Parent Chrissy Guzman-Alvarado is a parent at Desert Trails Elementary School in Adelanto, California. This is the school–the only school in California–where the billionaire-funded “Parent Revolution” has been able to wheedle enough parents to sign petitions to close the school and hand it over to a charter school. When some parents who had put their names on the Parent Revolution petition asked to withdraw their signatures, the organization went to court and won a ruling that signing a petition was like an election and they couldn’t rescind their signature. When the court battles ended, only 53 parents in the school of more than 600 students voted to choose a charter school. Guzman was one of the parents who opposed the takeover and closure of her children’s neighborhood school. This is Guzman’s description of the last graduation day at Desert Trails Elementary School:
How the Trigger Left Our Community
It was a beautiful Thursday morning in Adelanto, CA. Sixth graders were dressed in their Sunday best, parents were lined up with balloons and everyone was preparing for a wonderful ceremony. So why was there a table set up across the street for recruiting parents to the new charter school? This was a sixth grade promotion… All students would be transferring to junior high. Why the need to harass parents on such a special day? Desperation? Harassment? Lack of a Spine?
This is just one of the several times we have had to endure harassment from the people who have been hired to take over our school. Desert Trails Elementary was home to thousands of families, some having been there for several years, some arriving as early as this month. Today these families watched their students cry their eyes out and mourn loss of their second family – the teachers, staff, principal and even parent volunteers of Desert Trails Elementary. I was fortunate enough to share this day and many others, filled with great memories, with these families and am truly thankful for the time I spent there.
I can say this about the DTE family – they are loved by thousands, probably tens of thousands, of students and their families. Grateful for what they have done for them. For attending those Wednesday night Little League baseball games, or private tutoring them on their own time, for working with them until they have gone from a second grade reading level to fourth grade reading level – in less than a year. These are just a few of the many, many things these families will remember.
What they won’t remember is how Desert Trails Prepatory Academy set up a table across the street from the sixth graders promotion ceremony, right under the No Stopping Any Time sign. They may have not even noticed how when confronted with how low and pathetic a parent felt they were for disrespecting the ceremony they smiled and waved back at that parent. They will definitely not remember how they stopped parents exiting the parking lot to force a flyer on them or how they remained there until long after the last student had left for the school day. They won’t think twice about the parents who Parent Revolution used to pull the Trigger and how most of them have been long gone.
What I will remember… the RIP Desert Trails Elementary 1995-2012 written in chalk in the quad… The many, many I will miss you’s that were said that day. The kids chanting Once a Coyote, Always a Coyote. Most of all, I think I will remember standing in the driveway waving to the last few students driving off – looking back at their school with swollen red eyes and tears streaming down their cheeks knowing they will never see their DTE family again.
Brief biography: I am a parent who was concerned for the well-being of our community and school when Parent Revolution brought in their organizers in 2011. After doing much research on the funders, Ben Austin and the previous trigger, I started speaking up against them. After a few days, more and more parents came up to me and wanted to know more. After meeting with several parents I learned I was correct in speaking against pRev. I continued with my fight against them, collecting rescissions and getting parents to speak up. Unfortunately, we lost in court. We did the only thing we could – moved forward with our children’s school year and let the lawyers and politics work themselves out. I was voted PTA President this last school year and ran Desert Trails Elementary’s Journalism Club. I was on campus, almost daily, since 2008 and have been extremely involved at the school.
Thank you for your time. I hope this helps others realize the real impact it had on us.
Thank you again.