ASB Cards

Child-exploitation_isanjay.inPrior to the school year 2012/2013, ASB cards cost $20 and I was never forced to purchase one for my children.  In 2012/13, my son brought a notice home that said:

“As a participant in Colville High School sports, you are required to purchase an ASB card from the main office for $20.00. If you have not purchased your card by Friday, April 12th, you will not be allowed to participate in your sport. If you have any questions please see Kelly Carr.”

This notice to students was a violation of the law. The law on ASB cards is very clear:

RCW 28A.325.010

“The board of directors of any common school district may establish and collect a fee from students and nonstudents as a condition to their attendance at any optional noncredit extracurricular event of the district which is of a cultural, social, recreational, or athletic nature: PROVIDED, That in so establishing such fee or fees, the district shall adopt regulations for waiving and reducing such fees in the cases of those students whose families, by reason of their low income, would have difficulty in paying the entire amount of such fees and may likewise waive or reduce such fees for nonstudents of the age of sixty-five or over who, by reason of their low income, would have difficulty in paying the entire amount of such fees”.

Let me accent a few points in this law:

Point 1:

“may establish and collect a fee …  at any optional noncredit extracurricular event”

Point one very simply means that the school CANNOT collect a fee at an event where any students are required to attend for a class that provides a credit.Threatening to kick a student out of a class for not paying a fee is flat out illegal.

– In Colville, sports used to apply for a PE credit.

– If the band is required to attend football games as part of their grade it means that the school cannot legally require people to pay a fee at the gate. They can, however, collect voluntary fees.

Point 2:

PROVIDED, That … the district shall adopt regulations for waiving AND reducing such fees in the cases of those students whose families, by reason of their low income, would have difficulty in paying the entire amount of such fees.

Point two establishes that the school district is required to have a regulation that reduces and waives the fee entirely for low income members of the community.

FinanExploit_health.mo.govThe INTENT of the law is to provide a situation where ALL children can participate in after school activities no matter what their financial situation.

We sent a copy of this law to the school district and we were told they would look into it. Next thing we know, two things happened.

  1. Students could no longer use high school sports as a PE credit.
  2. ASB fees were raised. Below is the chart the school board approved in their June 26, 2013 meeting agenda item 5.12 on BoardDocs http://www.boarddocs.com/wa/colsd/Board.nsf/public):

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Safety Forum for Gun Incident at Fort Colville

Police-badge-_wcyb.comOn February 7, 2013 two fifth grade students planned to carry out a plot to kill classmates at the Fort Colville Elementary school. Luckily, a fourth grade student saw one of these boys with a knife and reported it to an adult averting the disaster. The school district called the police and the parents of the intended victims, but the rest of the school district remained uninformed for at least 4 more hours.

I found that many parents learned about the incident through the noon report on KCRK-FM 92.1. The school district did send out a recorded message on the school messenger system several hours later.

Why didn’t the school inform every parent immediately? My personal theory is because they wanted to make sure they kept the kids in school until they received a full day’s pay for them before they notified the parents. I believe students needed to be in school until 12:30  for the school to be paid a full day.

Were all the people in charge of making the decision to postpone notifying the parents in agreement? The superintendent, all principals and all school board directors. Any principal has the authority to make the decision on their own.

Did our administrators put their budget before the safety of our children? It’s easier to see the totality of this if we

Kitchenfire_flickr.comput it in more simplistic terms. What if your kitchen had a small fire in it at 8 o’clock in the morning, but the babysitter chose not to tell you until you arrived home in the evening? Even if the disaster was averted, you should have been notified. Am I wrong?

Did the school also make an effort to withhold the details from the public? Most of the relevant information we received was from the media – and much of it was days or weeks later. Would you like to hear from the radio station on your lunch hour that there was an incident at your home hours earlier? And then days later, you find out important details about how it started, again from the media? If the situation is wrong for a babysitter and one child, then it is exponentially wrong for a school district with thousands of children. I believe the school district should have been up front and open with us.

What happened after the incident? They had a “Safety Forum” on February 13, 2013 at the Colville High School Auditorium. This would appear to be open, honest and pro-active in their duties for keeping our children safe, but let’s look at the details to find out. Continue reading

Safety Forum Lists Sorted Highest to Lowest Votes

Abstract_A_by_Havocgb_deviantart.com

THIS POST IS INFORMATION PERTAINING TO THE POST TITLED

“SAFETY FORUM FOR GUN INCIDENT AT FORT COLVILLE”

This is a list of votes from the safety forum sorted highest to lowest. My main goal is to provide the raw data so people can come to their own conclusions.

Vote/Listing Number/List Definition

35    9.1       Strengthen character education

30    18.4      No armed teachers

25    7.1       Rachel’s Challenge*

22    9.8        Let school staff who are interested carry a firearm

19    9.2        No armed teachers or volunteers

19    18.1       Metal detectors

17    2.4       Increased mental health

16    8.3       Quicker response to smaller issues to avoid “BIG” ones

16    14.4      Be real with kids about what to look for, what to do, dangers, consequences

13    5.5       Administrators – enforce policies and procedures. Hold families, students and staff/district accountable. 0 tolerance

11    15.5       Rachel’s challenge

Continue reading

Safety Forum Photo’s

THIS POST IS INFORMATION PERTAINING TO THE POST TITLED

“SAFETY FORUM FOR GUN INCIDENT AT FORT COLVILLE”

In order for me to give an honest view point of the Safety Forum held February 13, 2013, I need to show you the charts the community created through a brainstorming session. People listed items they thought were important safety items. After a certain amount of time, the brainstorming session closed and every participant was given several dots to use to place their votes. You can see the dots on the charts.

I am including the photo’s and a listing beneath each one because some of them are difficult to read. Each photo is numbered and named with a word or two from the top of the chart to help with discussion specifics. I have listed the votes for each item on the left and I have numbered each item so that it can also be recognized in a discussion. In some cases I have included two photo’s to help you see the text on the charts.

1 Communication

1 Communication

0      1.1       Communication – website – more info

0      1.2       Reality from kidding “I’ll kill him”

1      1.3       Government agencies already being paid doing security

0      1.4     Law enforcement familiar with all schools floor plans in stevens county

4      1.5     Why were specific kids targeted?

1      1.6     Fort Colville – No open house, no come see the school meet the teachers – no security to enter even the incident

2      1.7     All teachers on same level of communication to students across the district in each school.

1      1.8       Mental/social health concerns Continue reading

How to submit a Public Records Request

Cat on paperwork

Many people hear about others putting in a request for information to the school district, but aren’t aware how easy it is to do. The truth is that because of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) any citizen can obtain records from any  public entity. This is one of the ways that we can maintain control over the people we elect. You can find information on the FOIA here:

http://www.foia.gov/

http://www.atg.wa.gov/Records.aspx#.VEluXldkxzY

How to submit a Request for Public Records:Processing Paperwork_flickr.com

 Usually, a public entity will have the instructions for requesting  information posted where it can be easily found. I was not able to find any information on the Colville web page, but I do know they keep notices posted in all buildings. I know a few different ways to put in a request.

Go down in person to the district office located in the Aster school building, 217 S. Hofstetter Street, Colville. Ask for a Public Records Request form. You can fill it out in the office, or take it home and mail it in.

– Request a Public Records Request form by phone or mail and have it mailed to you. You can then mail it back or submit it in person.

Email in your request. To the best of my knowledge, a Public Records Request should be mailed to the superintendent. The forms on the walls of the high school ask people to mail to Superintendent Michael Cashion, but they have not been updated. I do know that until a policy has been updated, the old policy still applies. So here is Superintendent Pete Lewis’ email address: pete.lewis@colsd.org

MOST IMPORTANTLY

Make sure you receive a hard copy of whatever it is you are requesting. I have often been asked to show up in person to have a conversation about my request, and sometimes I am relentlessly asked, but there is no guarantee that what you are told in a conversation is the truth. The only way to make sure you receive honest information is to get a hard copy, whether it is a denial of your request, written documents or digital copies.

You will also want a hard copy of your conversations because this will help you make sure the organization you are dealing with keeps their word to you. It’s not uncommon for you to ask for one thing and be given something different, though similar. Or another trick is that you ask for multiple items and receive only some. You need to keep track of what you aren’t being provided because that’s usually what they would rather not give you.

With hard copies, you can match what you receive against other information you have. But a conversation has no guarantees. The person you talk to could change their story at a later date or give different information to another individual. Then where will you be? It will be your word against the organization.

The organization sometimes keeps a record of everything they give you, but a conversation can be misrepresented. I once had this problem from a bill collector who put down something completely different than what I said, and then put me in default for breaking my promise. Oh yes! You can ask a bill collector to deal with you in writing, but make sure you send the request in writing to them – and you sometimes have to send it registered because only registered mail is admitted in court.

Trust me, you’ll never regret getting hard copies no matter how difficult it becomes. Continue reading