We feel strongly that we are all responsible for our own actions. As teachers we are always trying to impart this lesson to our children. No one can be blamed for Hillary's suicide. She made that choice as a result of deep emotional pain caused by various complicated issues in both her personal and professional life. Many of us wish we had recognized more clearly the symptoms that led to that choice. Hillary was a strong woman, and the depth of her pain went undetected. To link Judi Chavez, the principal at Barnum, to Hillary's suicide is not psychologically realistic or just.

Judi Chavez has the affection and the support of the majority of Barnum's staff. She assumed leadership of our school during a difficult year. The school was experiencing a period of turmoil and change. She had to deal with many challenging situations in her first year as principal. Judi is a good listener, supportive and direct. She allows the staff members to use their own talents, abilities and creativity to benefit the children and the school. In return, she has our appreciation, respect and support.

In conclusion, we, the undersigned teachers and staff at Barnum Elementary, are livid and extremely disheartened by Westword's article. It has tarnished many of our wonderful and vivid memories of Hillary's last year. It has slandered our principal and damaged our reputation as a professional staff. Most of all, it has hurt the community of children whose lives are intertwined with our own and their love for both Hillary Adams and Judi Chavez.

31 Barnum teachers and staff members

First of all, I want to thank you for the story regarding Hillary Adams. I am honestly not too familiar with the details of that young teacher, but my heart goes out to her family.

I am, however, very familiar with Judi Chavez, because my children attend Barnum. I personally do not respect Mrs. Chavez and am not at all happy with the way in which Barnum has been operating under her "leadership."

I have heard through the grapevine that a letter has been written by some of the Barnum teachers in support of Mrs. Chavez, and of course that is their right. However, I have also heard that many of the teachers signed this letter because they are afraid for their jobs. I can understand this fear, as I, too, am afraid to voice my opinion because I fear the effect it would have on my children.

I feel badly that I don't have the courage to sign my name. I feel even worse that teachers are signing a letter because they are afraid. But more than that, it's very clear to me that the truth of this matter will not prevail. To me that is a travesty!

A Barnum parent

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