Former VUSD supe finds PBIS comments offensive

Dear Editor,

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Program (PBIS) was initially funded in 1998 through the U.S. Department of Education through a $32.6 million dollar grant, and has since been implemented consistently in schools across our nation. During my time as Superintendent of Visalia Unified, the PBIS fifth-year funding cycle was launched, with the purpose of improving “social, emotional and academic outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities and students from underrepresented groups,” (

Today, the PBIS framework has been implemented as a whole-school approach in more than 26,000 schools in the United States, and continues to be implemented in VUSD under our current Superintendent, Tamara Ravalin, and Board of Trustees.

As a life long educator, I understand the challenges of creating effective academic and behavior systems in schools, and as Superintendent, one of my top priorities was to ensure safety in our schools. To fault a nation-wide program to be the primary cause of a violent attack within one school, would be the negligence of one with no education experience, who does not understand school discipline, and particularly is unaware that a positive approach to discipline will more likely identity troubled students and prevent horrible events one has so insensitively suggested is in our school district’s imminent future. To infer that Visalia is poised for the same kind of event is offensive to the VUSD staff, students, and our community. I will continue to voice my opinion and encourage others to contribute to rebuilding our school system so that it is functioning at the highest attainable level that our students deserve.

Craig Wheaton, ED.D
Educational Consultant and Former Superintendent
Visalia Unified School District


Has Jerrold Johnson no shame to make political points over a tragedy?

In response to the letter titled “Are there similarities between VUSD and Parkland High School?” by Jerrold Jensen, published on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.

Dear Editor,

As a former student of Mt. Whitney and Visalia schools and whose relatives teach, I’m tired of people running down the schools in Visalia. To me the best thing Visalia has is its schools and to compare Visalia to the tragedy in Parkland, Fla. was a “cheap political shot.” 

There are problem kids and people everywhere. The schools can’t teach and be parents too. I think Stan Carrizosa and other leaders were way overpaid like they are at COS, the city, county, hospital, police departments, sheriff’s department. But don’t blame the schools for an almost Parkland. 

I blame President Trump and the Republicans for being in “the pocket of the National Rifle Association” who put guns above “people” (and these so called Christians who support their “ilk”). If they spent half their time condemning guns in our society like they do abortion and gay marriage maybe our country and schools would safe? 

Kids have a lot to worry about today. Not, just about getting ABCs like I did but about whether they might have a place to sleep or eat because all Trump and the Republicans want to do is cut services to the poor and give tax cuts to the rich, cut their health care, and send their parents back to Mexico. Some tragedy might happen, with stupid gangs everywhere and bullies on the internet like Trump. 

I see where Visalia wants to build a new police station. Why waste that money to “play cat and mouse” and “Marco Polo” with the stupid gangs, druggies and thieves? That to me is the real waste of money and tragedy. And, when President Trump calls the FBI scum and degrades every top official who disagrees with him, condemns even a top leader in the military for wearing his uniform in a hearing, (when Trump dodged the draft and had a rich family), says all the media lies and he degrades blacks, Mexicans, Arabs, sympathizes with neo-Nazis and kisses up to brutal dictators like Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin. Trump said he had more faith in Putin than our national intelligence agencies – that doesn’t help much.

Timothy Bianco


Appreciation for EPD and EUHS 

Dear Editor,

A few months ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to be the temporary guardian of a teenage girl from Visalia. At the time, she was having behavioral issues with her Dad. She was attending High School in Visalia, but my Wife and I soon realized the other teenagers she was associating with were not a positive influence. As an Exeter High alumni class of ’65, I have many fond memories and felt that this young lady could benefit from a smaller school. I was concerned that the process to transfer her would be complicated, but to my surprise, I was greeted with amazing staff that made the process as painless as possible. Once I brought her to the school I was met by Mrs. Reed and Mrs. Lisa Parkin. Lisa ended up being her counselor and helped her to transition into school life at Exeter. The staff welcomed her with open arms and handled themselves like professionals. My Wife and I provided a structured environment for her in hopes that it would alleviate some of the issues she was going through. Unfortunately, she rebelled against this environment and ran away. Having never experienced a youth running away, my wife and I called 911. Exeter Police quickly responded and showed up to our house to assess the situation. Officer Mark Knox explained his experience in dealing with situations like this and how the police were going to bring her back. To make a long story short, she ran away two other times and was brought back each time. The other times she ran away, Detective Paul Walker and Officer Tim Guzman responded. I believe that each officer went above and beyond in trying to assist my wife and I in helping this young lady. The point that I am trying to make is that my Wife and I are so appreciative of our little town. I want to commend the Exeter Police Department and Exeter Union High School. I had no idea that the Exeter Police Department was so busy and I learned that they do a lot behind the scenes to keep Exeter Safe and Organized without most of us even being aware. I feel that the staff of the High School and the Police Officers of Exeter are high quality and dedicated individuals. I hope that more residents can meet them under better circumstances than I did. I want to express my sincere appreciation.

Harry Petty

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