Exposed: The Billionaire-Backed Group Strong-Arming Parents into Destroying Their Kids' Public Schools
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"Their anxiety was high. Their teachers and aids were saying, 'The school is gonna be done.' They were scared," she explained. “The doctor put them on a home hospital due to their anxiety. All this stuff with their school they were just freaking out that it was going to get taken over, that they are not going to have their aides, their teachers anymore. They are autistic so they don't understand anything. They told me the other day, ‘I hope they don’t close the school when we’re in there.’”
This was clearly no longer a grassroots campaign run by local parents, nor was its mission to empower the community. Its primary goal now was to force as many parents as possible to sign "parent trigger" petitions.
Parent Revolution operatives followed people into local businesses, harassed them with constant phone calls and staked out people's homes. One father got a panicked call from his child, who was scared because a man was lurking outside their home for a long time. Panicking, the dad rushed home, only to find a Parent Revolution organizer camped outside waiting for a signature.
Some Desert Trails parents noticed that Parent Revolution organizers had somehow obtained contact information that was not publicly listed, including cell phone numbers and addresses, and worried that the group had somehow illegally accessed their children’s confidential school records.
One mother outlined her suspicions in a signed statement later filed with the Adelanto School District:
“I received a call on my cell phone, and the parents came to my house twice. My cellphone is not public record and when I questioned the gentleman on the phone how he received my cell # the call disconnected. I then called back and did not receive and [sic] answer. I am also wondering how they knew my address. I feel there has been a breech in confidentiality of my 2 childrens [sic] record at the school … I am now afraid they have my childrens [sic] Social Security numbers.”
Parent Revolution used every debt-collector trick in the book, purposefully making life so miserable for parents that they would agree to sign just to get the canvassers off their backs. “Most of the reason the parents signed was because they were tired of not answering their door, of hiding from them,” said Maggie Flamenco.
Lori Yuan, a mother of two kids Desert Trails and a member of Adelanto’s planning commission, who would later lead the parent effort to resist Parent Revolution, agreed: “Most folks were duped and had no idea the consequences of this petition succeeding.”
Statements filed by parents with Adelanto’s school district all say pretty much the same thing: “We were duped and pushed.” Here are just a few examples:
“I was misled and told that we weren’t going to fight to be a charter school. They kept coming to my home and insisted I sign. I am upset thats not what I wanted for my students.”
“The petitioner kept coming to my doorstep, for many days, my wife told me not to sign it but I did because I felt harassed, and I wanted them to leave me alone. I don’t blame them I blame myself but I don’t agree with the petition now that I understand it.”
Just a few months before Parent Revolution showed up in town, there had been a huge scandal involving the Adelanto Charter Academy, a new publicly-funded charter school that embraced “conservative and Christian values” run by a couple of businessmen with deep connections to San Bernardino County’s GOP political machine. At the time, it was Adelanto’s only charter school. District officials started to notice something was up when they discovered administrators didn’t bother with even the most basic bookkeeping, and a deeper audit revealed that the school failed to meet basic education requirements, served tainted food and functioned as little more than a shell company that diverted public education funds into private bank accounts and political campaigns.