The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


Opinion: Castilleja students have become the children of an institutional divorce

Chloe Cheng
Involving the student body in faculty politics will never be productive nor appropriate.

The students of Castilleja are now the children of divorce. In light of the calamitous article released Oct. 4, we have been thrown into the middle of the battle between faculty, the administration and the Board of Trustees. 


“We feel we have been left with no other choice,” the anonymous authors of “The Sixth ‘C’” declared, justifying their decision to release the post. 


While this choice may have seemed the most “effective,” or the sole way these teachers’ voices would be heard, involving the student body in faculty politics will never be productive nor appropriate. 


In an email to parents Wednesday evening, Kathy Laydendecker said it best: “By posting notices around the Bryant Street campus, including the student bathrooms, this process was disrespectful and intrusive to students’ experiences.” 


The teachers who wrote this article exploited our feelings to strengthen their personal opinions that truly have nothing to do with the students. They cited the “glaring unprofessionalism exhibited by some of our faculty who have openly expressed doubts and frustrations with the ICA program,” yet proceeded to write an entire article and distribute it anonymously, reminiscent of Regina George and the burn book. The dramatic irony of this line is not lost on me, or on any other students. 


However, the administration and Board of Castilleja are also guilty of doing the same thing: not listening to student voices. An unnamed source shared that a teacher told her that only a day after sending out the survey asking the students their thoughts on the schedule shift, the draft of the updated schedule was sent out to the teachers. 


This was confirmed in the Medium post: “The administration was swift to dismiss these student-initiated efforts, promoting a more ‘official’ survey to come on September 27, a mere day ahead of unveiling a schedule draft to staff. This timeline suggested that the survey might be more about ticking a box than sincerely listening to student perspectives.”


Castilleja has taken hit after hit throughout the entirety of 2023, first with the failed move to the College of San Mateo, Nanci Kauffman’s sudden departure, and the unexpected cancelation of experiential learning. I cannot speak on behalf of the whole student body, however, the students I have spoken to all desire the same thing: a shred of normalcy in the uncertain. 


School should be a constant, and never something tumultuous or continuously changing. 


We are not children in a custody battle. If teachers and the administration want to talk about the student experiences and opinions, ask us. Teachers and members of the administration should not repeat hearsay without quotes or pretend to sympathize or care about the student’s perspective that isn’t being represented. 


Show us that you’re listening. We want our voices to be heard in surveys and not be misconstrued in unprofessional debates. 


When I look back at my Castilleja experience, I think about the girls who have become like sisters to me and the teachers who have cared so deeply about my personal success. I don’t think about which activities filled community time or ICA time. I think about the deep connections and the impacts my teachers and classmates have had on me. With this rift in the faculty, I can only hope this remains true.  

This article has been updated to clarify that teachers received a draft of the updated schedule prior to its release.

Editor’s note: If you are a member of The Sixth “C,” Counterpoint is interested in hearing your story. Inquiries can be sent to [email protected] or [email protected].


Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Zoë Friedman
Zoë Friedman, Staff Writer
Zoë Friedman '26 is a returning staff writer for Counterpoint. Outside of journalism, Zoë enjoys playing lacrosse, singing, playing guitar, blasting music on the Circle and going to concerts with friends.
Chloe Cheng
Chloe Cheng, Digital Artist
Chloe Cheng ‘27 is a digital artist for Counterpoint. After working on her NHD podcast and learning from Ailsa Chang, she wants to learn more about what being a journalist is like. She enjoys various art hobbies from drawing to wheel throwing, is a XC runner and loves reading books (especially memoirs and romance).

Comments (0)

All Counterpoint Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *