I attended the regular Fillmore School District meeting last night. I think I have one black shirt to my name, which I wore to that meeting. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the plan by the teachers attending the meeting en mass was to wear black, signifying solidarity.

I mention this not to criticize others wearing black to the meeting, only to explain that I had no part to play in the confrontation between teachers, the teacher's union, and the school board.

That said, confrontation it was. As usual, the issue centered on money, salaries. The school calendar, tentatively approved at the meeting, was attacked by teachers for eliminating the October break. A full week off during Thanksgiving is up for negotiation instead.

I confess that I've gotten behind in my understanding of current school politics. I'm trying to catch up.

Frankly, I left the meeting after 45 minutes due to what I deemed as overkill in abusive attacks on our Superintendent, Dr. Adrian Palazuelos. I want to hear both sides fairly and clearly. Excessive, quasi-disorderly expressions of disagreement only fog my vision. Teachers attending the meeting (about 50) made their disapproval of the Superintendent loud and clear by reading a letter of no confidence, which followed a vote of the teachers reaching the same conclusion.

The problem I face, entering this confrontation so late, is a lack of recent historical information. I've been dealing with some serious distractions which I hope to correct starting this week.

Having witnessed past years of serious scandal in both school district operations and teacher's union activities (well documented) for objectivity's sake I enter the fray cautiously.

I know how hard our teachers work to educate our children; I am also aware of the diligence with which our Superintendent pursues his job, and the many improvements he continually achieves.

In the midst of the "no confidence" beat-down Dr. Palazuelos endured at last night's meeting, I have to note that Board Member Virginia de la Piedra made it very clear that the entire Board has strong confidence in the Superintendent. I wish meetings like this could provide an organized pro and con format to avoid such a one-sided avalanche of opinion.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that following Dr. Palazuelos' work ethic, accomplishments, and vision for our District, I also hold him in high esteem. His integrity is obvious. He expressed true happiness when he purchased a home in Fillmore and moved his family here. His intentions have always been to improve District functions by reforming them. District functions have been in need of reformation for a long time - but such action always brings pain to those who cling to the status quo. I heard a loud "ouch!" from teachers last night.

I don't for a moment wish to ignore the honest concerns of our teachers as expressed at last night's meeting. What would be most welcome, however, is a little more formal respect in voicing those demands. I think teachers, parents, and students alike would be much better served by more civility. Let's have a clear expression of specific demands and a clear response to the same - with a little more patience, a little more reciprocity.