The Burien-News believes that bullying has no place in society and in campaigns. We offer any candidate under personal attack the opportunity to defend themselves by writing a statement for us to publish.
The following is a statement of rebuttal from Melissa Petrini who was maligned by her opponent over the weekend:
Public Statement about Mailer Attack
Thank you to all those who have taken time to contact me and ask me their questions directly as a mass-smear and misinformation campaign has been launched against me, right to your mailboxes.
This underhanded tactic of smearing your opponent is a mere distraction. Instead of trying to stand by their own merits, experiences and vision to help our schools succeed, some felt the need to resort to dirt-digging, mudslinging and allude to nefarious intentions, round-about name-calling, fear mongering and diverting your attention away from the things that matter most…our kids’ FAILING EDUCATIONAL STATE!
I will not participate in this scheme or return any attacks or personal accusations as my integrity is worth more than any position I seek. I had high opinions of Mr. Ruiz going in, and gave him the benefit of the doubt that he was not behind any of the social media attacks and constant downed or missing lawn-sign saga, but with this mailer, he has put his stamp of approval on it and has shown his true intentions, and to that, I am deeply disappointed that he couldn’t show a better example to our children, and instead chose to bully and belittle, not only me, but half of the voter base in his attacks against other families of different perspectives, values and beliefs, that he calls “extremists.” I worry for those communities that are hurt by his words and his lack of support for them if he becomes a board member.
For a reminder and clarification of who I am and what I stand for, as I told Mr. Ruiz myself in-person, that I have had children in the Highline school district in the past and currently have a child at Sylvester, though part-time because of academic concerns. Perhaps he forgot this fact when he wrote his campaign mailer??? Up until we moved to the Normandy Park area, ALL my children attended public schools wherever we lived, such as the San Francisco Bay Area for 5 years, back east in Maryland for several years, in DOD government schools while my husband served in the Navy 11 years ago, and more recently in the Renton area, Issaquah School district.
Sadly, Highline schools have a poor reputation that we learned and were cautioned about when moving to Normandy Park when it comes to Middle and High School. This isn’t my judgment, but the judgment of people who have lived here a long time and send their kids elsewhere. This is also a common theme when I visit homes in Normandy Park, that MOST of families send their kids somewhere else. Don’t shoot the messenger! So for now, I have my children in several different learning environments, such as hybrid half-day at Sylvester and part-time homeschool, two full-time at private schools, one graduated, one part-time at a day-school and one Down-Syndrome daughter who will be attending Highline for special needs in the coming years. I have great hopes to help our schools recover and be a place where families won’t feel afraid to send their kids and can be confident that their children will thrive, be supported and graduate for the future they choose.
This position is non-partisan and as I am running and working as an Independent, free from any control of outside influences and agendas, I realize that feels to be a threat to unions, parties, and organizations. If you will visit my PDC filing and donor page, you will see that I have funded my own campaign, along with individuals and community members who live in the Highline District and that I am truly supported by this community ONLY and am beholden to parents, teachers, students, and our community members, willing to work with Unions that benefit teachers and organizations that seek to help our children.
I have taken NO ENDORSEMENTS. I have not accepted any unsolicited endorsements and I don’t feel it necessary to chase around and condemn any group that feels that I am the best choice for them and their families. As a non-partisan, that means representing every group, every side, EVERY person because that is TRUE INCLUSION. Giving space for ALL, not some, but ALL people to feel heard, be respected and have their families represented too…even if you don’t like them or what they stand for. That is the position of the Board and is not a place for partisan or political views!
I don’t play into using buzzwords, tropes, and appealing or pandering to special interest groups, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t care, or disrespect those groups. I see individual children, who haven’t decided their futures yet. They are ever-changing, malleable, teachable, curious, and need trusting adults to work together to help them succeed and get them through the tough adolescent years. Highline prides itself on being a place where a ‘culture of belonging’ can exist, but that door must swing both ways to students/families and communities of faith that are part of Highline too. So again, when I say I will support ALL, I am not being exclusionary so no need to “read between the lines.”
And if the worst thing you can dig up is that I am “squeaky clean” June Cleaver over here who wants our kids to be able to read and succeed like they did in the “1950’s”, then I will take that as the highest compliment because I value honesty, integrity, treating people with respect and dignity, and in loving all people where they are and being willing to serve and share in their trials and triumphs.
I hold my position as a Mother to the highest degree! I hold our amazing Teachers in the highest regard to being there to help OUR children learn and working together to help them blossom and flourish. I trust community partners outside of school like sports and youth programs who also help OUR children become more rounded, balanced, resilient, confident and strong in their beliefs, identities and purpose. TOGETHER, WE MAKE A GREAT TEAM!!!
Thank you again for taking the time to learn the truth, from the source, and for standing up to those who will use and twist my words to be something it is not. I trust and hope you can see through it for what it is and who I am and for what I stand for:
-STRONG ACADEMICS FOR ALL STUDENTS TO THRIVE
-COLLABORATIVE RELATIONSHIPS TO BENEFIT OUR STUDENTS MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY
-BALANCED AND SOUND POLICIES THAT REFLECT COMMON SENSE AND RESPECT FOR ALL, ALONG WITH FISCAL ACCOUNTABILITY
I trust you will help me stand against any unnecessary and false attacks and will Vote “SQUEAKY CLEAN” on Nov. 7th!!!