Posted: 11/19/2021

Dear Spreckels Union School District (SUSD) Community:

SUSD staff, administration and our Board of Education are committed to supporting safe, inclusive and equitable learning environments that support all students without including, sharing or promoting any political opinion or agenda.

Recently, an article was written that quoted two Buena Vista Middle School teachers who presented during a California Teachers’ Association (CTA) conference in Palm Springs. The teachers were using personal leave to lead a breakout session in their roles as CTA members; they were not officially presenting on behalf of SUSD, nor were their presentation materials or comments reviewed by SUSD administration. Many of the comments and themes stated in the article are alarming, concerning, disappointing and do not in any way reflect the District or the Board of Education’s policies and practices. 

The District has taken immediate steps to address several of the concerns raised in the article:

  • The student club mentioned in the article, UBU (You be You), has been suspended.
  • Any future student clubs will be required to submit an outline of all activities and materials before being allowed to meet. Student sign-in sheets will be maintained and parent/guardian permission slips will be sent home prior to a club holding a meeting. 
  • All messaging shared in the morning announcements will now be controlled and distributed by the site principal. This practice will be in place permanently.
  • Any presentation or assembly involving sensitive themes such as sexuality will be created in line with state-approved standards and curriculum, and under the supervision of site and district administration. Materials of any sensitive themes will be shared with parents/guardians prior to being shown to students. 
  • Teachers are prohibited from monitoring students’ online activity for any non-academic purposes. 

Regarding the teachers involved, appropriate personnel steps are being taken to make sure such activities and comments will not be repeated. 

Again, the comments, ideas and principles shared within this article do not align with any SUSD policies or practices, nor was SUSD aware of any of the practices outlined in the article prior to its publication. SUSD believes each and every family is a crucial part of their students’ education and the conversations in classrooms and on our campuses should be open, honest and without prejudice.

We value the trust you place in us and sincerely apologize for any concerns this issue may raise for our families. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter further, understanding our legal inability to share any details on personnel matters, feel free to contact the Superintendent’s Office directly. 

Sincerely,

Eric Tarallo, Superintendent

Steve McDougall, SUSD Board President

Kate Pagaran, Buena Vista Middle School Principal


Update: 11/23/2021

Dear Spreckels Union School District (SUSD) Community:

We want to provide you with an update to our earlier statement regarding the recent news article involving District staff.

The District will conduct a thorough investigation that will be completed by an independent third-party firm. The District will be following the independent third-party firm’s process for receiving information relevant to the investigation. 

Following investigative practices, the staff involved have been placed on administrative leave.

The District’s commitment to inclusion and the support of all students is still among our top priorities. All students, including those in the UBU Club, are encouraged to visit Buena Vista Middle School’s Wellness Center on Wednesdays and Fridays during lunch. The Wellness Center is supervised by the District’s counselor on Wednesdays and the BVMS principal on Fridays. For more information about the Wellness Center, please contact the BVMS principal. 

We appreciate your support during this time. 

Sincerely,

Eric Tarallo, SUSD Superintendent

Steve McDougall, SUSD School Board President

Katelyn Pagaran, BVMS Principal