Quote of the day

"We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing. "

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

February 6 - to all Mount Si High School students and parents.

February 6, 2008

Dear Mount Si High School Students and Parents,

As you know, events at this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. assembly have sparked questions and concerns from students, parents, and community patrons. Once again, I want to apologize for the impact of these events on our students.

A letter sent home with all Mount Si High School students on Friday, February 1,2008 from Superintendent Joel Aune is posted on our school website at www.mountsihighschool.com and on the district website at www.svsd410.org. The purpose of the letter today is to provide for you an update on these matters and communicate our next steps.

Concerns regarding the actions of a few staff as well as questions pertaining to administrative oversight of the assembly planning have emerged. A thorough review of these concerns and questions has been completed. First, appropriate action was taken with staff and school administration to address behavior, oversight, supervision, communication, and decision-making concerns. Please note that personnel matters are confidential and will not be discussed.

Second, the following plan is being developed to improve our practices, enhance our skills, and strengthen our school as we turn our attention to the future. It is our intent to learn from this event and use those learnings to strengthen Mount Si High School.

• Staff development activities are being planned to reinforce with staff members their responsibilities to uphold Mount Si High School’s mission to help students:
  • identify and realize their academic and personal potential;
  • respect individual differences;
  • develop skills and motivation for life-long learning;
  • be knowledgeable, active and responsible citizens.

    In bringing staff together around our common goals and purpose, we will work to reunite following what has been a divisive time for many.

    • We are in the planning stages of creating a task force comprised of teachers, students and parents. This task force will review guidelines and make suggestions for the teaching of controversial subjects. This committee will convene in early spring.

    • We are reviewing and revising our procedures around special programs and assemblies at the high school. The intent is to define and/or clarify approval processes, expectations for behavior, communication guidelines, and opportunities for teaching and learning prior to and following a special program or assembly.

    • Lessons for students will continue around tolerance and respect for varying opinions, beliefs, and backgrounds, while we maintain a safe environment for learning. Tolerance and respect will continue to be the foundation of our school’s celebration called “Day of Respect.” This event has been a positive focus for Mount Si High School students over the past seven years and provides an opportunity to honor cultural diversity and the freedoms of speech and thought that our society enjoys.

    Finally, on behalf of all of us at Mount Si High School, we want to re-emphasize that we remain committed to offering all students an education that is stimulating and challenging, in a nurturing environment. We value the partnership between parents, students, teachers and community members that is vital to effective teaching and learning of our students. We are honored to be entrusted with the education of your children and continue to take very seriously this enormous responsibility and privilege.

    Thank you for your many emails, letters, and phone calls that have helped us learn from this event, and for your support to help us remain focused on your child’s education.


    Randy W. Taylor

    Related Story - Seattle Times

    A parent of MSHS students and believer in education said...

    From the Antioch Bible Church wesite and Mr. Hutcherson. I remain at a loss as to just what is hoped for here. The teacher acted accordingly to the situation in which whe found her self and thank goodness for that. I can not abide half truthes from my children nor should the school demand it of students or teachers,

    WE need to find a way forward for together...

    Thursday, 07 February 2008

    Dear Prayer Warrior,

    Please get the knee pads on again, for another school board meeting tomorrow, dealing with the issue at my daughter's high school. Pray for my wife, Pat who will be speaking. And I will need prayer to keep silent, and to keep my cool, should comments be made against her.

    I will be having a press conference later according to the results of the meeting, and of course, will keep you informed.

    Pastor Hutch

    Anonymous said...

    As a grandmother of a Mt Si Student I would like to know why this day of silence is so important to the school. It seems to me that it causes many more problems than it does helping people gay or strait. I don't have to run anyplace declaring my sexual orintation and I can't figure out why the kids want to single themselves out in such a militant way. I can't figure out why there isn't a more positive way of bringing people together in mutual respect. The militant way that the teachers act does the same thing, makes the gap wider, whats up? Would you please put a stop to all of this, one of the studen's (very bright and articulate) said have your clubs and activities after school like the other clubs do. I say at least don't make every either join in, or punished my not getting to run down the hall or get out early.
    How many kids do you think will go for the day of silence just because of that, not because of injustice. And that teacher, I say it with toung in cheek, that was booing, He had alot of guts to try to blameshift to Charlie K. saying that he told him this was going to be trouble and them being the first one to cause it. Get real. The people in the community are watching. And the extreem criticism of the school board --way out of line, let alone to accuse Ken Hutchenson of thing that they really don't even know.
    This was an instance of extreem rudeness toward him, his wife and his belief's, the constitution says he can have his too. And by the way I hear that the teacher that was rude is a really good teacher, but why in the world would she be rude to a guest and why would she bring up any agenda besides MLK. And I and my husband had precious Charlie Scott for our teacher in two classes and we loved him even after we were not in school, he would have never put up with last night, not for a minute. Merrily Gere

    Anonymous said...

    Once again we get an empty apology from Mr. Taylor -- this time for "the impact of these events on our students." When is he going to stand up and say he exercised poor judgment by not pulling the plug on this assembly? When is he going to apologize directly to his gay/lesbian and bisexual students, instead of "some students"? Oh, yeah, that's right; he has the district PR person writing this stuff for him . . . too eloquent to be from him, and no punctuation errors either. I hope the next letter Mr. Taylor writes is his resignation letter.

    MtSiParents said...

    Anonymous said...
    As a grandmother of a Mt Si Student I would like to know why this day of silence is so important to the school.

    Because my dear friend, there is a silent darkness in our community.

    This darkness is an evil that pits itself between friends. It is the evil of bigotry.

    However some come to know and exercise bigotry is not relevant. It is the fundamental concept that bigotry cannot be condoned in our schools, regardless of which form it manifests itself in.

    The Day of Silence is an annual event held to bring attention to anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools. Students and teachers nationwide will observe the day in silence to echo the silence that LGBT and ally students face every day. The Day of Silence is one of the largest student-led actions in the country.

    This type of action is what Dr. King would have supported in the peaceful advocacy of human rights. This kind of activity should be applauded, not suppressed. Why would anyone want to suppress the ongoing struggle for human rights?

    Anonymous said...

    So isn't it about time that we have heard enough from Mr. Taylor. Does anyone even believe this guy anymore? I wouldn't be surprised if he is eating tea and crumpets with Hutcherson right now. He needs to apologize to students and staff for his actions, not the actions of a speaker who shouldn't have been at the assembly in the first place. So Taylor, try having more open ideals and maybe try to stop lying as well, that might help you in your career.