Jill and Tracy Have a Talk

Because this is an easy post to write on a Saturday night, I thought I'd dash it off.

Jill would be director Jill Geary and Tracy is, well, Castro-Gill.

Now Castro-Gill says at her blog that she's "tenacious" and has this tough girl stance.  And, of course, verbally, even more so.

But the conversation she had at her Facebook page, pleading with Director Geary to create a policy to protect her and others in the district doing "anti-racist work" was then kinda confusing.

On October 23rd, she said this:
More hate mail today. Chandra Hampson and Jill Schlegel Geary - this is why language to protect those of us doing explicitly anti-racist work is needed in an anti-racist policy. This kind of shit has been non-stop for the past 3 days. Phone calls, emails, tweets...
Where's my anti-racist employer on this?
Now, I assume she includes Hampson in this missive because she thinks that Hampson will win a Board post and then, hopefully, help her.  No, wait, it's probably because Geary said Hampson is helping her draft an "anti-racist" policy.  (But I did ask Geary and she said she'd be asking for public input.  I still have not seen that call for public input.)

Castro-Gill includes an email which makes a comment on her body.  (And when a person goes that personal, they really have no valid argument.)

One person said this:
Tracy have you filed a report with the police for harassment . This is going way to (sic) far. This is also deformation (sic) of character which can be held on them in court.
Another comment:

This is absolutely terrible! I whole heartedly  (sic) agree that the policy needs to protect its employees! You know like all good organizations?! And yes we have your back and may have to visit the school board.

Geary speaks up:
While I sympathize, being one who receives a significant amount of angry mail, I still don't know what a policy would do for this particular problem. The power of SPS is very limited and a policy without teeth is meaningless. I would suggest you have IT help you develop filters so you can divert emails int a separate box and then only look at them when you are in the right frame of mind. Otherwise ignoring them will give them the least amount of power over you or in any other regard.
 So, Geary says the policy she is developing - I assime the reference is to the anti-racist policy - will be "without teeth?"  Hmmmm.  Good suggestion on the filters but I don't think there are ones that could truly filter out this stuff.

Just to note, at least one Board candidate has expressed fear over a threat; Geary is right to point out that Board members get called out at Board meetings, in person, on the phone, in emails and even at the grocery store.

Teacher Jon Greenberg answers Geary:
Yes, one has limited control of trolling from outside the district, but so much of the stress Tracy experiences comes from WITHIN the district. If the policy can’t protect against that stress, which is entirely tied to racism, then what is the point?

Her job is literally anti-racism. An anti-racist policy that doesn’t protect anti-racist positions makes little sense.
 Wait, what? Trolling is definitely wrong.  But if there are people in the district who don't support Castro-Gill's work (or presentation of such) is criticism then of her always racism just because the works in Ethnic Studies? So that means no one can ever say anything negative or uncomplimentary about Castro-Gill's work or else that means they are racist?

Geary replies:
Ah, I thought the examples given now we're from outside the district. They are very stressful. As to internal issues, why doesn't the SEA protect it's  (sic) employees from harassing each other as they do their work? I am still unclear on what a district policy giving one set of employees greater protections would look like and how it would function in regard to the contractual legal protections offered through the CBA. This is a conversation that is better off-line and would take significant legal analysis so as not to give employees conflicting legal rights that only result in litigation with the district stepping in it on all directions.
Interesting. Why did Geary think the trolling was coming from the SEA? But, as a lawyer, she seems to be on solid ground on how the district could possibly afford more protections to one group of employees over others and, as well, possibly trample on their First Amendment rights.

Another commenter replies:
SEA doesn’t represent employees in disputes with fellow members. Also, your question assumes that the people who are harassing Tracy and confounding her work are SEA-represented staff, not leadership or District staff. Establishing board policy for dealing with racialized harassment of staff engaged with ethnic studies and racial equity work should be on the Board’s agenda if the institution they oversee is a truly antiracist one.
Learn something new every day. If the SEA doesn't act as ref between members, who does?

Castro-Gill adds:
I'm no longer an SEA member. None of the program managers in CAI are.
What's kind of interesting about that statement is that in speaking of the hires Castro-Gill wants to make, she wants them to be from SEA (which most people working at JSCEE are not).  

She continues with Geary:
a big difference between your hate mail and what I'm experiencing is that this is my livelihood. I am a target of racists who are bent on causing me harm. Several folx in Seattle have already sent emails asking for my removal. Someone I've never met before filed a HIB against me. My job title, in itself, makes some folx uncomfortable or angry. What protects me from being targeted by folx inside our organization? What protects me and other folx doing explicitly anti-racist work from being fired or disciplined because white folx in the community complain?
So again, everyone who may have a complaint about her work style or verbage is a racist?   (FYI, HIB is Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying and that pretty much speaks for itself in this case.)

She truly seems to miss that it is unlikely about the work of Ethnic Studies; it's her style and her take-no-prisoners attitude.  She's been told that over and over and yet, that's still her work plan. And how does she know all the complaints are coming from "white folx?"

Again, there's some kind of ability that she and Chandra Hampson have in order to be able to decide, by name or just a glance, what someone's racial background is.

Geary answers:
I get that. A policy for a situation of one is really a hard thing to do.
Castro-Gill (still looking for a promise from Geary to do something):
what about DREA staff, RET members, ethnic studies advisory board members and curriculum writers? It's not just me.
I'd be willing to bet that if, in all those people she listed, there are more than a handful of complaints about any one person. 

One person then says that she will write to the Superintendent and another person then answers:
this superintendent is not helping either sad to say. .. I hope you have some pull, otherwise it will just sit on her desk until she is out of office.She doesn't seem to care about anything to do with Ethnic Studies or Rasist acts in SPS.
I pray your letter helps.
Well, that's interesting. The Superintendent doesn't care about "rasist" acts in SPS?

Then another person comes in (and don't miss her last thought):
We need to support you in any way we can. This is what we’re meant to fight against. Maybe they’ll tire of this but it could also be ramping up because of coming election too. I am so so sorry you’re being targeted and harassed by racists and not defended/ protected by your employer. I will write or try to get an email/ letter campaign, whatever is helpful. They need to be scared.
Again, wait, what?  Castro-Gill is worried about her job security and so the answer is to scare others?

Hampson finally chimes in:
this is horrible for you to have to deal with. I hear you. Proactive action by the district would provide much better coverage for you. As is too often the case in institutions like the District our approach is either reactionary or PR orientation rather than effective communication and support for people doing the ground level work. I wish I could say I’m surprised that these trolls are out there and on the attack. I’m free today off and on and will try to connect. 
I wish she had been specific in what "proactive action"by the district would look like.

I have heard that the Superintendent actually does like Castro-Gill's harsh attitude but doesn't like it when it comes around to her or her staff.


Anonymous said…
TCG believes she has the right to bully everyone else in sight but the moment anyone pushes back against her, OMG she needs protection!!

Of course Juneau likes TCG's attitude. TCG is doing Juneau's work for her, bulldozing opposition to an agenda of corporate education reform. Juneau and TCG have one important thing in common: utter contempt for parents, and a belief that they must never, ever be held accountable by anyone.

Peas in a pod.

-Pea soup
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
SMH at this whole thing. I can't imagine there could be any legally defensible case for giving one employee or department special protections over others in this way. Talk about privilege and entitlement!!! I think Geary is fairly measured and realistic (lawyerly I guess) in her response. And there is a truly stunning lack of insight on display - folks are less likely to have a problem with ant-racism per se, and most likely have a problem with the tactics and tone of the particular individual concerned. This person does not see to display the qualities to educate, reassure, and unite a community that is divided or questioning. Crying personal attack or racism is not the right response to every challenge, particularly if they are coming from within their own organization. And what is with the use of 'folx'? "Folks" is already a totally nongendered term for people. Or do we need to start putting a x on that too (peoplx) to signal we are truly woke LOL.

SMH so fast
Anonymous said…
Are you really “publishing” people's conversations from personal FB pages on your public blog???

That’s Low
Anonymous said…
The publication of these Facebook conversations should now keep you from accessing a press pass.

This shows a lack of ethics that is rather stunning.

Anonymous said…
MW, you have officially gone insane. To dissect someone else's FB conversations is a new low even for you. Go ahead and delete me, at least you get to read this. Go get some help.

Fed Up
Anonymous said…
You know what I'd call "insane" and 'lacking in ethics' (certainly lacking in commonsense at least). Having this conversation on a FB page in the first place.

Old fashioned
Yes, I'm actually publishing a conversation between a district employee who wants a school board director and a school board candidate to come up with a specific policy to protect her from criticism of her work.

FYI, TCG proudly states that she doesn't care who reads her words and so she has no filter on her Facebook page. I would not quote personal items but this is about the district and Board policies.

Anonymous said…
… and your fixation on Chandra Hampson because she didn't profusely thank you when you selflessly came to her aid. And how she disrespected you by questioning your background.
Give it a rest. Life is short.

Fed Up
Anonymous said…
Let me see if I'm following correctly. Here's the score, as I understand it.

Sebrena Burr has a problem with YOU.
Wayne Au has a problem with YOU.
Tracy Castro-Gill has a problem with YOU.
Chandra Hampson has a problem with YOU.

They don't seem to be targeting other individuals.

YOU have a problem with Sebrena, Wayne, Tracy, and Chandra.

From where I sit, it looks like you are the common denominator. You really want us to believe these people are all just meanies? I don't think it's a coincidence they are people of color. I think you've covered every racial category to piss off in that list of names!

Keeping Score

Anonymous said…
Uh, Wayne Au has a problem with survivors of communist regimes, Teacy has a problem with almost everyone as does Chandra. Sebrena is just angry. Have you not been paying attention?

Wake up
Anonymous said…
I follow Wayne's and Tracy's social media. The only individual I've ever seen them specifically name is Melissa.

As for Sebrena being angry, I would be too if I was a black person. Have you not been watching the news?

Keeping Score
Anonymous said…
They do seem upset that anyone is arguing with them consistently. But they go after anyone who disagrees with them at all. Maybe you're the one not watching.

Wake up
Anonymous said…
Geary displays her supreme ignorance on collective bargaining matters. It is the union’s job to advocate for their members and protect them from the employer, SPS, and their executive/exempt employees who abuse their power. It is SPSs job to discipline any employee who creates a hostile work environment. It is not the union’s job to “mediate” between employees. That is what a grievance and arbitration process is for.

Geary putting it on SEA to solve SPSs managerial dysfunction is a serious cop out and a pass for it to keep happening. I would argue that TCG is both a perpetrator and a victim, which makes that matter complex enough to make SPS weary of potential legal action from her, should she be asked to move on. She seems to be creating a public paper trail to litigate in the press her eventual removal.

More Noise Please
Keeping Score, of course, it's me.

Fly up with me to the 10,000 level. Look down. This isn't about me, Melissa. It's about this blog, its reach and the ability to influence thinking and questioning. When Amplify was being debated, this idea that somehow it was the best for black and brown children and anyone opposing it was racist came out. This blog, and its stance on Amplify, needed to be stopped.

None of those people have a problem with me, save Chandra Hampson, who sees all and knows all when it comes to how people identify. Fed Up, Hampson DID thank me at the time; I have never claimed she didn't. What I don't appreciate is that she did know me and could have come to me anytime to talk about my stands. She didn't and instead, decided my background is in question.

NO one would stand for that kind of BS especially someone running for public office.

Not sure I get Wayne but also not sure I care.

But it's really about the blog and trying to turn people away from it.

More Noise Please, thank you for that explanation about SEA.

Also, you are right about Castro-Gill. I think one thing she doesn't get is that because of the blog's reach, every time someone might Google her name, they will see her blog first and then, closely following, all my posts.

I think the issue is her "In my work, I have to make sure you know the one and only way forward is my way." Given that includes name-calling and intimidation, I'm not surprised that some at JSCEE and some schools aren't on-board with that.
Anonymous said…
Your claim that it's about the blog doesn't add up, either. Only one person on that list works for SPS and that one person is openly critical of everything SPS. All four of the people on the list are actively anti-racist and are also hyper critical of SPS. Why would they try to shut down a blog that is also critical of SPS?

Maybe it's because they honestly think you're a racist. It's not too hard to see what they are doing to fight racism. What are you doing other than fighting with the people who are actually doing things?

Keeping Score
FB said…
I saw the facebook post before Melissa published.
Too Bad said…
Burke brought Ethnic Studies to the table. That didn't matter when he brought a different policy to the table. An un-named individual stood at the podium (screaming) and criticizing Burke.
Anonymous said…
TCG asks: "What protects me from being targeted by folx inside our organization? What protects me and other folx doing explicitly anti-racist work from being fired or disciplined because white folx in the community complain?"

My answer: How about doing high-quality, effective work in a professional and collaborative manner?

The work is inherently difficult, which is all the more reason to be skilled in its execution. If you come across as abrasive, racist, bullying, hard to work with, non-collaborative, divisive, unwilling to listen, etc., you're not likely to be successful--and you're more likely to open yourself to disciplinary action, as well as criticism from both inside and outside the organization. I hope TCG has the skillset to do this work well, although I am not yet feeling it.

I always find it interesting when someone claims they are being attacked by racists, then they go on to make race-based assumptions about those criticizing them. Do the people calling and emailing identify themselves by race when expressing concern about her work? I doubt it. How much of the "hate mail" really qualifies as such, as opposed to concerns about the nature of her work and/or the way in which she is going about it?

I also find it interesting that her teacher ally seems to suggest that doing anti-racist work is somehow a "get out of racism free" card that allows one to make broad, race-based claims about anyone who disagrees with her approach. Just because you're working for a good cause does mean you can do and say whatever you want with impunity.

We need skilled professionals (professionalx?) leading this effort if we want to go smoothly.

Help Needed
Anonymous said…
Harassment in employment, particularly harassment by racists, is protected by law. To exercise those protections, TCG should follow existing employment policies for reporting workplace harassment. It’s not clear what the district can do to protect her though, as she’s blurred professional and private life on her social media accounts. In any case, pretty sure best practice doesn’t include reporting your problem on your personal Facebook account.

Follow Protocol
Anonymous said…
Chandra is not going to come to you. She doesn't have a problem with you, she simply doesn't care about you, what you say or what you do. She is busy doing transformative work.
I have nothing better to do with my time so I am here, on your blog, learning not about the district, but what others believe in, for or against your stance.
Elections are almost here. It will be interesting to see what ultimately happens and how that impacts your credibility.

Fed Up
SPS Community said…
Elections have nothing to do with credibility.

Melissa has been around for a long time. Her blog is visited by elected officials throughout the state and reporters.

Thanks, Melissa!
Anonymous said…
Ah! Credibility! Thanks Fed Up. You've explained why Melissa is fighting with so many community leaders: they discredit her. I get it, now! Now the scorecard makes sense.

Melissa opposes candidates who disagree with her, no matter their record on work in the community. Wow!

Harris admits to friendship with Melissa. Eric announced his candidacy on this blog, and she supports Muniz simply because Muniz is running against Chandra.

Thanks for the clarity.

Keeping Score
Anonymous said…
Oh, lord. This again?

"Abner! Abner! You won't believe what I saw through the little glowing window on my desk!"

Anonymous said…
Melissa thank you for your continued work day-lighting the conversations happening between school board individuals, candidates and SPS staff publicly on the FB blog.

If these individuals don't feel entirely comfortable having their conversations day-lighted to the Seattle Public Schools entire community, they should think about what they are posting for many to view.

The larger SPS community has a right to know what public employees and publicly elected people who are "in power" are discussing on this blog. These people effect their children's education directly. Not all of us are on Facebook. Thank you.

A Mom
Listening Carefully said…
I'm listening to community members that have actively opposed Hampson- including a business person. These individuals have had enormously unpleasant dealings with Hampson. Her campaign literature shows her smiling and surrounded by community members, but others suggest there are issues.

I'm listening!
Listening Carefully said…
It seems to me that Geary's policy discussions should be made public.
Anonymous said…
Many are not on Facebook, so sharing policy- and curricula-related information that district board members and employees post there is a valuable service, regardless of the personalities and personal relationships involved.

Thank you, Melissa.

Anonymous said…
Except that this is a conversation that Castro-Gill posted on her personal FB, not the old SfT, that she recently set to private due to threats from conservative bloggers.

Melissa is violating FB TOS and is completely unethical, again.

Keeping Score
Anonymous said…
@Keeping Score. Which FB Terms of Service is Melissa violating? I don't know the history here, but this non-private discussion between an SPS employee and Seattle School Board member is reasonable to repost on this blog that intends to inform its readers on things related to SPS. Or was this a private discussion among two people on a private FB page accessible by only these two individuals? Can you clarify what you see as the ethical violation?

Anonymous said…
@Keeping Score
You really think anyone is persuaded by your repeated references to Facebook's supposed "Terms of Service" as if that company represents, enforces or operates under any code of ethics? Bwahaha!
Tell that to the Russians.
And Cambridge Analytica.
And Trump's advertising team that posted false ads about Biden with no consequences.
Did you see the recent exchange between Robot Zuckerberg and Rep. Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez?
Facebook is a lawless ****show and everyone knows it.
Btw, Castro-gill posts screenshots from Melissa's blog regularly. Call the internet police!

Our elections are not safe. And this month Facebook took the decision to make them even more unsafe. Just over a week after Zuckerberg held a closed-door meeting with Donald Trump, we discovered he’d changed Facebook’s policy to allow posts by politicians or parties containing “deceptive, false or misleading content”. It’s an extraordinary decision championed by Zuckerberg in a speech in which he said: “I believe we must continue to stand for free expression.”


Too Rich
"Your claim that it's about the blog doesn't add up, either. Only one person on that list works for SPS and that one person is openly critical of everything SPS. All four of the people on the list are actively anti-racist and are also hyper critical of SPS. Why would they try to shut down a blog that is also critical of SPS? "

And that's a great question. Why would you try to shut down someone who is a probable ally? TCG said she's knows I'm a racist and would never work with me. (And I'm pretty sure that's her attitude with principals, teachers, etc.)

No, this blog is a problem for them.

Too Bad, one interesting thing about her Facebook page is that it has three directors listed as "friends" - Burke, Harris and Geary. And yet, she only went to Geary.

Fed Up, I don't need Hampson to "come to me." It would have been nice for her to apologize, given she had some interaction with me on her own accord. But no, I don't need anything from her but again, there's that rigid and judgmental part of her showing.

Keeping UP, do show me where Facebook's Terms of Service say anything of the sort that you are suggesting. Hell, they will run ads that lie about people. And again, Castro-Gill has her Facebook page open. I have never and would never write about her personal life. This is a policy question that she is directly asking a school board director for help with in order to fend off internal JSCEE criticisms. That IS news. Don't shoot the messenger.

Anonymous said…
Melissa, why were you removed from a FB group recently? I thought it was because you reprinted and posted group info here.

This entire post goes to motivation and seems to be an attempt to retaliate.

If you are trying to burnish our damaged reputation, someone needs to tell you that this this type of behavior is having the opposite effect.

Whoa, no one told me anything. I would assume it was because 1)I reprinted quotes (I didn't say anything about group info - don't know where you got that and 2)they fear my words might actually give people something else but an echo chamber.

I'm not trying to retaliate against anyone; none of the people in this post is a moderator at that page.

"If you are trying to burnish our damaged reputation..." Huh? I don't know what you are trying to say.
Anonymous said…
Should have said "burnish YOUR damaged reputation."

Whoa, this isn't about me but you are making it about me to distract from the real issue. That's obvious so let's just move on.
Maritza said…
I'm in a FB group with Tracy and she has called both other POC racists, as well as people whose ethnicity is not obvious from either their name or profile picture. It's just her go-to when anyone challenges her on anything. It is essentially a version of Trump's "fake news".
Anonymous said…
I have a bone to pick with Westbrook. I'm just waiting to run in to het at some event. You won't be able to delete that.

--Citizen reporter
Anonymous said…
Wow Citizen Reporter. You may want to read your own comment for tone - hopefully you will understand how it could sound like a threat. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that you did not intend a veiled (or not so veiled) threat. Perhaps you would want to put into words your concern (or 'bone').

Anonymous said…
TCG's Facebook post is publicly accessible, and as the conversation involves a current school board director and a school board candidate, it is entirely appropriate to quote from it and discuss it here. If they didn't want it to be publicly seen then TCG could have taken additional steps to secure the conversation. But she is a bully and feels no problem at all using the internet and social media to make vicious attacks against people, so it's fair to quote from something she has publicly said here.

FOIA said…
If an individual sets their facebook to private and a school board director is discussing policies, these conversations are subject to FOIA. Geary and other elected officials would be required to turn over conversations. No different than text messages.
Anonymous said…
Yes let me clarify, I meant to type her not het. Beyond that you need to clear out the cobwebs
and chill out. I don't need to clarify anything beyond that.

--Citizen reporter.
So Castro-Gill has blocked me - I get that. But if you choose to have a dialog with an elected official about protecting yourself from people at your job, people will be interested.

Thanks Please Clarify but I've heard this before (interestingly from Sebrena Burr). No worries.

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