By Jeff Wilhite, Trish Wilhite, Susan Bartow, Heather Brown, Tim Brown, Mark Eisele
There are rumors circulating that the justification for not renewing the contract for Principal Mike Halt is due to the “health and safety issues” at San Clemente High School and that those “Health and Safety Issues” are tied to a series of recent incidents that occurred in the AP Art History class taught at SCHS.
The recent showing of the documentary film, The Artist is Present (released 2012) in the AP Art History class is simply the most recent episode in a pattern of questionable behavior demonstrated during school year by this teacher. Investigations are pending by CUSD, and it is our hope that the outcome will be a classroom more focused on the scope, beauty and history of art and less focused on other issues.
We also unequivocally voice our support of Principal Halt. When these concerns where elevated to him less than two weeks ago, we feel that he reacted appropriately and was engaged in ensuring it was handled correctly. He welcomed parents and students to address any concerns they had and meet with him personally—fully committed to transparency. Essentially, he showed why he has highly regarded by parents and students alike at SCHS and we are 100 percent confident that he would have manage this situation correctly, given the opportunity.
Frankly, Principal Halt is the best thing to happen to SCHS in years, and losing him would set us back years as well as erode any momentum that has been gained since his arrival. He should not be held accountable for the behavior of a single teacher. If there are other reasons for his dismissal from SCHS, then we call on CUSD to make those known to the SCHS Student Body and Parents and residents of San Clemente. However, we emphatically refute any notion that Principle Halt has done anything incorrect or inappropriate in regards to this teaching matter in AP Art History—and support his continued tenure at San Clemente High School for years to come.
We as parents are asking for a recount to re-instate Principal Halt!