Two parents who fought the takeover of their public school and its conversion to a charter school have been charged with vandalizing the school last June. They deny the charges.

The vandalism occurred at the Desert Trails elementary school in Adelanto, California, which was the site of a bitter battle among parents after the state’s “parent trigger” law was invoked. The school is the first school where the 2010 law led to a charter conversion. The parent trigger law and the conversion process in Adelanto was led by a group called Parent Revolution, funded by the Walton Foundation, the Eli Broad Foundation, and the Gates Foundation.

During the battle over the future of the school, parents were divided, lawsuits were filed, and ultimately only 50 parents chose a charter operator for a school of 600 children.

Some lessons:

One, vandalizing a school is wrong, no matter who does it or for what reason. It is criminal. Those who committed this crime must be held accountable.

Two, the parent trigger process is inherently divisive, tearing communities apart, when parents, teachers, and the community should all work together on behalf of the children.

Three, the “parent trigger” is a failed law, created during the Schwarzenegger era to allow charter operators to take over public schools by slick campaigns. Four years after its passage, there is only one school that has been taken over, after a divisive campaign, and there is still no evidence that charter operators can provide better education than properly resourced public schools.