One thing I have learned in dealing with this school district in the last six years is this:
- If they say something, you better get it in writing.
- If they put it in writing, you better read every word of it, because chances are their lawyer wrote it.
- If they make it public, you better get your own lawyer to look at it.
Trust me. I’ve seen this district twist every word of what is written to achieve their own goals, so I am going to point out some very important details.
Take a look at the letter accompanying the “Non-discrimination Task Force” Application LinkHere.
1. THE STATEMENT REFERS TO A “Task Force” NOT A “Committee“.
This is a crucial detail. Keep in mind during the November board meeting “Committee” was referenced 19 times, “Task Force” was referenced Zero times. In fact, this statement even says, “a committee should be formed”.
A task force is organized to deal with a specialized task within a short time period. When the stated task is completed, the task force is disbanded.
A committee is usually appointed for a larger general function, and usually for a longer period of time with broader objectives.
What this means is this task force will only deal with a very specific detail and a narrowly defined goal. Once the task force makes their recommendation, they will be disbanded and cannot be consulted for any future policy or procedure changes – related or not.
2. WHAT IS THE “SPECIFIC TASK”?
According to the letter, “The Task Force will review state and federal law, Office of Civil Rights and Department of Education guidelines, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) material and other relevant information.”
– Note the Task Force will NOT:
- Review public comments already made
- Accept petitions in opposition to the policy
- Seek further public input of any kind
- Consider district correspondence (phone calls, email, or letters)
- Review outside opposing legal references
- Review court challenges and victories to existing laws.
Every one of the above bullets would fall outside the stated “Task”.
– Next, the additional stated task is, “The Task Force will review existing and proposed district policy, as well as the procedures that support these policies, and will offer recommendations to the Board of Directors for potential policy changes and adoption“.
– This Task Force will ONLY be allowed to recommend:
- “POLICY changes”
- For “ADOPTION“
It will NOT be allowed to recommend:
- Changes to any PROCEDURE
- REJECTION of any policy or procedure
Remember the policy was only three sentences while the Procedure was five pages of conflicting, convoluted statements and definitions forcing students of opposite gender to share showers. I think this proves the board wants to pass the policy so they can change the procedure at will and without future community input.
3. WHO WILL BE ON THIS COMMITTEE?
The letter says the Task Force will be comprised of:
- District staff
- Parents/community members.”
– That’s right! Two thirds of the Task Force will be paid employees of the district! This is certainly stacking the deck in their favor which is also a well known “Delphi Technique” You can read about it Here.
4. ANSWER FROM MR. LEWIS:
I recently emailed Mr. Pete Lewis these questions:
- Who will be setting the criteria for selection of applicants to the committee?
- What will the criteria be for selection?
- What will the total number of accepted applicants be to the committee?
This was his response:
I will be setting the criteria for selection of applicants to the task force.
As to criteria for selection and numbers of task force members, I have not made a final determination.
That’s right, after more than three weeks he has no idea how he is going to select the members for the Task Force, but he’s determined to make it a Task Force and not a committee!
5. RE-WRITING HISTORY!!!
I have two points to make on this entry into the proposed meeting minutes of the last November Board meeting here. (Emphasis added)
“4.01 Public Comments
The board took public comment regarding Policy and Procedure 3211, Transgender Students, from a number of citizens. After discussion, it was moved by Director Sumner and seconded by Director Moore to table Policy 3211, Transgender Students with the understanding that Superintendent Lewis will craft a committee to revise Procedure 3211. Motion passed unanimously, 5-0.”
– First, to show what steps the district will take to cut the people out of this discussion – after filling the gymnasium with over 300 upset people and commenting for close to three hours, this is all the District will recognize happened! If these minutes are approved, there will be no written record of the 49 citizens that spoke or any of their comments.
-Second, now they are also claiming that Policy 3211 was tabled with the understanding that Superintendent Lewis will craft a committee to revise Procedure 3211.
Wow really?! Once again, here are the transcripts from the November 2015 meeting – in President Sid Green’s own words when he asked for a second on the motion:
President Green: Ok, we have a motion to table policy 3211. Do I have a second?
As you can see, the Board motioned and voted to table the policy, NOT to form a Committee or a Task Force.
Please also remember that it appears as long as the policy has been tabled, it can be voted on at any time, at any meeting, without even posting it on their agenda in advance of the meeting.
Once again, please show up at the December 16th meeting.
Aster Elementary in Colville
217 Hoffstetter St.
This is going to be a long hard battle, and we will need everyone we can get to help.