Mixed messages 

The two voices of Palmer Principal Karin Reynolds

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On Jan. 14, 2004, Palmer Principal Karin Reynolds sent the following internal e-mail to several district administrators, describing her frustration over the Gay-Straight Alliance issue embroiling the high school and the district's policy guiding student clubs:

"I have been frustrated, frankly, with my directive of silence -- otherwise, I would have held forums with students, parents, etc. to get a better sense of where we are here at Palmer. Until the district provides direction (and that should be soon), I hesitate to make any statements from our DAAC [a community advisory committee] that gives the media more to mess with -- if you know what I mean. Currently I remain concerned that we keep the processes in place to keep our students learning and the culture healthy during what could be a difficult time of debate. Additionally, we are not allowed to speak about the issue at all to the media -- that includes all employees of D-11."

Three months later, in an April newsletter to the "Palmer Community," Principal Reynolds made no mention of the requirement of secrecy over the student club issue:

"This is a time of challenge for the Palmer community as we face debate about closed and open forum issues regarding student organizations and clubs. Most importantly to me is that we continue to honor one another, support our students and engage in open and honest communication. I am certain that the Palmer Tradition of Excellence will remain unscathed because our students, staff and parents appreciate the diversity of our community. I am so proud of our students because they know just how to treat one another while engaging in necessary debate; that is what makes Palmer so rich. I hope that you will call on me with any questions or concerns -- my door is always open."

-- Cara DeGette


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