Update: Aaron Persky has been fired.
Listen below to Nivi Achanta’s latest podcast episode of Get Schooled.
Lynbrook High School, in the heart of Silicon Valley, has just hired former Judge Aaron Persky as a tennis coach for 14-18 year-old girls. We want him out.
by Shivani Kavuluru
All Athletic coaches have to be mandated reporters for harassment and abuse, and Persky’s language during the trial, and decision to focus on supporting the rapist more than the survivor, Chanel Miller, has made it clear he does not respect the bodily autonomy of women and therefore cannot be an appropriate choice for our tennis coach. That is not the type of person our 14-16-year-old girls on the JV Sports team should have for a coach or mentor.
Secondly, the first judge to be recalled in a century surely should not have been the most “qualified” for a sports coach. The people of California spoke up to recall Persky and California laws were changed after Persky's treatment of the case to try and prevent similar instances from repeating. Persky's bias towards rapist Brock Turner should be a very compelling reason to not consider Persky to be in a position to coach a public high school sports team.
Finally, by bringing Persky into their teachers' circle, Lynbrook will be sending a dangerous message that it does not treat Chanel Miller, or any survivor, with the respect they deserve. Survivors have to deal with trauma and a host of other issues for their whole life and Persky should have no place being the mandated reporter to our young girls.
While we do wish and hope for sexual assault/race/bias/gender/masculinity training for everyone in our high school in order to grow and think about these issues in a more nuanced way, the pushback from our community to have Persky as a teacher in our public school should illuminate that we, as a community, believe hiring him is incongruous with the values of safe learning that Lynbrook espouses, that our district espouses. If we have the knowledge to make better choices then we have the responsibility to act on them.
“I cannot even fathom how the administration arrived at a decision that shoves aside all morals in the face of children and families.”
— SUNNY W.
“We do not believe that the hiring of Mr. Persky reflects Lynbrook High School's values, nor that of the Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD). We are highly disappointed that the FUHSD considers Mr. Persky a "highly qualified applicant" due to his tennis experience. As with any job interview, experience alone is not sufficient - one must also consider the cultural fit and reception by the community of the individual.” – Elizabeth Y.,
“This is an unacceptable hiring. Someone who can pass this sort of sentence on a rapist should not be a coach of high school boys and girls. No excuses or justifications can hide the fact that whatever mentality led to that sentencing will cause harm to students by perpetuating toxic masculinity and rape culture. Even the very news of his hiring will bring hope to rapists and chauvinists and embolden them to be more outright and outspoken. All in all, a bad influence to students, and negative effect on our community.” – Franklin L.
“Brock Turner's case was a horrible decision that set a poor precedent. Former Judge Persky was behind that decision. It is irresponsible to put this man in charge of the leadership of girls at the middle, high school, or college level. Although it is understandable that the tennis team needs a coach, the speed of hiring should be secondary to finding a qualified, respectable coach. His actions have negated the trust we can put in a position in a leadership role. He needs to go.” – Mayer Adelberg, Lynbrook ‘17
“Persky made it clear that he does not believe women have a right to bodily autonomy when he decided the appropriate sentence for raping an unconscious woman and being convicted of three counts of felony sexual assault was just 6 months. Persky may not have been the one to initially attack who we now know to be Chanel Miller, but his handling of this case was a further attack on her autonomy and only further emphasized that her body was worthless in the eyes of the court. At the very least, being the first judge to be recalled in California in almost a century should reflect as extremely poor work history for an applicant. However, the real problem is the exposure this man and his beliefs will have to the JV girls tennis team - the worst possible demographic for this man to have access to and supposedly be a mentor for. 14 to 16 year old girls should be affirmed and validated, not implicitly and explicitly told that their bodily autonomy is irrelevant.” – Shailja S., Lynbrook ‘16
“I’m beyond appalled that a school would hire this man and entrust him with the care of vulnerable teen girls.”
— CARLY D.
We want Former Judge Aaron Persky to be removed from his position immediately.
Aishwarya Borkar, Avani Bhatnagar, Christina Zhu, Jacqueline T Lin, Jane Jun, Jessica Cao, Kira Rakova, Mayer Adelberg, Neha Palvai, Nikita Seth, Nivi Achanta, Noopur Gosalia, Ruhi Sharfuddin, Sana Sharfuddin, Shailja Somani, Shirley Fang, Shivanu Kavuluru, Somya Khare, Sophia Ling, Sunny Wu, and 2700+ other petition signers