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Guest Opinion | Jennifer Hall Lee: It’s Time For the School Board to Get Back to Focusing on Students

Published on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 | 5:05 pm

An article published in Pasadena Now on November 22, 2021 makes reference to a lawsuit that had been filed against the Pasadena Unified School District by a school board member. Anytime lawsuits are filed against school districts money is taken out of the classrooms, therefore they are serious. The lawsuit was recently withdrawn. Here are the facts that may not have been apparent in the article:

• Prior to the engagement of counsel by the board member, the process to amend the protocol in question was already in place.

• Constitutional arguments regarding the protocol were not raised by the board member until the Board received the nineteen page letter from her attorney on October 6.

• Board counsel ultimately advised the board member’s attorney that he would meet with the Board at its board meeting on October 21 and would respond to the letter on October 22.

• The board member through her counsel did not wait until October 22 to hear the Board’s response to the lengthy letter and filed a lawsuit against the Board of Education just two days earlier on October 20.

• The Board’s actions in approving revisions to the protocol in question were not motivated by the lawsuit as it was Board counsel’s opinion that the protocol did not implicate the First Amendment.

• The involvement of counsel was completely unnecessary and forced the Board to engage the services of its own counsel at much expense to the District.

It benefits the PUSD that the lawsuit was withdrawn. It never should have been filed. Now, the board must return to its prime focus of putting children first and foremost in everything we do.

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4 thoughts on “Guest Opinion | Jennifer Hall Lee: It’s Time For the School Board to Get Back to Focusing on Students

  • Ms. Hall Lee seems reluctant to state the relevants facts here. PUSD Boardmember Fredricks published an op-ed opposing the Board’s no masking decision and they tried to silence her consttutional right of free speech. It was a pretty dumb move if you think about for a half-second amd it’s pitiful that they had to be sued to back down. Ms. Fredricks is a patriot.

  • Ms. Fredericks seems to have her eye on a political career and her grandstanding in lieu of actual seeking of solutions is a symptom of that in my opinion.
    She looked at a school district with ridiculously limited resources and decided it would be a good idea to sue her fellow board members so that she could continue to grandstand. So she could continue to violate rules that were in place prior to her behavior, not in reaction to her behavior. Not in pursuit of a solution to anything, she sued so she could continue to attack her colleagues in the press without sanction.
    Then she withdraws this motion when her political wind sensor tells her it’s not being favorably received.
    I agree with some of her opinions but she is focused on her brand not her job.

  • Thank you so much for writing this Jennifer Hall Lee. Most of us saw such an act as despicable! Who has the audacity to sue an already struggling public school district? Certainly not anyone who truly has the students best interests in mind.

  • As a PUSD parent of an elementary age student who was unvaccinated and about to enter a school of about 500 students all unvaccinated, I was very glad that Tina Fredericks as my elected PUSD board member representative spoke up and alerted the community of gaps in PUSD’s reopening plan re vaccines and testing which were not in compliance with either the state, county, or city’s public health guidance at the time schools reopened.

    As the CA PTA advises:
    “Protecting the health (both physical and mental) and wellbeing of our students and staff is of *prime* importance whether schools implement in-person, hybrid or exclusively distance learning. ”

    Rather than Board members disciplining her, in my view Fredericks should be thanked for highlighting such a critical safety need.

    I was actually deeply troubled that Board members would seek to discipline Fredericks for keeping me as a constituent informed and for speaking up and voicing concerns held by me and so many other PUSD parents on such a critical issue affecting the health and wellbeing of elementary age students which make up almost half of all PUSD students.