We are parents, school workers, and community members at The Accelerated Schools (TAS). Many of us have children attending TAS schools and some of us are even founding parents. We care deeply about our school and its vision of creating a supportive learning environment. However, Mr. Williams, we are concerned that you have strayed from this mission and, through your increasingly disrespectful and threatening behavior, are undermining the success of our school and creating a hostile environment in our community.

While there are many instances of your bad behavior, we would like to highlight some particularly egregious incidents:

On October 26, school workers invited parents to join a candlelight vigil outside The Accelerated School. Our goal was to highlight the impact of poverty wages on TAS families and the local community. Even before the vigil began, Mr. Williams, you hovered about taking photos and video with your phone, clearly seeking to intimidate school workers attending the event during their time-off. At one point, you took-on an aggressive posture, yelling in front of workers, parents, and students.

On November 16, while SEIU Local 99 distributed bags of food to parents and community members outside the school, you again showed-up with an angry demeanor. You approached the gathering and said, “I should charge you rent. This isn’t public – this is a part of the school.” Yes, indeed, a public school in our community, run with public funds. We were gathered for a charitable event for the very same workers and families you claim to support. This completely unwarranted outburst was appalling. We wonder if your anger stemmed from your insistence that TAS should be exempt from paying the city’s minimum wage. Surely, you must know that your stance is contributing to the already high rates of poverty in our community.

To make matters worse, in front of parents, students, and workers, your actions mocked our efforts as families lined-up to receive the food packages. In fact, within earshot of families receiving food, you repeatedly and loudly asked a union organizer if he was a college graduate. Mr. Williams, we are a community of working families. Many of us are immigrants who came to this country looking for a better life for our children. While many of us may not have had the opportunity to attend college, we are proud of our hard work and our sacrifices to ensure that our children have access to higher education. Your words were belittling and demonstrated your ignorance of our community or, perhaps, your complete disdain for South L.A.’s working families.

This behavior is unbecoming of anyone. However, it is particularly wrong from an educator who should be modeling positive behavior to our students and working collaboratively with parents and workers to create a supportive learning environment.

Mr. Williams, we demand that you immediately cease your offensive behavior and return to the original mission of our school. We demand that you work with school workers to ensure quality school services for our students and better lives for dedicated education workers. We demand that you truly collaborate with parents and community members to create a school environment where every family feels supported so that our children can succeed. We demand respect.

Sincerely,
Dedicated Education Workers of TAS & SEIU Local 99’s Bargaining Committee
(Hilda Rodriguez-Guzman, Maria Macedo, Tere Ramos, Norma Acosta, Johnathan Chavez, Eva Barbara)