This is an open letter to Dr. Steven E. Keller, Superintendent of Redondo Beach Unified School District.
June 16, 2012
Dear Dr. Keller:
In a world where too many teachers are forced to teach to the testing and not the student, Mr. Scott Sutherland, former band teacher at and , has for the past two years stood out as a beacon of inspiration for our students. His passion and commitment to providing our students with the best tools for building their music skills has resulted in Parras bands earning several distinguished competitive awards this past school year.
Now parents and students across the district are dismayed to know that Mr. Sutherland was forced to resign by a district official. Why? Because he believed that the band equipment that was purchased for use by our district bands should be utilized.
We strive to instill in our students that commitment, passion and excellence are attributes to be admired. Yet, because one school official could not stand to see the status quo disrupted, these values are being penalized. Worse yet, preventing our parents from knowing the truth until Mr. Sutherland’s contract was over at the end of the school year is an assault to democratic transparency.
On Friday, we lauded President Bill Clinton as he told our graduating seniors at commencement: "The saddest of my classmates are not those who have failed… the saddest ones are those who had dreams and did not try to achieve them. Do not be afraid. Go out and live your dreams.”
This teacher’s passion taught his students to dream and built musicians out of many students who otherwise might have been afraid to fail. My son was one of them.
Mr. Sutherland’s professional opus was a gift to students, parents and our community at large. Do not let it turn into a requiem for inspiration. I urge you and the School Board to follow President Clinton’s sage words of advice and reinstate Mr. Sutherland’s position in the Redondo Beach Unified School District.
Parents and students can comment below AND visit http://www.Facebook.com/ParrasBand to post their comments of support for Mr. Sutherland.