comments, from teachers, parents and community members — for not voting the way “they” wanted.Her pleas for civility and understanding at numerous board meetings fell on deaf ears.Mossy was the recipient of dozens, if not hundreds, of despicable emails, complete with ad hominem attacks on her character that went far beyond any respectful voicing of constituents’ opinions.“From what I understand of what took place, it is disappointing that it appears that some teachers and others may have pushed Melisse to the point of resignation,” said SDUHSD Board President Mo Muir. “She strived for consensus and was truly a caring person who always tried to put the kids first.”When the people your children grew up with, friends for decades, people you worship with, shop with, travel with, and have socialized with for years – well, when they turn on you, it can wear anyone down, even those with the thickest skin.Mossy’s resignation was a sad sign of what decent, independent-minded public servants have had to endure these past few years, ever since public displays of abusive intolerance aimed directly at individuals have somehow become acceptable.This is our community. Everyone has a right to disagree. Not to be Pollyanna about it, but the saying goes that you can disagree but don’t be disagreeable.“Disagreeable” is hardly strong enough to characterize recent conduct at public meetings.Disrespectful actionsIt’s difficult to know which straw it was that broke the camel’s back – perhaps just an accumulation of incidents and comments that drove Mossy to resign.Those who want to pick sides and proclaim she resigned because of pressure to fire James-Ward, or because of pressure not to – or for any other one specific issue – are simplifying a difficult situation and are conveniently omitting the fact that she received toxic pressure from all sides over many issues.After Mossy’s resignation, some of the same people who tormented her were proclaiming how sad it was that she resigned – and not because they had no one to pick on any more.People need to see how their words can cause pain. They can’t send poisonous missives and then express shock and sadness over what happens as a result.Those who attacked her for how she voted, one way or the other, and then refuse to acknowledge their contribution to the hurt they caused, should feel contrition and remorse, not shock.When you drive someone to the end of their tolerance level, what do you expect?It’s not only the people who say or write offensive comments, but also people around them who cheer and laugh and goad them on who share responsibility.At the March 30 school board meeting that centered on the redistricting map, Mossy spoke eloquently about her commitment to the students of the district.“We’re not here for money, we’re not here for power, we’re not here for prestige,” she said. “We’re here to make a difference. We’re here to support our students, we’re here to support our staff who support our students, and we’re here to bring our community together. I serve all of you and I hear you loud and clear. What you say matt …

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