Sunday, April 11, 2004

Still about Kim 

I wrote the principal a personal letter of appeal re Kim's suspension which I am questioning until now. Here is the letter.

Dear Alfred,

I am writing to you personally as a friend who wish you well in your stint
as the high school principal. I am still at a dilemma regarding my
daughter Kim and how her case was handled. I have received the notice of
Kim's suspension to be served on April 13. I was surprised because you
said you were going to answer my letter and you were going to call for Kim
during the time she was around. (to refresh your memory, this is because of
the way the investigation was handled. With all the teachers and level
coordinator present, I wonder who was the real bully in this scenario.)

I would like to appeal again to your good sense of fairness and justice.
In all honesty, I couldn't see why she has to be punished this way. You
say suspending her for one day and giving her a C in conduct would
straighten her out. With deep regret, I find this to be naïve and deprived
of reason. We will only be sending her wrong signals as she is adamant that
she had not done anything wrong. I would be of much help to you and ____ if
you can show me concretely the wrong she had done. Even her friends say
that she has the least participation in all this.

I will never condone my children's wrong doings in the same manner that I
will fight tooth and nail if their rights are trampled upon. Right at this
moment, I have not been given the real basis for the decision. I think I
have the right to know where all this is coming from. This is the reason
why I was waiting for your response re my letter. It is always the right
of the accused to know the evidences against him/her. And I, being the
parent have to know the circumstances surrounding the case.

As you know, Nitz even went to ____ to ask for clarification on the matter.
She too, was amazed at how the decision was reached. Now, coming from
someone who works at the Discipline Office, she should know what she's
talking about.

And yet, my arguments are not based on my wife's assessments alone. Every
time I ask ___ how he has come up with a decision, he would answer that his
basis was on the explication letter made by Kim and her friends. I am
telling you that conferring judgment on written documents done by minors is
baseless and poor procedure on due process. And yet, even if, for the sake
of argument, it were acceptable, my wife has seen all the documents and
told me that she did not find anything culpable or that would merit any
offense from any documents presented to her. Have you? I know you said you have read the documents in question, but really, have you? If you have,
please show me all the points that say she's guilty.

Again, I reiterate the following facts. That ___ and his cohorts were
hasty with their decision and that they only investigated for the sake of
complying with the due process requirement. In truth and in fact, they
have already made up their minds that the children were guilty. Why can't
we face it? They were astonished by the accusations of a parent who cried
"bullying" and were set to appease her. Tell me honestly, do we, as
responsible adults, interfere with children's quarrels? Is it proper?

Had I been in ____’s position, I would have simply issued a warning
considering the facts. This is a case of another student or better yet, a
parent complaining about another student. Neither I nor ___ was there
when it happened. How can I make it any clearer that when the accusations
are denied by the accused, it becomes a question of fact and that the
investigator should try to piece the truth by finding corroborated
testimonies to prove the same, and using sound logic to arrive at a
judgment and not pure sanctimonious bias.

Technically, what is the case? One basic right of the accused is that the
offense should be stated in a way that leaves no ambiguity as to its
meaning. I suggest you read Ulpiano Sarmiento’s book re the matter. In
the case at bar, my daughter is charged with “bullying that involves
intimidation”. Nowhere in the handbook will you find an offense like this.
So, what does it mean? I know you say bullying but what is entailed and
how was this committed. The correspondence I received contains not only an
offense that is ambiguous but even vague. If I may offer you my
interpretation of the words bullying and intimidation. It is bullying when
one uses physical threat on another. While the former needs an overt act
on the part of the offender, the latter need not be so. One can be
“intimidated “ by his/her own free will simply because he/she is afraid of
the person before him/her.

The handbook contains two types of bullying in different categories.
Basing on the sanction imposed, “bullying that involves intimidation”,
(whatever that means) is the heavier type (huh?) Why use the heavier
penalty for a simple infraction, if there is one?

The correspondence given me is an information to a “sanction” and not the
offense. Again, I would like to refer you to the proper procedures on due
process by reading Ulpiano’s book, “Manual for Private Schools.” Let me
just point out that the imposed sanction is not a simple suspension of one
day as it includes a DP status (which you rightfully took away) and a
conduct grade of C which has a lasting effect on my child’s record.

By way of closing, I am reminded of the Gamboa cheating case where you
overturned my decision when I made a ruling on the case. You exercised
your right to overrule me in a case which was air tight as I have given you
my solid bases which were upheld by a committee of several teachers, with
no less than the ITC Head, as chair, I don’t see any reason why you
couldn’t in my daughter’s case who seems to be a victim, a fall guy to
appease an angry parent, rather than an accused.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely yours,



And since I am at it, why don’t you advise ___ that any correspondence
given to parents should be the original and not the xerox copy as was the
case when he gave me the second notice as to the effectivity of my
daughter’s suspension. I asked him about it and he said that was his normal
procedure. This is the first time I've seen a communication where the
original is kept by the writer and not the addressee. What is that? A
provisional receipt?

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