Opinion » Shredder

Learn by don’ting



There's nothing like doing the wrong thing to figure out how to do the right thing, amirite (wrong)? And this week, never have so many done so wrong for such dumb reasons. Where to start? How about the case of a neurodivergent high schooler in an independent study program being denied the right to try out for extracurricular soccer in the Templeton Unified School District?

He's apparently tried to attend "regular" school, but it didn't work for him. Instead, he engages in independent study though the Templeton Independent Study High School (TISHS), which has a rule that forbids students from extracurricular sports because ... well, according to Ian Trejo, assistant superintendent of Educational Services, there may be eligibility problems due to TISHS coursework not meeting requirements to participate, and for some athletes, there may be National Collegiate Athletic Association implications.

Um, OK, but the kid's neurodivergent and can't attended classes considered "eligibility compliant," and he just wants to play soccer with other high school kids. Let him try out. You can worry about his collegiate eligibility after he graduates high school and decides to go to college (or not).

According to kids with special needs advocate Brad Bailey, what's happening in Templeton amounts to discrimination: "Any students who are attending the independent study program are allowed to participate in everything except sports."

So, what's the big deal? Seem like a simple matter of fairness and inclusion, but the Templeton district doesn't want to talk about it: "We will politely decline an interview," executive assistant to the superintendent and board of trustees Leslie Bogart wrote New Times, "but [we] welcome you to view the agenda and/or recordings from last night's meeting. ... You are also welcome to come to our next meeting on Nov. 9 where this topic will be discussed again."

Sounds great. Homework assignment for all involved in making this decision: Please watch the 1993 biographical sports film Rudy.

Stacey White, mother of three boys, has also been advocating for the rights of her youngest in the Templeton independent study program: "My younger son is wired differently than my other two boys. He learns differently; he socializes differently; he's somewhat rigid when it comes to rules and compliance with those rules. Fairness is very important to him."

Added White, "It's about all the other students who, like him, wanted to play in the past, wanted to play this year, and may want to play in the future. No student should have to fight for their right to play extracurricular sports."

Amen. And while I'm being holier than thou, can I get a witness that the Oceano Community Services District (OCSD) is the most dysfunctional governing body to ever "govern" and "dys-function"? Yep, more shenanigans among the "leaders" trying to steer Oceano to ... well, if not greatness, at least not terribleness.

How bad is it down there? Well, after four years as OCSD general ganager, Will Clemens, who was in charge when the OCSD was embezzled last year, has decided to "retire" early: "The dysfunction of this board came to a head at our last meeting of Oct. 11 and culminated with the resignation of the legal firm representing our district. It's clear that I'm not the person to lead this district in the direction that this board now desires to go, especially because this new board direction lacks clarity. Therefore, it's with mixed emotions that I finally decided to call it a career and retire from public service."

First OCSD legal counsel Daniel Cheung called it quits after board member Charles Varni repeatedly ignored his legal advice, and now Clemens. Oh, but it gets better. Apparently, Rod Gibson, OCSD board Vice President Shirley Gibson's hubby, confronted Varni for his treatment of his wife, and Varni called 911 for protection, but law enforcement was like, "Nah, we're watching the meeting on SLOSPAN and you're fine."

Varni, who's been repeatedly accused of being the instigator of the board's vitriol and dysfunction, expressed his ire at being ignored by law enforcement by writing a whiny letter to two members of the SLO County Board of SupervisorsJimmy Paulding and Dawn Ortiz-Legg—demanding accountability ... for everyone but himself. Dude, maybe you're the problem.

Speaking of a liberal Board of Supe member who didn't get Varni's woe-is-me email, Bruce Gibson is being threatened with recall by bad old Darcia Stebbens, who still owes the county thousands of dollars for the failed election recount of the 2nd District supervisor's race she demanded, which turned out to prove the election tallies were 100 percent accurate and Gibson won fair and square.

She showed up at the last supervisors meeting to play a video of Gibson speaking in Sacramento that she claimed proves he's two-faced. One of Gibson's failed opponents, Col. John Whitworth, also got up and told Gibson, "Be prepared to be recalled."

Sure enough, Whitworth, Gibson's other losing opponent Bruce Jones, and 68 other signatories filed a notice to circulate a recall petition. Gibson was not surprised.

"They're MAGA fanatics and this is just what they do," he wrote in response. "SLO County voters are smart, and they'll see through this vain attempt to nullify last year's election."

Haters gonna hate. Losers gonna lose. Strap in. We're just getting started. Δ

The Shredder is flummoxed by the tomfoolery in the county. Add to the list at [email protected].


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