GUSD will investigate allegations against Zappa

– The Gilroy Unified School District will investigate a claim
made by the high school’s Gay/Straight Alliance advisor that local
businessman Mark Zappa attacked her.
Gilroy – The Gilroy Unified School District will investigate a claim made by the high school’s Gay/Straight Alliance advisor that local businessman Mark Zappa attacked her.

According to Zappa, a Gilroy High School parent and local businessman, he was prevented from participating in the Community Media Access Partnership’s (CMAP) live debate May 18 about the Day of Silence because of false accusations made by Sally Enriquez.

The district is being asked by Zappa’s attorney Kevin T. Snider, chief counsel of the Pacific Justice Institute, to investigate the accusations. He sent a letter May 27 to GUSD Superintendent Edwin Diaz.

“As a representative of the school district, Ms. Enriquez told the television producer that Mr. Zappa ‘attacked her’ and that she will not appear in the same building as Mr. Zappa,” the letter read. “She further stated that she is in fear for her safety and the safety of her students, i.e. the GSA students who were to appear on the T.V. show.”

Diaz has referred the letter to the district’s human resources department. It is unclear whether Enriquez’ invitation to appear on the show was to represent the district officially or her personal views, he said.

“If (an investigation) hasn’t begun it will begin shortly,” Diaz said. “Until we truly know the nature it’s hard to comment.”

According to Diaz, Enriquez never spoke about any concerns she may have had about Zappa.

“She has never filed a complaint (about him) that I know of,” he said.

Day of Silence is a nationally recognized protest symbolizing the oppression gay and lesbian individuals feel. This year, four GHS teachers including Enriquez, participated, sparking conflict with the GUSD school board and parents.

Zappa denies ever threatening Enriquez verbally or physically.

“That’s the extent of our contact – that board meeting,” Zappa said, referencing the April 21 board meeting where he spoke denouncing teacher participation in the event, calling for action by the board against them.

Zappa said he wants his name can cleared of any suspicion because of his active involvement in politics, charities and business.

“In the world I live in – my reputation’s important,” Zappa said. “I have no criminal record. … I’m going to defend my reputation.”

Enriquez was unavailable for comment.

Suzanne St. John–Crane, executive director of CMAP, verified that a guest on the show indicated that they felt uncomfortable in Zappa’s presence.

“There was a woman who was invited who didn’t feel comfortable with Mark coming in,” she said. St. John–Crane indicated that the woman did not want to participate if he was involved, but did not indicate whether she felt physically threatened by him.

“She didn’t want to participate if he was there and it was my understanding that the students didn’t either,” St. John–Crane said.

Because of the controversial nature of the debate, St. John–Crane wanted to a balance of positions on the program.

A representative from the GHS Parent Club, Bob Heisey, was there, as well as Diaz and one GHS student who opposed teachers participating during classtime. Enriquez accompanied two GSA students who supported the idea.

Participants were limited for space, St. John–Crane explained. She had to turn away members of the GSA from participating. After speaking with Zappa, she did reserve a seat for Zappa’s attorney – although he did not end up coming.

“I told Mark (Zappa) he was more than welcome to participate as a caller,” she said. St. John–Crane also offered to help him start his own show on channel 20 where he can express his opinions on the public access station.

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