Carol Mills made it to the unveiling of Fresno High School’s new mascot logo because nothing could keep her away.
She has a disability that makes it difficult to speak and has kept her from attending School Board meetings in person.
But there Mills was at the school, in a wheelchair, last week for three reasons:
She loves Fresno Unified. She loves Fresno High School and its students. And, during her 17 years as a trustee representing the Fresno High region, she has dedicated her heart, soul, and mind to education.
Bright, Respectful, Hardworking
Mills comes to board meetings fully prepared. Meaning: she has read the agenda front to back and is prepared to ask questions about murky statements and things she doesn’t understand.
When she goes to an out-of-town conference, she’s there to work and learn something beneficial for students and the district.
Rare is the school event that’s too small to attract her presence. She wants students and parents to know they are important.
Now in her fifth term, she has been the board’s sharpest mind and among the rare trustees to ask critical questions exposing blind spots in administration plans.
But those questions are asked politely. She’s not a headline hunter. Just a let’s-focus-on-the-facts trustee.
This respect of people and facts comes by way of temperament and training.
Mills earned a Juris Doctorate from the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific. She worked five years in the U.S. Department of Justice before becoming, in 1996, a Lead Appellate Court Attorney for the state Fifth District Court of Appeal.
So, it’s fair to say she knows the law and the Constitution inside out. As well as her legal obligations to constituents.
Mills’ Disability Is Nobody’s Business but Hers
Unfortunately, there are people out there demanding that Mills reveal what has put her into a wheelchair and causes her to rely on a computer-generated voice.
We have a right to know the medical condition of our trustee, they claim.
No, they don’t.
Mills isn’t entrusted with the nuclear codes. She can’t unilaterally order military strikes in a foreign land. Or sign off on the assassination of a terrorist.
She’s a School Board trustee. A damn good one who is entitled to the same rights and privacy as the rest of us.
In addition, her mind is as inquisitive and analytical as ever, say the people who know her best.
The Haters Need to Move On
All of us handle our medical conditions differently. Some of us share the journey with friends — or even to the public — in the hope of educating others about the challenges posed by the condition. Others cling to their privacy, allowing only family members to know. A few tell absolutely no one. Not even a spouse.
I know this: Carol Mills is an asset to students and our city. She’s also a woman of high integrity, ideals, and accomplishment. If she is incapable of serving, she’ll let us know.
Until then, the haters need to move on. Their obsession with Mills’ disability only illuminates their ignorance and absence of compassion.