Freedom of speech must be protected and revered even when you disagree. Recently we (Dr. Jeff Barke, Rossmoor resident and President of Rossmoor Community Services District and Staci Muller, Seal Beach resident) had our opinion piece published in the local papers. As a result, we have been attacked personally for expressing our opinions. Interestingly, the merits of our opinion have not been contested, just the fact that we dared to publicly share them.
In summary, we opined that the recent woke direction of the Los Alamitos Unified School District may hurt the property values and reputation of our Rossmoor community and beyond. An example was given of an interaction Staci had with a friend that was finding it more difficult to get a renter for her Rossmoor property. Staci also shared an email exchange with the Los Alamitos School Board president who responded to Staci’s question with: “You might want to sell now while you can still get top dollar. I am off to an agenda planning meeting.”
We will not apologize for our opinions! In fact, there are many homeowners in Rossmoor, Seal Beach, and Los Alamitos that share our concerns.
The Los Alamitos school district has earned a fine reputation over the years. Dr. Barke was proud to have served as an elected board member for 12 years and he and his wife entrusted the district with their children’s education. However, LAUSD’s outstanding reputation has been slowly diminishing over the past few years as the focus has shifted from academics, athletics, activities, and the arts to wokeness.
Just recently on the Mcauliffe middle school page, a cartoon was published that underlines how the district is focused on wokeness versus basic studies. The insulting cartoon assumes children are racist, wanting them to repeat:
“No matter how open-minded, socially conscious, anti-racist I think I am, I still have old learned, hidden biases that I need to examine. It is my responsibility to check myself daily for my stereotypes, prejudice and ultimately, discrimination.”
As the Los Alamitos school district implements ethnic studies, social justice standards and socially inclusive instruction (believed by many to be based on critical race theory) there are countless families opting out and instead choosing homeschooling, charter schools, or private schools. Here is one recent message sent to Dr. Barke from Seal Beach resident Dani Sams:
“Hi Dr. Barke, I LOVE your material. Please let me know if we can ever chat. I just pulled my 3 kids from the Los Al public school and will be doing my part to stand in my truth.”
While we respect the will of the school board to vote to bring ethnic studies and social justice standards into the district, we also honor the right of the citizens in our local community to organize, speak out and get involved in local elections.
Another Seal Beach resident Tamee MacKay told Dr. Barke:
“As a result of the actions of the Los Al school board, I will be removing my child from Hopkinson elementary school in the fall and instead will homeschool. I should not have to do this as a taxpayer.”
Barke ran into a Los Alamitos high school teacher at Costco who asked to share anonymously for fear of retribution from the woke staff:
“Ethnic Studies and Social Justice Standards are nothing more than progressive indoctrination disguised as history lessons. It is sad that I cannot speak out.”
Dr. Barke’s title as Rossmoor Community Services District President was used in the byline of our op-ed. It is common practice to use an elected title when writing an op-ed. Read other op-eds and you will see that a person’s current or previous position(s) are listed even if the op-ed represents their personal views. It was never implied or stated that our opinions represented anyone else’s but ourselves.
As a reminder, Dr. Barke was the number one vote-getter in the last election cycle for RCSD. He was also elected by the RCSD Board to be its president. In that capacity, he will continue to do so with the best interest of Rossmoor in mind. Both Dr. Barke and Ms. Muller will also continue to voice their opinions and advocate on behalf of family values and Judeo-Christian principles.
We welcome dissenting opinions and hope everyone will join us in supporting freedom of speech without personal attacks.
Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.
Seal Beach resident