Joan McMillen's Letter to the Board of Trustees

To Joan Lonergan, Head of School, and the Castilleja Board of Trustees:

      This email message will be followed by a letter to each of you.

      I am a musician and composer who, before my recent move to Portland, OR, lived for over 30 years in Menlo Park. I have known many families that included current and past students at Castilleja, and—because of them—have come to hold the school in high regard. I have also worked on several long-term professional projects with Bear Capron during the past 8 years, and have only respect and admiration for his personal sagacity and generosity as well as for his professional abilities and accomplishments.

      His recent removal from Castilleja troubles me profoundly. The secrecy surrounding it can only be damaging to Mr. Capron, to his current students, to the faculty at large, and to the entire Castilleja community.

      I have read the eloquent letters written to you by current students and alumnae, and think of a scene from David Mamet's film The Winslow Boy (1999), which has lived in my memory ever since I saw it. A family has pursued justice for the youngest son at considerable cost to all its other members, and finally succeeds in engaging a barrister willing to take the boy's case. In the memorable trial scene, the words "Let right be done" are uttered, and taken up by the London media and public-at-large. The word right suggests something of honor even beyond the ramifications of the word justice. Surely Castilleja's high standards can only be upheld by doing right in this current painful situation.

      I urge you to consider that doing right entails 1) a full review of the decision-making process responsible for the disappearance of Bear Capron, and 2) his return to his work at Castilleja—thus protecting both his and Castilleja's good names.

Joan McMillen

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