"We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion." Doctrine & Covenants 121:39


Feb. 15th as I wrote the letter to the editor that was published Feb. 22th I noted that Mr. Chris Bentley, Board President of HUSD is out of control. Little did I know at that time how out of control he was! Wednesday morning Feb.16th Mr. Bentley barged onto the campus of Canyon Ridge and accosted Principal Bill Pittsford in the presence of students and staff members. It seems that Mr. Bentley had informed other HUSD administrators of his desire to close Canyon Ridge High School. It would appear that he showed up Feb. 16 to put the finishing touches on his plan.


I would like the citizens of Hesperia to know that no board member possesses any more rights or authority, President or not, than any other citizen or parent. In reality the only employee that the HUSD school Board has is Superintendent Mr. Mark McKinney. The Board hired the Superintendent as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of HUSD and he manages its day to day operations. The relationship between a Board member and all other employees is no different than that of any parent or citizen of Hesperia. A Board member may communicate with any and all, but there exists no special privilege, other than common courtesy, that requires a response on the part of any employee unless it happens at the direction of Mr. McKinney!


Thus said, Mr. Bentley's actions at Canyon Ridge were illegal, unethical as well as intolerable to students, staff and parents, once their children informed them. I received the following complaints from two unidentified Canyon Ridge staff members:



"Dear Board Members,


I am writing in regards to the actions of one of your fellow board members that occurred this morning at the campus where I teach. I am on staff at Canyon Ridge High school, and we were just concluding a very emotional staff meeting where we were discussing the potential fate of our school site when Mr. Bentley arrived. Fortunately, he was smart enough to remain outside, and our principal, Bill Pittsford went out to speak with him. The two went into Bill's office, and wisely, Bill left his door to the main office open. The exchange that occurred was then overheard by members of our office staff, as well as several students who were present. Mr. Bentley was confrontational, pounded his fist on the desk, was argumentative, said disparaging remarks about our students, and in the words of Bill, "acted like a bully". Bill has been my principal for three years now and I have never seen him as frustrated as I saw this morning.


I have been reading the comments that have been in the paper lately, and up until now, I just felt like it was a conflict between two individuals that really should have been dealt with privately, but having seen some of the antics that have occurred during board meetings over the past year, and after hearing about what took place this morning, I have no confidence in Mr. Bentley's ability to perform the duties of the position he holds. His behavior this morning was uncalled for, and unprofessional. The climate of this district is already tenuous, at best, and we do not need Mr. Bentley out creating more fractures, rather than attempting to build bridges.


My hope is that you will do your own research into our alternative programs to see how they are benefiting the students of Hesperia, and come to your own decisions about what expenses are the most valuable to help all students achieve the goal of graduation. Alternative Education may be an easy target because it will cause fewer ripples in the community, but it plays a much more vital role that any sports team or extracurricular activity ever will. Few, if any, of our students will ever become professional athletes, musicians, or actors, but all of them will need the ability to read, to write, and be productive members of society." Sincerely,....



Dear ----


"I've had the great privilege of working at Hesperia Unified for ten years. Mr. Pittsford gave me the opportunity to work for him at Canyon Ridge. I've always gone about doing my business as professionally and unassuming as I could; however, I felt the need to speak up when I heard of an incident that occurred on our campus this morning from one of my students.


Apparently, Mr. Bentley, our supposed Board President came to our campus and made some very unprofessional and disrespectful remarks to Mr. Pittsford. My concern was my student overheard the conversation and came to class very upset. He was so upset that he began to cry in class. When I initially approached him, he did not want to discuss it, but he eventually opened up. Of course, this student began telling other students and people are upset here. For Mr. Bentley to say "it's their fault for messing up, and that's why they're here at Canyon Ridge" is highly unprofessional. I thought he was voted in to support student education, not speak of it in negative terms. This is truly a great school. Unfortunately, I have lost all respect for this individual who thinks he can come to our school site and attempt to "bully" or "intimidate" our principal. I think he is just a common "thug"!" Sincerely,


As a consequence of President Bentley's outrageous actions on Wed. the 16th the HUSD Budget Work Shop Thurs. the 17th scheduled for 2 hours turned into a 5 hour fiasco. Outraged Canyon Ridge staff, students and parents bashed the Board for the first 2 hours because of Mr. Bentley's actions. Things went downhill from there. I cannot speak for Ms. Childs or Mr. Swanson, but I felt embarrassed, humiliated and irritated at having these individuals accuse the Board of being complicit in Mr. Bentley's intention to close their school!


Chris Bentley responded to the parents, students and staff of Canyon Ridge in a letter to the editor dated Feb. 18th (published in the Star Feb 22nd). He thanked everyone for coming to speak to the Board, but he failed to apologize to them for his attack on their school, their staff and their children which action caused them to feel a need to come to the meeting in the first place! In Chris Bentley's mind apparently it' all about him and he did nothing at all wrong! To prove this he provided his life's history in order to convince everyone that Canyon Ridge is not needed. These students can drop out of school, get their GED, and be successful just like Chris Bentley!



Editor's note: This letter was received after the print deadline for the Hesperia Star Opinion page. As a result, it will be published in the March 8 issue of the Hesperia Star.