Highlights from the Opposition
NCAPS is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization founded by parents and other residents in our community. We have spent almost three years researching our school district, understanding how MDUSD compares with other districts in terms of its governance, operations and performance, and learning about the voluminous rules and regulations governing public schools in California. We took on this challenge so that we could responsibly propose a new way to manage our local schools. Of course, we understood that we could face opposition from MDUSD, a huge institution with a $330 million budget, plenty of money for attorneys and consultants, extensive political influence, and almost 3,000 employees who can be asked to participate in efforts on the district’s behalf. We knew that some people could disagree with our approach, and because the subject concerns the entire community, we expected a serious debate about our proposal. Unfortunately, what we have encountered, instead, is a steady campaign of intimidation, personal attacks, and insinuations that we are motivated by hateful, bigoted beliefs. Did those opponents come to their position after reasoned dialogue with us? No, they have lashed out with essentially the same talking points from the very beginning – from the moment we launched our petition campaign and MDUSD first began to take us seriously. Some of the opposition campaign has been carried out anonymously, but much of it has also been openly pursued by employees of MDUSD – in social media, in communication to parents, and even in classrooms with students. Indeed, we have seen district employees demonstrating on-campus, displaying posters, and engaging in biased “informational” sessions about our proposals on district work time, using district resources, with the blessing of administrators and school board members. To be clear, we support the right of every MDUSD employee to voice his/her opinions about our proposals using personal time and resources; however, we question how these in-school activities can by justified within state rules governing political activities by school district employees. More disturbing, however, given the similarities in the rhetoric between both the “anonymous” and “public” branches of this effort against NUSD, is the distinct possibility that both campaigns share some of the same authors, if not outright coordination by the district or its employees. Think about that for a moment. Instead of a rational debate among citizens, our well-researched proposal for changes in a taxpayer-funded school district must now face the full wrath of that same public institution. In all of our work with local governments and agencies over the years, sometimes participating in questions that were certainly controversial, we have never seen anything like this. As you read the examples below, consider whether you can imagine any other local government entity engaging in these sorts of tactics or taking such an antagonistic position against members of its own community – a community with a long track record of supporting our schools.
Imbalance of Power
Doug Regalia, Walnut Creek Journal, February 17, 2017, Bay Area News Group
Guy Moore, MDEA President - Threatening to Sue
Teacher's Union (MDEA) President, Guy Moore threatens to sue NCAPS members. His email was included and has been verified as authentic.
Letter from Moore to MDUSD Educators
Mr. Moore followed up his action against Northgate CAPS with a letter to MDUSD educators, dated Nov. 9, 2016. Naturally, it is not surprising for a union president to communicate with his members, but in this case, the letter contained many falsehoods about Northgate CAPS and our supporters – the neighbors of many of the teachers who were receiving the letter. The following excerpt captures the tone.
Guy Moore, MDEA President - LinkedIn
Guy Moore continued his efforts as a visitor to our LinkedIn pages, presumably to find employer information that could provide new avenues for harassment. Eventually an employer was called and a job threatened.
Union Vows to Fight NCAPS/NUSD
MDEA vows to vigorously fight NUSD and to do everything in their power to make sure NCAPS/NUSD fails.VIDEO CLIP
NHS Teachers Hits Social Media
NCAPS sends a letter to 270 educators in the 5 NUSD schools to explain the NCAPS effort and to address many of the questions teachers had asked throughout our community outreach meetings. After the arrival of this letter, two teachers launch a negative and misleading social media blitz.COPY OF THE LETTER TO TEACHERS
A Teacher Posts on Facebook
A teacher is joined by colleagues in referring to the NCAPS movement as something out of Animal Farm and it's members as "piggies."
Animal Farm References
A teacher continued the Animal Farm reference with a detailed post on Nextdoor.
Teacher Response to NCAPS Letter
Included here are excerpts from a letter from a teacher in response to the letter sent to all 270 educators at the 5 school sites.
MDUSD Administration Warns Teachers
Jonathan Eagen, Assistant Superintendent MDUSD tweets a warning about social media. The article is about a teacher who was fired for inappropriate social media posts. We don't know but we wonder if the district had become concerned with the social media posts directed at NCAPS.
Vile Fake Facebook Page Surfaces
A fake Facebook page surfaces with posts that misrepresent NCAPS. This was a calculated and elaborate effort to create a Facebook page using NCAPS' name, logo, and photos in an effort to make people believe this was the NCAPS site. Photos were manipulated with racist comments and posts were written to incense those who visited the page.
Fake Facebook Page
This is an example of how a visitor to the page believed this was a real site and that NorthgateCAPS promoted the kind of rhetoric posted on the page. The page caused an extreme reaction from most if not all who visited. Hashtags were being used with #NorthgateCAPS and they were promoting a completely false narrative to a large and extended community of people.
Creator Stirs Acivists
The fake Facebook page tagged activists and others throughout the bay area and the country to elicit negative comments. People who were brought to the page in this manner were angered by the "fake" posts while thinking they were real.
Facebook Takes Action
Complaints of harassment and inappropriate content is finally addressed by Facebook and the page is removed. The fake facebook page creator vows to come back with another page.
Teachers at NHS Protest NCAPS Campaign
In January, hearing that the Northgate CAPS petition was reaching its goal, MDUSD began more direct communication from the district to the parents, who began to see protests against NUSD at Northgate HS, which included outdoor protests by teachers, posters in windows and hallways, and classroom discussions with students, where, reportedly, students were badgered for their point of view if they suggested that supporters of Northgate CAPS might have valid criticisms of the district. Below we see scenes from “a great day” at NHS protesting the campaign for NUSD, where teachers and staff are using their access to parents and students to present their views.Attached is information about campaigning on school grounds and using public resources including time, paper, copy machines, and mailing lists for political use. These are taxpayer resources being used against a community that is working within the laws written for school district reorganization. But you decide after reading the rule attached. RULES REGARDING CAMPAIGNING USING PUBLIC SCHOOL RESOURCES
Remember: NCAPS is now not allowed to meet on campus.
Meyer Uses Staff Meeting to Distribute Anti-NCAPS Campaign Flyer
Superintendent Meyer passed out a flyer at the NHS staff meeting during contract time regarding NCAPS' campaign and special ed. A teacher tweets using MDUSD tags.Remember we are still not permitted to come on campus to speak with teachers or make a presentation.
McAlister Uses Public Email to Fight NCAPS Campaign
Principal McAlister uses public school email list to fight NCAPS campaign.This is another example of imbalance of power, we do not have access for this kind of communication, we do not have access to a mailing list of this extent.
Second Fake Facebook Page
As promised the fake Facebook page was reincarnated with a new name but included many of the old posts and agitators. They are still using the NCAPS name, logo, and pictures to confuse the visitor into believing this is the real NCAPS Facebook page. The same plan as in January except this time they also made it personal.
NCAPS Individuals are Targeted
This post was created as a fake supporter profile. The post created a hostile environment that led to harassment by one of the agitators invited to the site by those who created the page. Linda Loza's employer was threatened with an all out boycott and smear campaign if they didn't fire her for her involvement in NCAPS. Multiple phone calls were made to her work. A family member who is not involved with NCAPS was included in the post. After many requests Facebook finally removed this post but not the page. Inciting the public with a false narrative that includes individual names and feeding it to a receptive crowd, is a dangerous practice and truly elevated the opposition's campaign.
Community Members also Targeted
Gina Haynes, a volunteer and supporters was also dragged into this dangerous situation. Most disturbing was the idea that they included photos of her children in this hostile setting. We were also able to have this post removed.