School Districts + Police Power | Pink Floyd 1979
The Day I Tapped Into My GenX Aversion to Authority
In this post:
A shocking press conference jolts my middle-aged body off the couch and triggers my inner GenX rebel
School district uses show of force over mask mandates and new curricula
My pitch to the media fails but I got a cool video out of it - and filed OML complaint No. 2 with the AG!
We don’t need no education - get your kids a Pink Floyd Album
1/ A shocking press conference jolts my middle-aged body off the couch and triggers my inner GenX rebel
May 21, 2021. Scottsdale, Arizona. The moment I got off the couch and started paying attention:
This was such an extraordinary moment for me - a school superintendent (I happily didn’t know his name at the time), sitting next to an armed police officer, explaining why they expelled parents from a board meeting - and where the police officer explains that the school district has the last say on what are the “facts”:
“As your police chief I welcome that. That’s the civics portion of what we should all take part in. It’s when there’s those people that don’t want to participate in civil discourse, that aren’t interested in the direction of the board, that are interested in bludgeoning the board with the cudgel of their own opinion as opposed to the facts and circumstances that SUSD puts out there.”
You get that? Only the school district gets to determine what the facts are - you parents that disagree with the “Facts©,” you have no right to come to board meetings and bludgeon the school board with your non-Facts©.
But that’s not all. This police officer had just admitted that, without warrants (presumably), they spy on parents’ social media accounts , as if parents are potential terrorists in an occupied territory:
“I maintain an intelligence unit within the Scottsdale Police Department. We look at open source media and social media related to Tuesday’s night’s activities. And so there has been a lot of chatter about the [board] meeting and a call to disruption. And I’m going to call it a ‘call to disruption’ because that’s what it is. There are a number of groups, some not affiliated at all with SUSD, who have put out their “call to arms” so to speak…So, yeah, there’s a lot of chatter out there about disrupting the meeting.”
Open source media. Chatter. Call to arms. Disruption. Affiliations.
Does this sound like a municipal law enforcement agency in the world’s oldest constitutional republic? People were upset by the now infamous collusion between the White House administration, the NEA and DOJ to create a parent-terrorist “task force”, but this state of affairs was a long time coming.
2/ School district uses show of force over mask mandates and new curricula adoptions
This superintendent, within days after the board used the force of law to expel parents objecting to mask mandates and controversial curricula adoptions, had called a press conference (no public allowed) to exert his authority.
To show that the district had what you do not - police power.
To show that you will accept what we are doing - and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. See this man with the gun?
I had not been paying attention, but I was now.
3/ My pitch to the media fails but I got a cool video out of it - and filed OML complaint No. 2 with the AG!
Three months later I had diligenced the hell out of the school board, filed my OML complaint and diligence report with the AG, met with some really cool moms organizing themselves to take on the district, and I was just gearing up. I tapped into my early 80s punk-kid, the one that wore knee-high, black boots and jean jackets with little pins all over it - The Clash, Sex Pistols, those little triangles with prisms from Pink Floyd, some Twisted Sister.
But this time I was two post-grad degrees and 25 years of corporate cross-border legal practice into adulthood. I had lived in Japan for six years and closed hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital investments from Silicon Valley to Stockholm and most every Asian capital between Beijing and Singapore. I wasn’t the punk that Principal Nate stopped in the hallway one day to “have a talking to” when he saw my earring and smelled cigarette smoke on me. And I was happy again.
With the help of Emmy-winning independent journalist Rob Murphy, I even made a video to pitch to the media. The effort fell flat - the media hadn’t quite caught on to Parent Uprising of 2021 yet.
But they have now.
And after this video was made, I filed another, supplemental OML complaint with the AG for the district’s egregious OML and First Amendment violations. That’s the subject of another post, but you can access that supplemental complaint here:
4/ We don’t need no education - get your kids a Pink Floyd Album
Finally, the song that my shocked parents objected to one day in 1979 coming home from Church in our family station wagon, but I, sitting backward without a seat belt in the back row that wasn’t even a seat, assured them - it doesn’t really mean we don’t need an education. It’s just a cool toon.
Looking back, I see now what my WWII generation parents did not - kids really do need a little punk in them.
Hello, Superintendent Scott Menzel. Did you ever get your MTV?