Dear Board and Joan:
I have refrained from writing out of respect for the process and because I have not wanted to appear merely to jump into a feeding frenzy. But at this point I am so concerned about the fact that the situation has become very drawn out and the fact that there are attorneys involved, that whatever one might think of the initial decision (whatever that decision was, and it is impossible to have a factually-based opinion at this point) one must surely agree that everything that has proceeded from that decision has been alarming.
I am sad for the faculty and staff who don't feel they can speak out and the students and parents who fear reprisal if they protest, whether that fear is rational or imagined. It is not right that people should feel that way, or that the situation or general atmosphere has led them to feel this way. I am sad for the school, which sounds as if it is pouring money into legal resources and lost donations and pouring energy into this situation instead of going about the business of teaching and learning. The situation has distracted me as I go about my life, unconnected to the school, and I can only imagine what it is doing to the students and faculty and staff who are living with it. One's personal feelings for Bear aside, this situation per se is a humiliating blot on Castilleja's reputation and for that, too, I am sad.
I have cared passionately and actively for Castilleja since I first entered the school 31 years ago, and only increased my commitment when my sister had the same extraordinary experience there after me. It matters to me that Castilleja remain the place where I was allowed to express myself about matters of great importance without being stifled or suppressed, and where one was encouraged to grow from mistakes. That this situation has united parents, students, faculty, staff and alumnae is an extraordinary opportunity, if you can make something positive and strengthening out of it. Please take whatever steps you need to take to learn from this mistake, put Castilleja back on track, restore the faith of the entire community, and address whatever underlying issues may have led to this problem in the first place.
Natasha Moiseyev (Class of 1982)
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