It is so nice to see all this praise going out to Mesa View Middle School and Calimesa Elementary School, Fire and Police departments, Beaumont Unified School District along with those pictures with the banners that Cali Binks presented. The “Board of Ed praises” article does leave me with a lot of questions though.

Why didn’t Yucaipa School district supply the buses to evacuate our students?

Why was the substitute Principal down the street at Bob’s Big Boy restaurant? Since the principal was at Bob’s Big Boy, how can he make a statement as “Everybody at the school did what they were supposed to do and everything just really worked like clockwork?” The principal believes the lessons learned from the fire include practice. Interesting that maybe being at the school instead of the restaurant would also be an important lesson learned for him.

The assistant superintendent of HR praises the fire and police departments keeping communication with the district constantly. Yet, nothing on how the district communicated with the parents? Text messages at 2:14 p.m. brush fire, pick up students at main gate. At 2:36 p.m. Pick up students at back gate (where ever that is). At 3:17 p.m. Pick up students at Calimesa Elementary. As a parent, I would be very, very disturbed by that. Especially when you go towards the main gate and fire is 30 feet from your vehicle and you are unable to get to the school. The winds were extreme that day and the fire was directly next to the school. Embers can ignite a building much farther away than the school was from this fire.

Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, a board member, is the only quote recognizing the students and families. As a parent with a child scheduled to go to this school in two years, I am very concerned about all of these questions. I am concerned about only one road access to this school. How can the Fire department allow this school to be open? I am concerned that parents were not allowed in to get their children (probably because there was only one road access). I am concerned about the fear, anxiety, trauma, panic that these students, parents, families, and teachers felt. I am concerned about the responsibility of the school district in regards to this mental anguish. I am concerned about the lack of an evacuation procedure that everyone would be aware of.

Giving banners in recognition is nice. Writing a fluff article patting yourselves on the back for a job well done is political. Not presenting a plan to make it better or recognizing the trauma the students, teachers, and families experienced is inhumane. It isn’t too late to do something to make it better.

Jan Garnon



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