Apology offered for petition tampering

By Kathy Glatter

I am the person responsible for submitting names and comments on the Davis GATE petition that were not my own. I would like to offer my most profound and heartfelt apologies to everyone whose name I listed without permission, to Davis Excel and to the entire community.

As many readers may know, in the context of a public debate about the Gifted and Talented Education program, a group called Davis Excel placed a petition on Change.org.

I was strongly supportive of the petition and signed it myself. My child is a disabled student. Every year for the past five years has been a bad year for him in school. Only this year in the GATE program has he turned around and become engaged in learning for the first time in class. I was deeply concerned that the school district would cancel the only program that has worked for my child.

I took my actions in an effort (clearly misguided) to express my political opinion. I did not intend for my actions to cause harm to anyone. None of that excuses the serious misjudgment that led me to add more names than my own to the petition, nor does it excuse the fact that I attributed some comments to names of real people in our community. That was wrong.

I realize now how important the integrity of that petition was to the community’s ability to honestly discuss the serious educational policy issues that we, as a community, face. I feel absolutely horrible that I created a distraction, when we could instead be focusing our attention on how to improve our schools.

The entire petition with all of the names has been completely removed from the Internet and is no longer available for review, for which I am grateful. I hope that this provides some comfort to the people whose names I placed on it. To everyone else, I am deeply sorry that a petition that may have helped move the debate forward is now gone.

This episode has affected our community in several other ways. It has the potential to make people more fearful of the Internet and potentially distrustful of the Internet’s ability to facilitate civic discourse. It may have shaken people’s faith in the transparency of our government process. And it has caused suspicion and division among those who care deeply about education policy, rather than uniting us in the common goal of working together in good faith to improve our educational system.

It has also affected the individuals involved. I am not a member of the Davis Excel group, and Davis Excel was not involved in these actions. To the extent they were affected as a result of my actions, I am deeply sorry.

Most of all, it has affected the individuals whose names I placed on the petition without permission, and in whose names I attributed comments under the “reasons for signing.” I added roughly 20 names of people who have children in Davis schools to the petition, accompanied by comments in support; I added roughly 10 people’s names to the petition that were not accompanied by comments, It was not my place to use the names of others, or to comment on their behalf.

I want to say a word about the people who I love. Please do not hold this against them. My family did not do this; I did.

I deeply regret my actions, and promise that I will never do anything like this again. I hope that the people affected by having their names placed on the GATE petition will feel better knowing what happened, how it happened, and how sorry I am for my poor judgment in this matter. Finally, I hope that my behavior will not negatively affect the very legitimate concerns on both sides of the GATE debate.

— Kathy Glatter is a Davis resident whose children attend North Davis Elementary School.

Special to The Enterprise

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