Several years ago a new charter school, New Roots, was started here in Ithaca, NY. The whole issue of charter schools is a touchy one, of course, with some supporters of public schools considering them an attack on the whole principle of government schools. Certainly the charter school process in New York state is not ideal. Personally, I would like to see far less involvement of government bureaucracies and far more independence. Nonetheless, the rules for how to start a charter school are public and are--one hopes--intended to be used.
A couple of local residents, Corrine Frantz and Pat Ehrich, started a petition to try to stop the New Roots school from starting. Nonetheless, New Roots' application to be a charter school was approved, to the dismay of these two women. They even started an organization, the "Coalition for Sustainable Schools"--the name tries to turn New Roots' theme back against them--whose mission and goal is to make things as difficult as possible for the well-meaning people who started the charter school.
Pat Ehrich filed 24 Freedom of Information requests to New Roots over a several month period. Understandably overwhelmed with the huge job of starting a school from scratch, they did not respond according to the letter of the law. So Pat Ehrich shopped around for a better location for a lawsuit, and filed a lawsuit in a county a number of counties away, and got a $20,000 judgment from a friendly judge.
Over the past several years she has kept up a constant stream of accusations of misconduct or claims of misbehavior. Does this woman have no life? Why in the world is she spending so much time and effort harassing people who followed the rules that were laid out by the state of New York?
One suspects that she took their success as a personal affront. To spend so much time and energy harassing this poor group of well-meaning charter school operators...The mind boggles. Turning such a negative and destructive mission into a part-time job makes me think that this woman must be pretty unbalanced.
Just because something is legal, doesn't mean that it's right. And this kind of harassment is not right.