Marty Heyen, the chairmwoman of the Salem Keizer School District Board expressed sadness over the students volunteering their testimony of examples when they have felt the district’s equity lense is bullshit (that’s my word – all the children and young adults who stood up were incredibly well spoken). Heyen stated that the board doesn’t get involved with behaviors and disciplinary actions – that the board is meant to set direction for the district and try to lead by example.
Here’s the example that Heyen set for the students who testified at the last school board meeting – she said that they need to report the problems immediately to their principal and that, “reporting it a year or more later doesn’t help resolve the issue.
The time has come for victims to stop being condemned for not reporting when it happened. There are many reasons why people wait, and they are almost alwasy met with blame and counter-accusations by the same people they hope will help them.
I’m proud of the students and parents who stood up at the meeting and testified. I wasn’t there, but I did watch the video of the meeting. Unfortunately – some of those elected on our school board will have responses like Heyen’s – where they blame and then counter accuse. It is none of these children’s fault and the actions they took in reporting are not up for judgement.
These problems are the school district’s fault and thus it is the school board’s fault. Lead by example – an example of community service with a passion for making our community better for everyone. Pay special attention to the problems you don’t quite understand – and then learn from them. Work especially hard to solve problems that are experienced by others who are different from you.
Thank you to the people who testified. They are brave in coming forward and for setting a good example for their peers – so that others may become brave enough to come forward (on their own timeline, not anyone else’s).