Last Updated on December 13, 2021 by BVN

S.E. Williams

I would be remiss if I let another week go by without adding my voice to those of many parents, teachers, community leaders and others who have come to the conclusion that it is not only important to speak out in support of San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) Superintendent Harry “Doc” Ervin but to also speak out against those on the SBCUSD School Board who threw their rocks and then hid their hands in the coordinated effort to oust him.

I was initially reluctant to weigh in on the call not to support these board members in the coming election due to a sense of loyalty I had relative to those among them I have supported over the years when I lived in San Bernardino and because I had encouraged voters I know who still live in the community to support one or the other  of them over time.

SBCUSD Superintendent of Schools Harry “Doc” Ervin (source: facebook.com)

But I have come to realize that what occurred relative to undermining and aggressively attempting to oust  Ervin from his duties after less than four months on the job, was certainly about something more than what was publicly professed by those who spoke against him.

It is disappointing to know that not only did certain segments of the community line up against Ervin but also to realize that certain board members, who should have stood above the fray until all the facts were in and justly assessed,  instead chose to align themselves  against him as well.

But then, how could they be objective when they themselves were allegedly instigators,  supporters of the effort to dismiss him, and/or complicit in contriving to ensure his demise.

What is exceptionally disappointing about their actions is that all three of the board members involved in this effort are people of color who possibly received strong support from minority voters in the hope they would strengthen minority voices as it relates to the education of the largely  minority student body in San Bernardino.

“If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything… that smacks of discrimination or slander.”

Mary McLeod Bethune

And now for these board members to violate the trust of the voters by working to force out the  first Black man appointed to the position of superintendent in the SBCUSD is like stabbing their voters in the back—these people were elected in part to strengthen diversity among the district’s decision makers, not undermine it.

It was also an attempted disservice to students in the district who need role models like Ervin to show them what is possible to aspire to as a person of color. 

Were Ervin not impeccably qualified; had the board not searched far and wide before selecting him for the position; had he not led three previous districts successfully; had he not arrived with overwhelming support from leaders in school districts where he previously served; had he not joined SBCUSD without stellar support of state education officials; had he committed some grievous indiscretion or blatant violation of school district policy, I would hold my tongue.

However, readers who have followed the stress these SBCUSD board members have subjected Ervin to while he worked to establish himself in the district for no substantive reason beyond their “mean girl/mean guy” politics–certainly more befitting an elementary school playground than an SBCUSD boardroom—have come to understand the pettiness of their actions.  

It is for these reasons that I believe these board members are unworthy of continued community support when they run for re-election.

Times are changing and these changing times are providing long fought-for opportunities to create equity through representation in many important areas—our school districts among them. The goal is to move our communities forward and not back in all areas where  barriers to progress have persisted. In no area is that more essential than as it relates to the education of all of our children.

Those in positions of leadership who are unwilling to share power, who are unwilling to change the way “things have always been done” or who criticize—without constructive input, and who become barriers to progress should not be re-elected. They, themselves, should be held to account for their own poor judgement.

For these board members to act as if they alone have the best ideas, who lead with the mindset of “I alone can fix it,” regardless of their race or position, are evidence they are not the kind of leaders needed during these days of change and uncertainty. In truth, they are not the kind of leaders we need any day in the future of the SBCUSD School Board.

I will close by calling the names of those I and others deem no longer worthy of your support and encourage you to vote against them. They include:

Dr. Barbara Flores, her term ends in 2022

Abigail Rosales-Medina, her term ends in 2022

Danny Tillman, his term ends in 2022

There are seven members of the San Bernardino School Board and I find it interesting that the three listed above are not only the ones tied to efforts to undermine Ervin, they are also the only three of the seven  board members standing for reelection in 2022.

I wonder if there is something else binding them together in their actions. Should we be following the money to learn who is funding their reelection campaigns? There must be a reason for their efforts to  slander the reputation and potentially destroy the career of a highly acclaimed Black professional without just cause. Perhaps further investigation will reveal an inconvenient truth?

I’m just saying.

As always, this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.

S.E. Williams

Stephanie Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News. A longtime champion for civil rights and justice in all its forms, she is also an advocate for government transparency and committed to ferreting out and exposing government corruption. Stephanie has received awards for her investigative reporting and for her weekly column, Keeping it Real. Contact Stephanie with tips, comments. or concerns at myopinion@ievoice.com.