Imagine your own child being taken out of her class, losing instructional time, and being interrogated by two board members without your consent. Being an elected school board member does NOT give anyone the right to pull a student out of class, especially not without parental consent. Being an elected board member does NOT equate to being district staff in any way.
This same student spoke at a board meeting last night about being bullied by the board members and asked for their resignations. There was a motion to have a 3rd party investigate this issue but the board neglected to vote and moved away from the issue.
Watch the video and read the story by Channel 7 here – http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/dcsd-student-accuses-board-members-of-bullying-and-intimidation-during-closed-door-meeting
This particular student organized a protest at Ponderosa High School in reaction to their teacher exodus.
The following is unedited recording provided by Channel 7 of two Douglas County Board Members who interrogate a student for 1 1/2 HOURS, without parental consent. This also violated the safety and security procedures of the school district.
1 1/2 hours is a LONG time for any discussion much less an interrogation of a child who is a minor without parental knowledge or consent. Kudos to this student for handling herself so well. If you don’t have the time just yet to listen to the content, below are a few of the items/issues from the recording:
- The board members start off by asking her how this was organized, intimating that they believe she didn’t do it on her own. The student gives credit to the internet.
- The student is questioned about her intent repeatedly, apparently the two board members don’t seem to like her answer.
- The student is challenged as to what her 1st Amendment rights are. The attorney in the first link above specifically states that the board members were not correct.
- The student is badgered about her liability and it is intimated that she will be legally responsible for everyone participating in her protest.
- One board member actually says that the two of them are in a position to change things and that other board members who are planning to come to the protest don’t have the ability to change things. Is that because the board majority already intends to vote in lockstep and has or intends to violate open meetings laws by knowing how they will vote on everything?
- The student relays that she has talked to media and law enforcement and has talked to district officials and they have also talked to law enforcement yet the student is continually badgered about this and continually is told “I’m not sure you understand…”
- The student defends the ability and training of law enforcement yet the board members continually intimate that angry, distracted, inappropriate people might come and this is somehow the students’ issue and responsibility.
- One board member notes that the district will incur expenses for law enforcement and the student should have to reimburse that. The student offers to move off of school property (which was planned to ensure safety) and the board members change direction again in their interrogation and decide that she will still incur costs for the protest from law enforcement.
- The board members decide to debate teacher evaluations with the student. They intimate the evaluations are REQUIRED to happen as they are doing in Douglas County, which has been a major frustration for many in the district, but later admit that they wrote their own evaluation system.
- The student speaks up for teachers providing their own materials and installing them on their own during their free time – such as white boards that they need for the classroom. The board members question whether she means that teachers shouldn’t have to do this.
- The board members suggest that an assembly where students can be talked at would be better so they can personally give the facts. “You running around on a protest field is not effective.”
- The board members demean the group, Douglas County Parents, as being people who don’t like the district and not factual. http://douglascountyparents.com/ – Note, Douglas County Parents is an organization formed by very credible parents in that district who advocate for their children. Very similar to what we experienced in Jeffco when parents lost their voice with the recalled board.
- The board members intimate that their information is the only credible information. Apparently these board members do not want to allow any voices that differ from the information they are spreading, which is contrary to what parents and staff in Douglas County has reported.
- The board members again question whether the student is actually the leader and operating the petition website. They feel it came out of nowhere.
- For bonus points, one of the board members uses the word “opine,” which Jeffco will remember our recalled board members using frequently.
- The board members state that no one has ever been fired for expressing opinions, only performance problems. Board members state that there have been people spreading misinformation to make it seem like this has been happening. Yet, many employees who have expressed opinions in this district have, in fact, been escorted off of district property in front of students and terminated shortly after voicing their opinions.
- One board member points the student to Facebook and notes that dozens of teachers express their opinions on there, often abusively. Social media stalking was also a common theme in Jeffco. In fact, one of our own students was threatened and intimidated during a board meeting by a recalled board member and the disastrous former communications chief. A member of our district cabinet stated that the district changed some of their procedures after that event and he felt badly for how that had happened.
Here’s a link to the student petition so you can read their intention – https://www.change.org/p/help-support-dcsd-teachers
We are fortunate to no longer have to experience such drama and trauma at our board meetings but it’s important to remember that this is still happening to other Colorado students and there remain political entities who wish to take over our wonderful schools again. We, as a community, have the power to come together and stay together to make changes and protect the education of our children.
We stand with Douglas County Parents and the Strong Schools Coalition and appreciate their advocacy.