What We Know
Setting the Stage
As his Castilleja faculty bio reads, "Bear Capron grew up one block from Castilleja, went to Stanford, then moved to Europe in 1970 where he obtained his Masters in Theater Education and Performance at the Amsterdam Theaterschool in the Netherlands. As teacher, actor, director, mime and Gestalt therapist, Bear spent seventeen years in Holland before returning home for good in 1988. In the late 1990s Capron went back to school to study film and now teaches Film Studies and digital moviemaking electives to Middle and Upper School, in addition to teaching sixth grade and upper school Drama and advising Castilleja's GSA, the Rainbow Alliance. He loves music and dance, wordplay, talking with animals and playing all day. He makes his home in Mountain View with his spouse, composer Alva Henderson."
Bear has been teaching the performing arts at Castilleja since 1989. Bear teaches 6th grade Drama to all middle schoolers, teaches Movie Time to 8th graders, teaches a 9th grade Film class, teaches Drama I, Drama II, and Advanced Theater to upper schoolers, directs the fall play, serves as an Advisor to a group of 10 students, supervises Arts with a Heart, oversees upper school meeting, facilitates visiting speakers' presentations, and helps every Senior with their required address to the upper school. Bear has Castilleja in his will, a fact which is still posted on the head of school's door.
As the numerous letters from students, alumnae, faculty, and parents attest, Bear is an educator of exemplary character, a living example of Castilleja's "five Cs"Conscience, Courtesy, Character, Courage and Charity.
The Story, as far as we know:
Mr. Capron screened a short movie in a film class which contained female nudity (for more about the film, see this). A student (or students) complained. The next Monday he was gone. Apparently, in the administration's eyes, this was grounds to dismiss an outstanding teacher who has served the Castilleja community for twenty years. We say "apparently," because the only communication from the administration in the month since Mr. Capron disappeared was a single email from the head of school. In it, she told the students that Mr. Capron is in good health, and that he and she are engaged in "confidential discussions." She said that she hoped to let us know more later that week. It's been two weeks since that email, and we still haven't heard anything.
Are twenty years of service nothing in the face of one or two complaints? Why hasn't the administration said anything? Who is this silence protecting?
Where is Bear?
Update: Before class on Monday morning, a group of students posted four hundred flyers all over the Castilleja campus. At the end of 1st period, all flyers were gone. Students found them in the recycling and began putting them up again, but were told by a custodian that, regardless of any staff member's opinion on the subject, the standing order for the staff was to take them all down.
"Over the course of the last few years, the Castilleja School administration and the Visual and Performing Arts Department have been gradually re-assessing the School's creative direction in its performing arts programs. During this time there have been increasing disagreements over pedagogical issues between Mr. Capron and the Academic Administrative team. After engaging in extensive, good faith discussions, the School and Mr. Capron have mutually decided that he will not be returning to the school in favor of his taking early his well-deserved, school-approved sabbatical to conclude his Castilleja career.
We want to personally thank Mr. Capron for his many contributions to Castilleja for over two decades, and wish him the very best in all his future endeavors.
Joan Lonergan, Head of School
Nanci Kauffman, Dean of Faculty and Associate Head of School
Karen Fisher, Chair of the Castilleja Board of Trustees"
Note: This is a later, corrected version of the statement. The first statement featured a consistent misspelling of Castilleja as Castelleja.
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