Since the June 23 South Whidbey School Board meeting, I have reviewed the district’s policies, including key functions/duties of board members; curriculum development; the health; family life and sex education policy; non-curriculum related student groups; and religious-related activities and practices.
The school board is complying with all of these policies.
The new ethnicity and climate change classes must follow state and federal laws as does the updated health, family life and sex education class. The superintendent and board did their due diligence by posting the health class curriculum online, asking for community input and then voting to update and/or add classes based on a majority vote.
Parents and community members who oppose this direction should voice their objections to their state representatives and Board of Education since the laws, mandates and guidelines originate at the state level with compliance to federal laws.
Other objections to the majority vote approved by the school board can be resolved at the local ballot box for the next election.
Regarding the local issue surrounding the banners: again, the superintendent and board did their due diligence in looking at the banner proposal from a student in USL in support of creating a school environment of equity, inclusion, diversity and validation for all students in the district. USL complies with Policy 2153, is run by students, is not school- or staff-sponsored and as such is not required to divulge their advisors, if any.
Display of the banners is not a political act. It is an act of student respect for one another. However, vandalizing and defacement of the banners is a criminal act.
For those parents concerned about “indoctrination” of their students, the board and school district must adhere to state and federal laws/guidelines regarding “moral values” in all aspects of the school. Though these values may align with your moral or religious values, the school district is not indoctrinating students. The district is a public, not private, institution and must uphold the separation of church and state.
We live in a democracy, not a theocracy.
A recent South Whidbey Record article indicated that the school district had failures regarding the closure of the middle school and South Whidbey Academy. At this writing, the SWA program is still listed on the district website and I know students enrolled in the program. The new ALE-SWAP program is being added to a wide-range of educational programs to accommodate all types of student learning styles most effective for students and their parents.
The middle school closure is a result of demographic changes in Island County and certainly is not a failure of the school administration or board.
The Island County population “growth rate has decreased in every period since 1980,” according to Island County’s Comprehensive Plan Update.
We are becoming a retirement community. The school board made wise decisions regarding excess facilities by ensuring that those facilities are used for expanded educational programs of the district and finding other organizations to rent or buy other facilities, adding to revenue income for the district.
The superintendent and school board have done their jobs.