It's no secret that children raised in stable environments, ones that provide security and support, are more likely to become socially, emotionally and intellectually mature, productive members of society.
This is so elementary that even the children know it, as was evidenced when Marina Abreckov, a student at Amador Valley High School, addressed the Pleasanton City Council during the non-agenda public comment period March 5. The young woman urged the city of Pleasanton, a separate governmental agency from the Pleasanton Unified School District, to intercede and help solve Amador's principal turnover problem.
"I know you're all probably thinking why am I coming to the City Council rather than the school board meeting, and that's because of the lack of transparency in this situation," Abreckov told the council members. "There are a lot of rumors going around about the school district's involvement with the situation and whether the right actions have been taken."
The high school senior's comments -- a rare sight in a City Council meeting -- resonated with us.
Alberto Solorzano, Amador's principal for all of seven months, left unexpectedly and under a cloud after a district investigation found that unnamed administrators violated state law by purposely removing a completed course from a high school student's transcript.
Shortly after the investigation concluded and days before a Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation visit was scheduled at Amador, Solorzano was granted a leave of absence for "personal reasons."
Last week, Amador vice principal Nimarta Grewal was appointed to serve as interim principal.
So that means this year's senior class has had four principals during their high school career (Tom Drescher, who took an unexplained leave months before his June resignation in the 2015-16 school year; Mike Williams from spring 2016 through June 2018 when he was promoted to PUSD human resources director; Solorzano and now Grewal).
PUSD leaders made a good decision appointing Grewal. She seems to be well-liked, well-respected and, more importantly, she is familiar with the school and the students, which will at least provide continuity in leadership, if not some stability, in the short-term.
Meanwhile, nobody knows what happened to her predecessor or if he is coming back. Solorzano's abrupt departure void of communication does not engender trust in the district, which is obviously waning in the Amador community.
"We are so shocked by the fact that overnight we just found out (Solorzano's) gone and no longer part of our community," Abreckov told the council. "And that's why I'm here today asking the city to get involved because it's really concerning and frustrating, and the students are the ones who lose the most from this."
As Abreckov said March 5, the rumor mill is in full force, and the situation is not being helped by nobody talking.
Since this is reported as a personal leave requested by Solorzano, the district can claim privacy as the reason for their silence. But Solorzano is not returning our requests for comment either, which just makes the cloud he left under a bit darker.
Solorzano made an impact on students and teachers during the short time he was at the school. Abreckov praised him -- "our principal who is no longer at Amador for a reason we don't know" -- for his guidance at Amador, especially around student mental health initiatives.
She summed up her two-minute appeal to council members by saying, "This isn't just an Amador issue. This is truly a community issue because it affects students and parents, not just the teachers and administrators at the school."
The council members were prohibited from discussing the issue that night because it wasn't on the posted agenda for that meeting. However, Councilwoman Julie Testa said to Abreckov, "With your being here, a lot of people have heard you."
We hope that PUSD Superintendent David Haglund, his executive cabinet and the Board of Trustees are included in the people who heard her voice. We encourage our school district leaders to have a frank, public discussion with Amador students, parents and community members how about stability and transparency will be addressed.