Public and employee group comments, from the October 6th Eugene School Board meeting.
[00:00:09] Harry Sanger: Thank you. Requiring experimental, genetically-based therapy for teachers to keep their jobs is divisive. As you prepare to hold a Job Fair this week, please reflect on the dedicated teachers and staff who committed their careers to our children and the 4J School District that you just kicked to the curb.
[00:00:27] John Q: Harry questioned the data. He wondered whether, during the pandemic, the death rate was any higher than the average.
[00:00:35] Harry Sanger: How can you support this course of segregation in our students? The vaccine is unnecessary for children who for all intents and purposes are at zero risk of severe infection. If anything, that would benefit the community by developing natural immunity. Of course isolated anecdotes of youth COVID can be provided but so too can anecdotes of severe adverse reactions to the vaccine. And again, I ask, are you going to assume liability for those coerced to get the vaccine that end up injured or heaven forbid dead on your watch?
Which brings me to my next point, you set up on that dais to represent our community. I speak to hundreds of parents who don’t feel heard, who do not consent to vaccine indoctrination in public schools, who do not consent to the continued abuse and developmental delays caused by mask mandates even outside, who do not consent to copious screen time. who do not consent to their children being locked behind closed doors. Parents unable to volunteer, even observe their child’s learning environment. I speak not just for myself, but for my family, and these many other families who are losing faith in your arbitrary rules.
[00:01:36] John Q: Harry repeated his strong political opposition to Black Lives Matter. He was followed by Erica.
[00:01:43] Erica: Hello, my name is Erica (last name), my pronouns are she/her/hers, and I am the parents of two current and one former 4J students. I’m here this evening to voice my enthusiastic and whole-hearted support for historically accurate, culturally sensitive curriculum that teaches all students about diversity and equity. I know there are many voices trying to stifle and eliminate the subject matter or teaching that speaks truth to power about the experiences and voices of marginalized people. But I’m here to say, please keep teaching it and even grow in this life-changing part of education.
My eldest was able to take two amazing classes at Churchill High School: Peace Out, a social studies class taught by Lisa Iacovetta, and Courageous Conversations, taught by the ever-amazing Leah Dunbar. These classes were transformative for my students, especially in their junior and senior years and it helped them form a solid foundation for the adult that they’ve grown into. What was beautifully transformative is that while (my eldest) was taking Courageous Conversations, in a way our whole family was taking the class. We watched the documentaries together. Sometimes we read the article and around the dinner table we would have kind, respectful, but often spirited conversations about these lessons.
We all grew and learned so much. For example, I have been a physical therapist for 24 years, and I never knew that the reason why patients are protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act (of 1990) is because hundreds of protestors crawled up the Capitol steps in 1990.
I believe that our students K through 12 in developmentally appropriate ways have the skills to learn and discuss this difficult topic. And I believe that our teachers have the skills to teach these often divisive subjects to our students with grace and compassion. I believe that the truly patriotic, truly strong, and brave thing to do for America is to honestly, compassionately and critically examine and debate our past and our present because these students are our future.
Teaching them about diversity, equity, and the oppression of marginalized groups help us to grow and nurture future community members, spouses, parents, partners, co-workers, and leaders. And it’s critically important to teach them about racism, sexism, legalism, age-ism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, all of these things. It is the patriotic thing to do.
And I believe that our students are capable of having courageous conversations in curriculum. I do not believe this divisive rhetoric and know that so-called (Critical Race Theory) CRT is not taught in K through 12 schools, but tonight I am here as a parent and a mother to voice my heartfelt support for curriculum that teachers, our students (crosstalk) equality.
I would love to see 4J moving to a more Restorative Justice and Transformative Justice lens for our curriculum and programs. It is not indoctrination to teach our children about diversity, equity and equality. In fact, it is a benchmark of excellent education. And I stand here tonight and like to say Black Lives Matter. And I stand with pride while saying it.
[00:04:43] Peter (President of MAPS): I’m Peter (last name). And I am the president of MAPS… We studied the board practices that correlated with improved student achievement. And one principle from that experience and research is the importance of relationships that are built strength-to-strength. This concept builds on the notion of an asset or strength based model versus a deficit based perspective. Working strength-to-strength is bringing an intentionality to the work that recognizes all of what we offer each other. In our context. I believe that strength-to-strength implies we learn from, and lean on, each other’s strengths as you all set policy for the school district. This means just trusting in each other, learning more about each other and finding opportunities for learning together. From where I sit tonight. I want to say that I believe in all of you, I trust in the strengths that you bring to this work and I encourage you to continue to learn from and engage with the strengths of others. Thank you.
[00:05:47] Sheila Waggoner: My name is Sheila Waggoner and I am the OSEA Eugene Chapter One President. First of all, I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to speak. As you know, I don’t always speak at the board meetings, but I always listen in and follow what’s happening. I was listening in when the board asked what we could do to bring in and keep our school bus drivers. This has been an issue for a long time. And I believe the district was listening too. They have worked with us, OSEA, in bargaining over different job incentives. And although it isn’t out yet, I think our classified transportation folks will be pleased with the incentives coming their way. And I’m happy about most custodians being able to move up a grade, but I’d also like to bring incentives for food service folks and others too, there’s been extra tasks and trainings that our Secretaries and EAs have been doing through COVID, the COVID crisis, and although you may not know it, these valued classified folks always step up and support this team. I appreciate the district truly listening and working with us to form a more solid team, a team that can feel valued and respected. Thank you so much.