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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wednesday Open Thread

My apologies for the tardiness of this thread; my internet service has been spotty.

Update from the School Board meeting tonight; President Harris announced that there will be several "silent" observers at the superintendent semi-finalists' interviews tomorrow and Friday.  She did not indicate which groups will send a rep nor how the Board will take in their feedback.

A story from KING 5 news on students organizing this Saturday's big March for Our Lives for common-sense gun control.  Details at the Facebook page for this event.


Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos faced some scalding questions when she appeared before a House Appropriations Committee:
DeVos, already reeling after a series of rocky, high-profile interviews, unveiled some details of a federal commission on school safety that she will be chairing. The commission, formed after the Florida high school shooting in which 17 people were killed, will comprise herself as well as the heads of the Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and Justice departments. 
DeVos also faced sharp criticism from Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., who complained that minority students were being disciplined much more frequently than their white peers for similar infractions. The Obama administration issued guidance in 2014 that instructed schools to pay attention to the problem and make sure they weren’t discriminating against minority students.

“Your head is in the sand about racial bias and racial discrimination,” Lee said. “Madame Secretary, you just don’t care much about the rights of black and brown children. This is horrible.”
One bright spot; there was a "yes" extracted from DeVos on whether private schools that accept public funds via vouchers would have to follow federal regulations on non-discrimination.

Finally, a high school student - unhappy over the mass shootings at high schools - called up his local congressional representative; this from Slate.
(Seventeen-year-old Noah) Christiansen got into trouble after the student walkout he participated in last Wednesday as part of a coordinated nationwide protest movement to demand solutions to school gun violence. Christiansen and his fellow students were marked tardy for walking out of class at 10:17 a.m. to mark the 17 people—mostly students—who were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Christiansen told the Washington Post that during the walkout, his classmates passed around pieces of paper with phone numbers of legislators to call. Christiansen called the office of Rep. Mark Amodei, a pro-gun Republican, to complain, and reached a staffer in his office. 
He told the Post that he said, “I believe bump stocks should be banned, the minimum age should be raised, and Congress people not already asking should get off their fucking asses and do something about gun control.” 
The staffer thanked him for his comments, Christiansen said. But the school later told the student that staffer called the school to alert it toChristiansen’s use of “offensive” language. That afternoon, Christiansen was suspended for two days for “disrespectful behavior/language” and barred from assuming his role as the class secretary-treasurer, according to the ACLU.
Amodei, who told the Los Angeles Times he would review the protocol for taking calls from the public, defended his staffer, saying he wouldn’t apologize “because my guy accurately described what happened” and “he didn’t ask for any specific thing or beat the kid up,” he told the Nevada Independent.
“Welcome to the world where words have impact,” he told the Times. 
On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada sent letters on behalf of 17-year-old Noah Christiansen to request Robert McQueen High School in Reno, Nevada, remove the record of his suspension and apologize to the student. The student’s punishment, they argued, amounted to an infringement on his First Amendment rights and could deter other studentsfrom reaching out to their representatives.
First, good for Noah for trying to be politically active.  Next, no, he shouldn't have cursed when he was stating his position.  However, it's pretty childish on the part of the staffer to not realize that Noah is a child who made a mistake.  Tattling on him and then having the principal suspend him was way out of line.

And how odd is it that Congressman Amodei referenced not asking for Noah to be "beaten up?"  But clearly, they wanted him disciplined and that was wrong.  That's for his parents to do but he has rights as a citizen to express himself.  Good for the ACLU for stepping up to help him.

What's on your mind?

14 comments:

Oh Boy! said...

DeWolf needs to pay attention to board meetings. The board meeting is in progress. There is a BIG discussion about technology. DeWolf is posting to facebook. He just posted this article; something that has nothing to do with SPS.

https://thinkprogress.org/whats-in-omnibus-spending-bill-59b617391cc2/

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, he’s quite the unusual Board member. He said he has a full-time job and that’s why he had had no community meetings ( and yet there are other Board members who do as well and they have them). He says he will have a meet and greet and a couple of special focus meetings but I’m wondering if he will ever have a community meeting.

Geary seems to have abandoned th as well in favor of her (sometimes) early morning meeting at Zoka at U Village bit she said to Facebook her or call the Board office if you want to talk.

Ed said...

Except for Eden Mack, they only want to "talk" in election cycle years. And why should they? They "talk" to their true constituents (administrators) in between.

Anonymous said...

I hope parents encourage their children to attend the March Against Guns on Saturday. It's only a matter of time before we have one of these events at our schools. Unless the guns are removed from society.

I urge people to read about the Heller decision and how it incorrectly(IMO) found the 2nd amendment to protect private gun ownership for personal protection.

Also here are some sobering stories by doctors on what they see when high powered rifles are used to shoot living creatures.


https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/what-i-saw-treating-the-victims-from-parkland-should-change-the-debate-on-guns/553937/

https://gizmodo.com/doctors-want-you-to-know-how-much-damage-rifle-bullets-1823503094

LA

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the student has learned some lessons. Yes, words have impact, and cursing in a message to an elected representative shows a lack of respect and a great deal of immaturity. "In the heat of the moment, fueled by his anger..." he exercised a poor choice of words.

Note that the ACLU contested the suspension, not the unexcused tardy. "Importantly, Noah’s use of profanity in his impassioned plea for gun control legislation did not occur during school or at a school sanctioned or school sponsored event...The United State Supreme Court has indicated that schools have do not necessarily have the power to punish lewd or profane out-of-school speech." The ACLU letter continues with more court case references - it's a good read for those needing a lesson on protected speech in a school setting.

The student made a poor (though legally protected) choice in his use of profanity, and the school reacted in a way that infringed on his First Amendment rights.

lessons learned

Anonymous said...

Cold and rainy for the march but we must at least try to protect our precious students. The victims of school shootings are not limited to those shot. The survivors, especially those who see the mangled bodies of their school-mates, will never be the same.

Another article from various trauma surgeons who have seen gun wounds in war and at home.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/04/health/parkland-shooting-victims-ar15.html

This madness must stop.

So Blue

Anonymous said...

But at least DeWolf is better than a charter school supporter, amirite? Even if that charter school supporter would have been at least an engaged member of the board. Better no board member than one that supports charter schools!!! SMH

Francis

Oh Boy! said...

If Director DeWolf is reading this thread, pay attention to the school board meetings! You are responsible for millions of taxpayer dollars and policies as it relates to online learning and curriculum. These are complicated, expensive and big issues.

In addition to posting an article about White House spending, DeWolf posted on Soup for Teachers during a board meeting, too.

Taxpayers are counting on you to make informed decisions.

Anonymous said...

I have a FT job in tech myself and if I was sitting in an important meeting and my boss saw me posting ANYWHERE or doing anything other than listening intently, I would be called out. Consider this the call out. We voted you in, Mr Dewolf. This is a complex and practically volunteer role. But if you are not up for it and can't be bothered to listen to those of us-parents and kids-who have been living it long before you found yourself in a meeting NOT paying attention, then please don't cause any further damage.
-Long Road

Anonymous said...

Rainier Beach's Baseball Team fundraiser called into question by SPS. Coach quits.

https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/high-school/baseball-coach-who-raised-more-than-40k-to-rejuvenate-rainier-beach-team-quits-after-one-season/

HP

Watching said...

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL Select Committee on 2018 Education Levy Agenda March 26, 2018 - 10:30 AM Special Meeting

Presenters: Dwane Chapelle, Director, Veronica Gallardo, K-12 Division Director, and Monica Liang-Aguirre, Early Learning Director, Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL)

2. Filling the Gaps: Current and Future State of Seattle Public School Funding

Briefing and Discussion (60 minutes)

Presenters: JoLynn Berge, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance, and Brent Jones, Chief of Strategic Partnerships, Seattle Public Schools

This is going to get interesting.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I’m going so I’ll let you know.

Patrick said...

Can we suspend the election of President Trump for his use of profanity?

Watching said...


Thanks, Melissa. I look forward to your report.

The Family and Education Levy Committee is not an elected body. I personally believe that an unelected city body should not be given 3/4 billion dollars to influence education policy.

I have not forgotten that city rammed through unlawful variances so that Green Dot could build a 3 story charter school. They did so without including anyone from Seattle Public Schools.

Here is a story about a Central District family whose property taxes were raised from $5K-$8K this year. Long time residents of the Central District are being forced out. The city wants additional taxes to help poor individuals. Will tax increases help these people??

www.king5.com/article/news/local/seattle/seattle-central-area-property-tax-hikes-may-force-out-longtime-residents/281-530467923