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




Monday, February 4, 2008

School Board Meeting This Week

The Superintendent released this letter on February 1, 2008.

Join us at the next School Board meeting on Thursday February 7th at 7:30 pm
8001 Silva Ave SE,Snoqualmie (map)

Let's find out

  • What the district plans to do to make sure controversial speakers are not invited that may offend students and/or provide a negative role model.

  • What steps the district will take to alleviate distasteful student activities that may offend or make some students feel isolated and unsafe. For example last years 'Adam and Steve' skit.

  • What steps the district will take in providing anti-harrassment training to all faculty and staff?

  • What steps the district will take to make sure students feel safe and un-threatened during the upcoming Day of Silence.

  • What if any action the district intends to take with any of the faculty members involved.

    All students have a federal constitutional right to
    equal protection under the law. This means that
    schools have a duty to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual
    and transgender (LGBT) students from harassment on
    an equal basis with all other students. If school
    officials failed to take action against anti-LGBT
    harassment because they believed that the LGBT students
    should expect to be harassed; or because they
    believed that LGBT students brought the harassment
    upon themselves simply by being openly LGBT; or
    because the school was uneducated about LGBT
    issues and was uncomfortable addressing the
    situation, then the school has failed to provide equal
    protection to the student.
  • 16 comments:

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

    The 2008 'Mount Si Student Handbook' states the following expectations for students. If granting Mr. Hutcherson the podium at a mandatory school-wide assembly does not violate these expectations then I do not know what does.

    HARASSMENT
    To guarantee a physically and emotionally safe, non-threatening school environment, Mount Si has a zero- tolerance policy for harassment and fighting. Zero tolerance means an investigation and consequences according to the recommended sanctions. Students who are persistently annoyed or threatened in any physical or emotional way are encouraged to report it to a teacher, counselor or administrator. Violators of this harassment policy will be subject to immediate discipline.
    The no-harassment policy extends to any form of sexual harassment perpetuated against any individual in the school. No one shall be subjected to harassment because of their sex, sexual orientation, or beliefs. Violators will be subject to immediate discipline.
    Sexual harassment is any form of unwelcome and inappropriate sexually oriented, visual, verbal, or physical conduct directed at a student or adult or which creates a hostile environment. Students who feel they have been harassed or bullied should speak with an administrator or counselor immediately.

    Respectfully,

    A parent of MSHS students and believer in education.

    MSHS parent of 2 said...

    Amen.

    Count me in for Thursday's meeting. Tell every level-headed and pro-equality friend and community member that a fight for civil rights is happening and that if they have any morals whatsoever, to chime in and be there for support.

    call for true tolerance said...

    How can you claim to be level-headed, pro-equality, fighting for civil rights, and having morals, when you want to silence your opposition and force your way of thinking on others? Your hypocrisy is amazing!

    MtSiParents said...

    We have received testimonials to the effect that the MSHS administartion may have IGNORED complaints of physical harrassment by the students during last years day of silence. One testimonial states; "when I told Mr. Taylor I was punched he replied, it's all part of the game isn't it?"

    Lawyers sympathetic with our cause are exploring the possibility of a class action civil lawsuit against the district for discrimination.

    I think I would prefer to give the district the opportunity to fix this before pursuing legal action.

    Anonymous said...

    In response: to call for true tolerance:

    No one is saying that Ken Hutcherson can't have his bigoted views (I wish he'd get some actual Christian morals, but he has every right to be closed minded).

    What this group will not tolerate however, is the school inviting a man who is a spokesperson for intolerance to an assembly that is about equality for all. Hutcherson can do whatever closed-minded thing he wants with his own congregation of sheep. But by inviting him to speak, Mount Si only promoted his popularity and message of hate.

    The teacher who spoke out, simply asked him a question as to how he can hold his head high, speak about equality, and then turn around and deny it to others.

    What Hutcherson represents goes against the incluisive nature of public schools, the lessons of acceptance that are taught in nearly every humanities course, and the responisiblity of the School Districts to support all students.

    Anonymous said...

    As the advisor to GSA, Ms. McCormick should have been communicating more closely with GSA officers. Officers of the GSA club are on record of being aware Hutch was speaking at the assembly and approved of it, with conditions he stay on topic (which he abided by). Certainly mistakes were made at several points along the way, but the GSA advisors need to take some responsibility for not being on the same page with the student leaders of the GSA. If this had happened, Hutch may not have been invited in the first place. Accountability goes both ways.

    MtSiParents said...

    Anonymous said...

    As the advisor to GSA, Ms. McCormick should have been communicating more closely with GSA officers. Officers of the GSA club are on record of being aware Hutch was speaking at the assembly and approved of it, with conditions he stay on topic (which he abided by). Certainly mistakes were made at several points along the way, but the GSA advisors need to take some responsibility for not being on the same page with the student leaders of the GSA. If this had happened, Hutch may not have been invited in the first place. Accountability goes both ways.


    I don't know where you are getting your information, but the president of the GSA posted this right after the event. It is OBVIOUS they DID NOT know he was coming;

    From the PI:

    As a student at Mount Si High School and the president of this school's gay-straight alliance, I would like to say that I am astounded with my principal's actions. I, as well as the rest of the GSA at school, understand that Rev. Ken Hutcherson is entitled to his opinion outside in the community even if I strictly disagree with it. The issue I am having with this only begins with him being declared as a "warrior" for civil rights while trying to make it clear that gays, lesbians, and other sexual orientations do not deserve the same rights. This is ironic and Rev. Hutcherson shouldn't have been an option as a speaker on a day that is meant to represent Dr. King's message that equality for all is a natural right to every human being, even though during his time was primarily focused on race. To make the truth absolutely known, there was a major misunderstanding between the committee that organized the assembly and the GSA. There was back and forth discussion about having Hutch as a speaker and the GSA's final stance on the matter was that we, as a club, "would prefer that Rev. Ken Hutcherson does not speak at the assembly." Soon after this, we were notified that the idea to have him speak had been dropped and that it was going to be run by students entirely. So, as some could imagine, it came as a bit of a shock that he came out to speak. This brings me to my second issue I have with this whole situation: Kit McCormick, very nervously not to mention, spoke out because she wanted the truth to be known about this man's message and how to have him speak on a day like this would be hypocritical. Her comment was not pre-meditated on any level and was not meant to be malicious towards the family, but was only intended to present the truth about Hutcherson's reputation and stance on other civil rights in society. So, Mr. Taylor, I say to you as one of your students: How dare you trade in your integrity as an administrator and as a leader of your staff and school to lessen an issue that shouldn't have been an issue in the first place? I am shocked with the administration's lapse of judgment to O.K. Ken Hutcherson as a speaker and then to not even back up a teacher's stance on something that we thought we had made clear. The GSA thought that we had made our opinion apparent, and for the record, we did not invite him just so we could bash him on his outside opinions. My name is Jackie Ferland, and I am more than willing to tell the full story to anyone who will listen and how the GSA, as well as myself, feels about this new situation. If you have any questions, comments, or SUGGESTIONS for me or the Mount Si High School Gay-Straight Alliance, my e-mail is jackiemferland@gmail.com.



    >>get your FACTS straight!

    Anonymous said...

    Quoted from the PI:
    "There was back and forth discussion about having Hutch as a speaker and the GSA's final stance on the matter was that we, as a club, would prefer that Rev. Ken Hutcherson does not speak at the assembly."

    It was not implied in the previous post that the president of GSA was aware of the guest speaker. Sounds like there is some possibility that there was confusion about the GSA statement ("we prefer Hutch not speak"). While the president of GSA is on record as not knowing Hutch was coming, others in GSA were aware.

    MtSiParents said...

    While the president of GSA is on record as not knowing Hutch was coming, others in GSA were aware.

    I think you are wrong. Be specific.

    MtSiParents said...

    And at this point, the question is moot. The real problem is that Randy Taylor allowed this bigot to speak at all.

    He is not doing his job.

    Anonymous said...

    Many students were aware of who the guest speaker woud be, including some GSA members that were involved in the planning.
    Remember, this was a student organized assembly. I reiterate, there is a possibility that there was confusion about the GSA position as quoted in the PI.

    "There was back and forth discussion about having Hutch as a speaker and the GSA's final stance on the matter was that we, as a club, would prefer that Rev. Ken Hutcherson does not speak at the assembly."

    Adult oversight of the assembly planning process was probably insufficient.

    Mr. Taylor has apologized.

    MtSiParents said...

    Adult oversight of the assembly planning process was probably insufficient.

    Mr. Taylor has apologized.


    Probably insufficient?

    Taylor has yet to apologize for his lack of oversight and good judgment. An apology to Hutcherson does not count.

    Taylor should be disciplined by the school district before the parents force the courts to do it for them.

    MtSiParents said...

    Many students were aware of who the guest speaker woud be, including some GSA members that were involved in the planning.
    Remember, this was a student organized assembly. I reiterate, there is a possibility that there was confusion about the GSA position as quoted in the PI.


    THERE WAS NO CONFUSION.

    I personally spoke to the GSA president and her statement was accurate and non-ambiguous.

    The GSA DID NOT expect Hutcherson to be invited. They were shocked when he showed up, as was McCormick, which further fueled the problem.

    Again, it is moot!

    Hutcherson has spoken before at MSHS with similar outrage from faculty and parents 3 years ago.

    Last year MSHS allowed an anti-Gay skit to go on, 'Adam and Steve' which was very degrading to the LGBT community.

    And again this year, contrary to prior complaints by parents and faculty, and over the objections of the GSA and in lieu of common sense, Taylor allowed Hutcherson to speak yet again.

    MSHS is discriminatory against the LGBT community. If they don't change they're ways, they will face legal action.

    There are quite a few precedents to draw from here.

    We may be going from bad judgement to a concious effort to promote homophobia within the schools.

    Anonymous said...

    If you are thinking about coming to the school board meeting tonight(or even if you are not!), this would be an excellent night to get involved before hand in another great opportunity to suppport our students and staff at Mount Si High School. Valley Voters for education is having a work party at the Mount Si Senior Center in North Bend at 5:00 PM.

    Valley Voters FOR Education (VVFE) is a grassroots, non-profit group of parents and concerned citizens working together to improve our schools here in the Snoqualmie Valley. We help organize and run campaigns for local school bond and levy elections (state law prohibits school districts themselves from campaigning). Our volunteers work hard to make sure voters are registered, and remind them to get out and vote on election dates. VVFE members work to spread the word that a quality school system benefits everyone in our community.

    Volunteers will be working on mailers tonight to heighten awareness around the need for a second high school to alleviate overcrowding at Mount Si.

    For more information about Valley Voters for Education visit http://www.vvfe.org

    Don't just complain, be part of the solution. Everyone is welcome!

    Anonymous said...

    I would be interested in seeing a copy of the list of abuses a former Mt Si student compiled of abuses against gay students. Could someone post that if they have a copy.

    Also, are there people who are willing to go on record and say they verbally objected or did so in writing to the principal about Hutcherson speaking in the past?

    It may have been a student lead assembly but ultimately the principal is responsible for oversight.

    Did the students involved in the Adam and Steve assembly get disciplined?

    I was really impressed with the teachers who spoke out passionately. I am so happy our kids have you as teachers. I think this district does not deserve you though.

    Is the teacher's union going to support the teachers?

    Do we know if the principal will be disciplined at all?

    Anonymous said...

    Responding to Anonymous above . . .
    Did the students involved in the Adam and Steve assembly get disciplined? NO-They were seniors last year, so they've all graduated, but they expected that since their skit crossed the line of appropriateness, that it would be "disqualified" by the judges. Instead, the judges, which included the athletic director on the panel, gave the skit first place.

    I was really impressed with the teachers who spoke out passionately. I am so happy our kids have you as teachers. I think this district does not deserve you though.
    Amen!

    Do we know if the principal will be disciplined at all?

    Since "Personnel matters" are confidential, the public will only know when we read his resignation letter. I just hope that happens before the school bond vote. We can't afford to lose momentum on much needed classroom space.