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  • Writer's pictureErin DiMaggio

FEAR and PROFIT FIRST - KIDS LAST!

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

What happened on August 11, 2021 in Palos Verdes?


This is a story about Government Overreach, Abuse of Power, Violation of The Brown Act, Censorship and Leaders failing to lead.


On August 11, 2021, about eighty parents from Palos Verdes gathered together in Malaga Cove to express their First Amendment Rights. The District destroyed public records and claimed, "The Board was on recess." We want the Board to do the right thing and return the 17 public comments and the Pledge of Allegiance to the District Media page for August 11, 2021.


The Public has the right to hear our theories since they have been proven to be facts!



The California State Board of Education is established in the Constitution of the State of California and empowered by the Legislature through the California Education Code. School Board Members Pledge an Oath to uphold and defend the United States Constitution. The president of The Board acts as a spokesperson for the Board.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


OPEN MEETINGS

Section 3.

  1. All meetings of the Board, except the closed sessions permitted by law, and all meetings of Board committees, to the extent required by law, shall be open and public.

  2. All meetings shall conform to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, including requirements for notices of meetings, preparation and distribution of agendas and written materials, inspection of public records, closed sessions and emergency meetings, maintenance of records, and disruption of a public meeting. Those provisions of law which govern the conduct of meetings of the Board are hereby incorporated by reference into these Bylaws.

  3. Unless otherwise provided by law, meetings of any advisory body, committee or subcommittee thereof, created by statute or by formal action of the Board, which is required to advise or report or recommend to the Board, shall be open to the public.

GC 11120 et seq.

NOTICE OF MEETINGS

Section 4.

  1. Notice of each regular meeting shall be posted at least 10 days prior to the time of the meeting and shall include the time, date, and place of the meeting and a copy of the meeting agenda.

QUORUM

Section 7.

  1. The concurrence of six members of the Board shall be necessary to the validity of any of its acts. EC 33010

  2. A quorum of any Board committee shall be a majority of its members, and a committee may recommend actions to the Board with the concurrence of a majority of a quorum.

ORDER OF BUSINESS

Section 8.

The order of business for all regular meetings of the Board shall generally be:

  • Call to Order

  • Salute to the Flag

  • Communications

  • Announcements

  • Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction

  • Special Presentations

  • Agenda Items

  • Adjournment



On August 11, 2021, parents rallied to fight for medical freedom. After the rally the parents walked peacefully to the Palos Verdes Unified District Office to address the Board regarding the forced masking policy. Prior to the meeting, parents met with the Superintendent, Alex Cherniss via zoom. They told the Superintendent they would be coming to the meeting and they would not wear masks. He agreed with them that "masks are all about fear," meaning people were demanding everyone comply with masks because they were afraid of COVID. He encouraged them saying, "You will have to convince the Board." And, "I work for you."


Prior to the meeting, Erin DiMaggio submitted via email to Alex Cherniss the Healthy Kids Resolution that other Districts in California had adopted. The Local Schools always have local authority to make a resolution that is in the best interest of the community they serve. The Resolution was never added to the Agenda. If the Board would have added the Resolution and accepted it on August 11, 2021, there would be no conflicts.





On August 11, 2021, the Board President, Matthew Brach called the meeting to order. Children came to the front of the Boardroom and lead the public in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Board President asked for the Board to approve the Agenda.


President Matthew Brach initiated the call to order in person on August 11, 2021. He said, "Without a motion to approve the agenda we cannot take further action."


But they did take further action.

Richard Phillips and Megan Crawford re-entered the meeting via Zoom to discuss the meeting.



A lot of further action and discussions behind closed doors and then later with their medical advisory team who just happened to have major conflicts of interests.

Dr. Sher from PV Medical Group ran a COVID testing site on the Hill and was involved in clinical trials for the vaccines.


Dr. Clayton Kazan was hired by the County to ramp up COVID testing.


Later, the Board said, "We were on a recess."


The Board did not notify the Public that there would be a change in venue or that the meeting would reconvene or notify the public where the meeting or how the meeting would reconvene.



Meetings must: Be noticed in advance; Include only business described in the agenda; Take place within agency boundaries; Be completely accessible by the public. Notice and agenda for regular meeting must be: Posted 72 hours in advance; Posted in an accessible location; Mailed to persons who request notice.

Richard Phillips violated his Oath of Office to protect the First Amendment. He said, "There's a mask mandate. I won't approve the agenda until everyone who is here is wearing a mask." Linda Reid said, "I will approve the agenda." Megan Crawford and Ami Gandhi would not second the Agenda. In order for the Board to have a meeting at least two Board Members must approve the meeting.


A discussion and meeting occurred for 90 minutes. All Board members were present (one in person and the rest watching from an undisclosed location via zoom. The Public was viewing from the District livestream on YouTube.




President Mat Brach said, "Without a motion to approve the agenda the Board cannot take any further action."



CENSORSHIP:

Regardless of whether the Board approves a meeting, the Bylaws are clear as to the definition of a "meeting."


What is a “Meeting?”

A meeting, as defined by the Brown Act, is “any congregation of a majority of the members of a legislative body at the same time and place to hear, discuss or deliberate upon any item that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body” (§ 54952.2 (a)). For instance, when the quorum for a Board of Supervisors reaches the number necessary to be a majority (i.e. 5 out of 7), that is considered a meeting under the Brown Act. Also, when the same or a greater number of supervisors are attending a social gathering, for which no meeting notice was given, and they start discussing business under the jurisdiction of their legislative body, that would be considered a meeting that falls under Brown Act regulations. The key elements for a meeting are quorum and discussion, hearing or deliberation of issues; the meeting needs not to be formally convened in order to be subject to the act. That means that “informal”, “study,” “discussion,” ”informational,” “fact-finding,” or “pre-council” gatherings of a quorum of the members of a board are within the scope of the Act as meetings.

The key elements for a meeting is a discussion in which the majority of the board members discuss issues; the meeting needs not to be formally convened.



The School Board has the legal right to approve or not approve an agenda but only under certain conditions. However, it is a clear violation of the First Amendment, Civil Rights Act and the Brown Act to prevent the public from speaking on the bases of religion; beliefs. Those in attendance to protest the mask mandates did not believe COVID posed a serious threat to the public or that The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health or their partners (PVPUSD) had the authority to mandate masks without due process.


The Palos Verdes Board Member, Richard Phillips was obsessed with COVID. His fear and faith in the Los Angeles County Public Health Department clouded his ability to serve the people. He violated his Oath of Office to defend and protect the United States Constitution.


IT WAS A MEETING AND THE PUBLIC HAS THE RIGHT TO SEE IT.


The District deleted the first half of the meeting from the District Media Page and left only this half and continued to discuss the issues of masks and vaccines with their Medical Advisory Team.


After saying, "We can't take further action" the Board discussed the Public Comments at the meeting.





PEACEFUL ENTRY: USHERED IN BY THE PVPUSD SUPERINTENDENT ALEX CHERNISS


From beginning to end, we were peaceful and did not pose a threat to anyone.




For over a year and a half, Erin DiMaggio and Superintendent Alex Cherniss had a friendly email correspondence and Cherniss encouraged Erin to continue to speak out against the mandates.









School boards are locally elected public representatives entrusted with governing a community's public schools. All Public School Employees and elected representatives pledge an Oath to defend and protect the Constitution of The United States of America. Public oversight of local government is the foundation of American democracy. Government Code section 54954.3. states, "The Public must have the opportunity to address the Board before or during the Board's consideration of an agenda item, and the Public is also permitted to comment on matters not on the Agenda."


The Brown Act was enacted in 1953 to guarantee the Public's right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies and as a response to growing concerns about local government officials' practice of holding secret meetings that did not comply with advance public notice requirements. Furthermore, to comply with the Brown Act, when the majority of the Board votes or discusses an agenda item, the Board must allow the Public access and the ability to participate in the discussions before the Board votes on an agenda item.

The Brown Act's Legislature intends to protect the Public's interests from elected representatives destroying the Democratic Process. School Board Members must openly conduct all meetings and discussions except those in which the Board has the legal right to a closed session.


 


The Brown Act or “Open Meeting Law” is officially known as the Ralph M. Brown Act and is found in the California Government Code § 54950 et seq. 1.



What Rules Must a Meeting Follow?

Local agencies, in order to comply with the Brown Act, shall:
Hold open and public meetings (§ 54953 (a)). In addition, no legislative body shall conduct any meeting in a facility that prohibits the admittance of any person(s) on the basis of: race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex; or that is inaccessible to disabled persons, or where the public, in order to gain access to the facility, needs to pay or purchase something (§ 54961 (a)).



Government Representatives follow Robert's Rules of Order

Motion Steps


Robert’s Rules of Order for meetings is the general standard for how nonprofit boards, committees and other established groups govern discussions and decision-making.

Motion:

  • A member rises or raises a hand to signal the chairperson.

  • Second: Another member seconds the motion.

  • Restate motion: The chairperson restates the motion.

  • Debate: The members debate the motion.


While the District was livestreaming the meeting several people were outraged that the Superintendent and the Board President allowed us to meet.


One Mom from PV wrote a petition to the Board in opposition to the parents present at the meeting, demanding The Board follow all Public Health Orders. Several people who did not have children in our School District signed the petition. Current Board Member Sara Deen's husband, Dr. Omer Deen, also signed the petition to deny the Parent's Informed Consent rights.







PVPUSD intentionally destroyed, censored and altered public record to control information the public has the right to hear and see. After the meeting, in response to PVPUSD attempt to obstruct free speech, Erin DiMaggio (a Mom of three children in the district) built this website to preserve the truth and save history from being forgotten. And, together with four other Moms, we formed Save PV Schools Limited Liability Corporation to sue the District.





Below is part of the Declaration submitted to the Courts DATED: November 17, 2022​


ERIN DIMAGGIO, declare as follows:

  1. I am a founding member and authorized agent for SAVE PV SCHOOLS, LLC (herein, “Petitioner”), the party filing this action, and the entity challenging the actions of Respondents by writ of mandate in the above-mentioned action.

  2. I have personal knowledge of the matters stated herein, and if called to testify could and would so testify.

  3. Currently, as of the time of filing this Declaration, my children, F.D., R.D., and D.D., attend school in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District.

  4. I have a bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology and a Master's of Spiritual Psychology from The University of Santa Monica. I have worked for over twenty-five (25) years in the Health and Fitness Industry as Certified Personal Trainer, Meditation and Breath Teacher, Health Coach, Yoga Teacher, and Nutrition Coach. I am also a Certified Parent Educator with over ten years of professional experience as a child and group wellness coordinator and soccer and gymnastics coach. I am a Health Expert with a passion for Disease Prevention and Emotional Health. I am beyond qualified to make informed healthcare decisions for my children. When Governor Newsom declared the Stay-At-Home Order in March of 2020, I, like many devoted Mothers and Fathers, put my career on hold to help my three children get through Pandemic Schooling.

  5. Based on my personal and professional knowledge, all my children qualify for an exemption under the existing mask mandate. As their Mother, Legal Guardian and Qualified Health Expert, the masks caused my children psychological harm. However, after multiple requests made to the District to exempt my children from wearing masks, I was told by Teachers, Staff, and Members of the District School Board, that because of the County guidelines, the District would not exempt my children from wearing masks, and they forced us to comply with mask mandates, or they would deny my children the right to in-person education.

  6. Based on my professional knowledge and experience, covering the nose and the mouth for long-indefinite periods has several well-known and documented side effects. Some notable side effects include difficulty breathing, drying mucus membranes, claustrophobia, and problems with the innate natural exchange and elimination of dust particles and other toxins we inhale from the environment. It impairs their ability to communicate with their peers and robs them of the opportunity to build not only emotional resilience and the resilience of the innate adaptive immune system. The benefits of wearing a mask may include some reduction of transmission of airborne diseases. For many people, masks do provide a feeling of comfort and help to ease the anxiety of catching an airborne illness. However, as an expert in Health and Wellness, it is well documented that individuals have a vast diversity of physiology, biology, and emotional tolerances. To not exempt someone from wearing a mask who experiences dizziness or difficulty communicating is to impose direct emotional and physical harm onto the individual. Health Experts must consider an individual when making a diagnosis or giving health advice. There is no perfect one-size-fits-all approach to health, but that's what the Government forced us to obey under the State of Emergency.

  7. Initially, all of my children expressed difficulty breathing when they first started wearing masks. My daughter R.D. had several nose bleeds. Masks can dry the mucous membranes of the nose. Still, eventually, my kids got used to masks. Wearing a mask became a routine to put them on along with their socks and shoes in the morning. My two older teenage children, R.D. told me they preferred wearing a mask on multiple occasions, and it wasn't a big deal to them. Beginning as early as May 6, 2020, I and other founding members of Save PV Schools, LLC communicated frequently via email with the Superintendent of Respondent Palos Verdes Unified School District, Alex Cherniss, about the harmful practice of masking children.

  8. Initially, Superintendent Cherniss voiced solidarity with the views expressed by me and other parents, specifically recognizing that wearing masks for eight hours a day was not healthy and would pose issues, especially to children with disabilities.

  9. During the next several months, Supeintendent Cherniss shared his efforts to advocate on behalf of increased flexibility for schools, including letters to public officials and appearances on television.

  10. On May 21, 2020, Superintendent Cherniss forwarded me a letter that he wrote to Dr. Ferrer and others regarding school policies. A true and correct copy of this letter is attached as Exhibit A to the Third Amended Complaint filed on November 16, 2022.

  11. In December of 2021, I pulled my youngest son, D.D., who was in First Grade, out of the District. Unlike the District, our local Catholic School was flexible and allowed for exemptions. On May 19, 2021, while volunteering at D.D’s new school, I observed many children's difficulties with their masks. I saw children chewing on their masks. I saw one child off in a corner, and I approached him to ask if he's ok. He was hysterically crying. I told him, "It's ok to take off your mask." He said, "I will get in trouble." I could see his mask sticking to his wet face and the snot from his nose making a paste around the mask. I assured him, saying, "You won't get in trouble." I helped him take off his mask to catch his breath. I saw how within seconds, his heart rate slowed down, and he caught his air. I also took pictures of masks left on the ground during recess and many masks that were used as napkins to wipe tomato sauce from little five-year-old faces.

  12. On May 19, 2021, I shared this information (including photographs with the childrens’ consent) with Superintendent Cherniss, along with my fervent and sincere expression of hope that masks would not be required in the new school year for students in the District.

  13. In response, the same day, Superintendent Cherniss replied that "no distancing and no masks would be terrific” and that he “only see[s] us mandating this if the county requires it.” Superintendent Cherniss also stated that having “community members who are will to speak up on this topic will be helpful.”

  14. On August 11, 2021, based in part on Superintendent Cherniss’s assurances and public statements, and for the purposes of speaking up on the topic on behalf of my children in defense of their fundamental rights, I, along with over eighty (80) parents and Palos Verdes community members, arrived at the Board Meeting to give public comments requesting mask accommodation for our children in the District. On the agenda was item J:1:C, “Student Mask Enforcement Policy.”

  15. As shown on the video of the proceeding, I stated to the Board that we were present at the meeting solely “because we do not consent to the mask policy”, because we wanted to be heard and to “speak for our children” and that if we were not allowed to speak, it would harm our children.

  16. I would never take any action I knew or had reason to believe would threaten the health or safety of others, nor would I allow my children to take any action which I knew or had reason to know would threaten the health or safety of others. Prior to the meeting, I used most accurate test for COVID-19, the PCR Test, which was negative. I did not have any signs or symptoms of COVID and received diagnostic confirmation that I was not harboring any deadly viruses.

  17. During the meeting, several children attending District schools spoke in opposition to the mandate. One of them is the minor child of a fellow founding member of Save PV Schools, LLC. The minor student specifically stated that "teachers are making [her classmates] wear masks" and that as a result, one of her friends passed out when she was running while wearing a mask.

  18. The accommodation request made (and denied) at the August 11, 2021 meeting violated my rights and my children’s rights under the law. In closing the meeting without properly considering our comments, the Board violated my rights and my children’s rights under the law.

  19. Based on information and belief, Superintendent Cherniss, the District, and the County have all failed to perform their mandatory duties under law. As a result of such failure, the members of Save PV Schools, LLC have suffered injury. Additionally, the District has perpetuated unlawful retaliation which violates additional provisions of law, as stated in the Third Amended Complaint filed before this Court.

  20. As a parent, I teach my children to respect the law and also to think critically about public policies as their civic duty as American citizens. I believe our children deserve a community of people who can come together to think critically and realistically about what is truly best for their overall health and well-being based not on fear but on actual scientific data, and make decisions that are for their overall emotional, social, physical health and wellbeing. Respondents have failed to do so.

  21. The members of Save PV Schools, LLC filed this action in an organizational capacity for several reasons, including a common preference to avoid any and all risks associated, that may be, rightly or wrongly, with this legal action, including any disturbance or disruption of our childrens’ educational experiences that might occur as a result of this legal action. For those reasons, it was necessary for our counsel of record and designated agent, Matthew Harrison, to provide the requisite Verification and other documentation required before this Honorable Court in previous filings.

  22. The fundamental purpose of the members of Save PV Schools, LLC in filing this action on behalf of our children is to demand redress for the injuries suffered by Respondents. To facilitate this purpose through the necessary forum of the present litigation, I respectfully submit this sworn Declaration to the Court.

  23. I have reviewed the Third Amended Complaint (TAC), filed on November 16, 2022, in its entirety. The facts alleged in the TAC are true based on facts within my own knowledge.

  24. Under penalty of perjury, I declare that the foregoing is true and correct.



 

 




Letter From Superintendent To Governor Newsom


Letter From Superintendent To Governor Newsom

2021


EMAIL TEXT TO PVPUSD BOARD AND ADMINISTRATION:


Letter to the PVPUSD Board Members & Super External Emailed to the following

MAY 6, 2021 Dear School Board Trustees and Superintendents, This has been the most difficult school year any of us have experienced. We are thankful our students are back in their academic communities, but their lives are still far from normal. I understand that you are operating under the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year. I know this guidance calls for students to wear facial coverings unless exempted, and to be excluded from campus if they choose not to wear a facial covering. I understand mask mandates were initially implemented for safety, but case rates are down, all adults are now eligible to be vaccinated, and children were never at high risk from this virus. By the fall every adult that wants to will be fully vaccinated, and our children need to breathe fresh air and share their smiles again. This facial covering guidance was issued under an executive emergency order that has been in effect for over a year now even though it is legally required to be terminated at the earliest time possible. This means it has not passed the legislative process and is not a law. The legality of the CA executive emergency order is currently being challenged, and other states have had their emergency orders overturned in court. Mask mandates cannot be enforced upon adults during their daily activities, but our children’s education is being held hostage by the state to force compliance. Trustees you are elected representatives, which means it is your duty to represent those who elected you. If you do not then you are not operating in good faith ,and you can be voted out at the next election or recalled even sooner. Superintendents you are paid by the tax payers and also have a responsibility to act in their best interest. We are the ones who placed you in your position of authority and service, and we are calling on you to act in our students’ best interest. Please make it clear to state public health officials and representatives that you oppose continued mask mandates for students on campus in the fall. Masks are harming our children’s mental, emotional, physical and social health. There are no long-term studies proving that it is safe for youth to wear masks for long hours every day. There are reports published even by the World Health Organization outlining the disadvantages of mask wearing which include breathing difficulties, head-aches, facial lesions, difficulty communicating, and a false sense of security which can cause other important proven measures like hand washing to be ignored. WHO also points out that among the long list of populations that will have difficulty wearing a mask, children are at the forefront. We have witnessed students struggle with anxiety, depression, difficulty communicating, discomfort, facial rashes, increased dental issues, distraction, and academic struggles due to being forced to wear a facial covering. Students have been told they will face disciplinary measures so they are afraid to tell you how unhappy they are wearing masks, but we hear it from them. Mental health issues can be deadly, and we all need to take our kid’s happiness seriously. This is why we are calling on you to contact California state public health officials and representatives and insist that they amend this guidance for the fall so that each individual campus can make their own decisions locally, and ultimately give our children back their freedom to smile. In the meantime I am also calling on you to make the medical exemption process as smooth as possible. I could not find detailed guidance from the state about requirements that those who are exempt must present. For those who are medically exempt they do not have to show proof when they enter a grocery store etc. as that would be a violation of privacy laws. If you are requiring documentation for school attendance then the district needs to approve legitimate medical exemptions promptly when they are submitted. Also just a reminder that “Students with disabilities must not be excluded from educational environments if their disability prevents them from wearing a face covering.” per the CDPH guidance on Students with Disabilities and Face Coverings. Finally I need to address a ball that is solidly in your court. CDPH clearly states that, Participants in youth and adult sports should wear face coverings when participating in the activity, even with heavy exertion as tolerated, both indoors and outdoors” This means that each athlete, PE student, or participant in activities such as school jog-a-thons have the right to discern for themselves what they can tolerate when it comes to wearing a face covering during exertion. If students and athletes are given disinformation and led to believe they must wear a face covering at all times during PE and athletics or risk being made to leave campus or suspended from their sport then the school district could be liable if that student is injured or becomes ill due to wearing a face covering under exertion. I am calling on you to clarify to all students, teachers, coaches and administrators district-wide that youth only have to wear face coverings under exertion as tolerated. Students and athletes need to know they do not have to choose between their health and disciplinary action. As a parent I am not with my child during PE and athletics to observe. If they feel they can’t breathe they need to know they can take the mask off so they don’t collapse like two student runners in other areas did recently. Also for most sports a mask can limit vision or get caught on things which poses a risk to falling and other injuries. That is why it is imperative that you immediately clarify and educate our academic and athletic communities that each student can make the decision themselves to wear or not wear a face covering while under exertion. Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns that are echoed by many parents in this district. In summary I am calling on you to take immediate action by insisting that state public health officials and representatives amend the face covering guidance for schools so that districts regain local decision making. I’m also calling on you to streamline the exemption process, make sure not to discriminate against students with disabilities, and educate all students on their right to safely engage in sporting activities while wearing a mask as tolerated. The immediate crisis has passed, adult vaccines are available, and the coming school year must look different than this school year in order to safeguard our students’ mental, emotional, physical, and social health. You represent us, and I thank you in advance for honoring that public trust. Sincerely,



 


















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