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Speaking out

July 02, 2009

Re "She sat in, now she's shut out?" June 25, and "Valedictorian gives her speech," June 30

Thanks to Aurora Ponce and her fellow students for refusing to be bullied into not speaking out against increases in class size and cutbacks in teaching staff. And with the strain on the news media at an all-time high, thanks to The Times for continuing to shine a light on this important story.

Officials who invoke disciplinary policies that violate the 1st Amendment teach a dangerous lesson to students.

Joel R. Maliniak



The initial refusal of the Accelerated School's authorities to allow Ponce to deliver the valedictory speech, an honor she richly deserved, seemingly because she peacefully protested something that all of us should protest -- an increase in class size and cutback in the number of college-prep courses -- was appalling.

C. Scott Littleton



Ms. Ponce, welcome to the real world, where there are consequences to your actions. If a student chooses to skip class, no matter how noble his or her intentions, then that student will be treated accordingly.

To your supporters: I agree that larger class sizes are not ideal. However, if they don't want their children to experience the punishment meted out at a charter school, they are free to attend their local LAUSD campus. Unfortunately, it is the laxity of behavior enforcement at these public campuses that they may have been trying to escape at the charter school.

Dale Nowicki

La Mirada


The Accelerated School community is very proud that we are graduating seniors in South-Central L.A. who are "University of California-prepared." Only 5% of African Americans and Latinos in our neighborhood achieve this standard of academic rigor. We are also proud to boast a 94% graduation rate this year, with 90% attending two- and four-year colleges and universities.

The claim that the disciplinary action was retaliatory for the student's opinions or beliefs is false. While this was a student disciplinary situation -- and we will not compromise our efforts to protect the student's rights to privacy -- the complete story has not been reported.

Johnathan Williams

Los Angeles

The writer is co-founder of the Accelerated School.

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