Reenactment of Joanne Russell-Chavez’s response from Sept. 15 board meeting

The following video was anonymously submitted to DSUA.

“We made the video because the Alhambra public needs to know what their board members believe in, their histories, and how they point their fingers.”

The next school board meeting is on Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Board Room at 1515 W. Mission Road, Alhambra, CA 91803.


What I’m about to say to you guys, I say with a lot of respect. But what I want to tell each one of you….um, some of you came up and you talked about being bullied and you talked about not getting communication, um, you talked about the lack of what we do.

I take offense to that, personally.

(Referring to other board members:) Maybe they do and maybe they don’t. But I do. I take offense to it because every day we think about what you’re doing, what’s happened to you, and where you’re going.

Someone just talked about all the scores and where, you know, what you received and where you’ve been and the education that you got (reference to Lauren Fukumoto’s speech). What’s happening now, what you’re up here talking about, is a small part of your life. It’s a part of what we deal with. So when you tell me that I’m not listening to you, and you’re smiling (audience member: “Yeah.”) and so be it. But you know what, we’re listening, we have acted, and just because you don’t like the way we did something. No uh (audience member: “Of course.”). Of course, because you don’t like the way we done something, because you don’t appreciate where we come from.

I take offense to that, because you know what, I went to San Gabriel, and I had an issue when I was there….you listen to me now, I listened to you when you were up here (audience member: “Go ahead, go ahead.”). Thank you.

So my point is when I went to San Gabriel, I had an issue with a student when I went there, and I had an issue with a group of girls. We were told that there were certain things that we couldn’t do. As a student back in the 80s, we did not sit here and come to the board and explain to them time after time after time why we didn’t get what we wanted. We were told what we did was wrong and we were told why. I went home and I talked to my parents. My parents told me what I did wrong.

So my question is are you upset because you’re not getting your way, or is it just something that you continuously think–again, (audience member interjects: “You’ve asked a question.”) I don’t want to debate you, but I want to tell you that we done everything we could possibly do. And whether right, wrong, or indifferent, there are rules, there’s things that we need to continue to follow.

But understand it’s all in, it’s all for the betterment of this school district, whether you like it or not. Because you know what, we are gonna disagree (audience member: “Yes”). But we have to learn to agree to disagree, and learn from it, and somebody said that this was a waste of their time. I hope this wasn’t a waste of your time. I hope you took this as a learning lesson. I hope you take you take this because you know what, when you get in the real world, and you start working, and you start doing things that you may or may not like, what are you going to do? You gonna go to the states of Sacramento, you gonna go to Washington DC and talk about things that you’re being told to do because you have to do it but you don’t want to do it?

We all have things here that we like and don’t like to do. There’s rules we have to follow and not follow. But there are rules. There’s rules. There’s laws. Again, you may or may not like them, and we’re sorry about that. But everything we do, every, every, every thing we do in front of you, behind closed doors, and everything those teachers do are for the betterment of you, whether you agree or whether you disagree.

But that’s it. So when you guys sit here and talk about we’re not listening, you know what, we, we have meetings, we brought lawyers. Someone said that it’s nothing (pause) that we don’t give answers, that we don’t, that there’s no role models, that’s there no leaders, that we don’t give you any answers. I mean, we’ve given you answers. You just don’t like our answers. (audience member: “What answers?”) We’ve given you lawyers, you didn’t even like the lawyers’ answers. (Note: AUSD provided one lawyer, James (Jay) B. Fernow of Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP) for a one-hour presentation on employment law for current students and their parents on July 8.) Where do we go after that?

We’ve given you answers. So at some point, I’m just trying to figure this out for myself. At what point, do you say, you know, there is a time for us to agree to disagree, we respect where you’re coming from. We may not agree, we may not agree, but we respect where you’re coming from, and hopefully as you get older, and you go through the processes, you’ll understand. But don’t, but please don’t sit there and tell me that I’m not hearing you and I don’t understand because I am far from ignorant. And so I believe everybody else up here is too.

So again, we hear you, we understand, but we cannot give you the answers that you want because you want them. And that’s all I have to say.

Related Links

September 15 School Board Meeting (Audio)

September 15 School Board Meeting Part 1 (Video)

September 15 School Board Meeting Part 2 (Video)

The Matador: Opinions presented at September 15 board meeting

DSUA Recap: The Crucible

DSUA: AUSD Board Member Russell-Chavez responds to community concerns, compares concerns to situation in the 80s

Transcript of Russell-Chavez’s remarks


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