Beaverton School District's Mea Culpa, and other AWOL "leaders"

Carla Axtman

I've been a Beaverton School District parent since 1995, when my oldest child entered Kindergarten. My children were supported and cared for by many outstanding teachers and coaches. I've worked as a parent leader in their schools and had the opportunity to work with a lot of quality educators. Overall, we've had a very good experience with Beaverton School District.

Five years ago when the principal at Southridge High School canceled the school's theater production of the Laramie Project, a play about the life and death of Mathew Shephard, I was profoundly disappointed. Citing profanity and sexual content, the principal and the District tried to make excuses for canceling the production. But after intense public pressure and debate, the play was allowed to proceed. Beaverton School District came out of the situation with a black eye but I hoped wiser for the experience.

Then a month ago, a student teacher working at Sexton Mountain Elementary School was let go for telling a class of Fifth graders that he likely wouldn't get married because he would "choose to marry a man". Once again Beaverton School District handled the situation in a reprehensible manner. And again, after mounting public pressure, the district was forced to reinstate the student teacher.

Tonight at the Beaverton School District office, Superintendent Jerry Colonna and the Beaverton School Board took public comment on the matter at their official meeting--with a number of community members expressing frustration and anger at the district's inability to learn from their mistakes.

Present at tonight's meeting was Jeana Frazzini of Basic Rights Oregon. Superintendent Colonna made reference to Jeana a number of times as someone who has begun to work with the district to resolve these issues. That's certainly a step in the right direction. Hopefully the contrite speeches by Board members and a reaffirmed District nondiscrimination and diversity policy will actually mean something this time.

Also noted at this meeting is the fact that many of Beaverton's schools aren't actually in the Beaverton city limits. Many, if not most of the schools are situated in unincorporated Washington County. Yet for all the community outrage and frustration, not a single member of the Washington County Commission was present at this meeting tonight. At a time when they could step up and show real leadership on an issue that's important to the community, the Commissioners are AWOL.

Not good. Not good at all.

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    Maybe this blog needs to change it's name to Light Blue Oregon to better reflect the real Oregon. Oregon certainly isn't as blue as we think it is.

    Why do we still give one single bigot[parent] so much power?

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