The Newberg school board issue: How did we get here? – Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon 2021-09-28 13:40:02 –

Portland, OregonPortland Tribune) — Newberg has been in the news a lot lately.

The Newberg School District has been a hot topic for months, but its school board has controversial banning “political” symbols from school grounds, such as images of pride and Black Lives Matter. It overturns the decision to make.

To trace back to the roots of the controversy, we need to look back at the May 2021 elections. In this election, voters elected two new members to the board. These new board members — Renee Powell and Trevor DeHart — Conservative Political Action Committee Save Our Schools.. The election moved the board to a conservative majority, with board chairman Dave Brown and vice chairman Brian Shannon already on board.

Controversy arose shortly after the new board members took office. One of the first actions of the board is Controversial topic stringsBlack Lives Matter sign and LGBTQ pride flag ban from school building, review of district attitudes towards anti-racism passed by previous board in 2020, all students passed in December Overturning the affiliation policy. The policy prohibits swastikas and the flag of the South Army from the campus.

The school board is technically nonpartisan, but the politically fueled quarrel is Become a common theme At the school board. Board member Brandy Penner accused board members of “attempting to take over politically” and other members politically agreed that they abused power when Penner chaired the board. He accused him of addressing only the issue.

However, the dispute over whether to allow BLM and pride-related images in schools soon spilled over from the school board to the general public.

Critics oppose board decision

The Newberg City Council warned the school board that the decision had been made. Newberg is an unwelcome place to live.. The board’s actions, written by the city, “did not reflect the character of our community.”Several Newburgh businesses have begun Organizations that oppose the ban, And the locals hung a pride display Show their opposition..

Have a decision Split resident for several weeks And it triggered a rally both in favor of and against the ban. Several Newburgh High School sporting events include criticisms of the Board’s plans.Beaverton School District Students Kneeled in the middle of the national anthem September and Tigard students Raised the flag of Black Lives Matter In solidarity with Black Newberg students.

board Officially banned BLM and pride images from campus in August, And the American Civil Liberties Union Threaten legal action against the district If the ban is not revoked.

This decision has been criticized outside of Newberg. In July Salem’s legislature condemned the decision, House majority leader Barbara Smith Warner, and policies to which all students belong, including legislative blacks, indigenous peoples, and color caucuses, are intended to help prevent students from experiencing discrimination. Said.

“These symbols hurt students and hinder their access and success,” the BIPOC Caucus said in a statement.

Districts that are in conflict with the majority of the board

The controversy over the change also caused a startle between the district staff and the board.

The school board refused to withdraw the policy in August, but held listening sessions with students and community members. Gathered a lot of supporters and opponents.. Some students testified that school pride and BLM-related images made them feel safe at school.I have a dispute It was also felt in the Newberg classroomSince the COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago, students have returned to the first year of full-time face-to-face learning.

The district mayor, Joe Morelock, publicly states that even if the school board pushes for a ban, the school district may not be able to do so.

He added that the district attorney warned that the ban could be illegal under Oregon law and that the district attorney could not enforce an illegal order passed by the board.

In September, Recall efforts have begun for board member Brian Shannon, The person who first proposed a controversial position.

Other complex factors

To make matters worse, the school board and the district face many other controversies related to the school board’s decision.The school board is scrutinizing after hiring a lawyer Without first notifying the public of plans to do so.. Attorney Tyler Smith has been hired by a conservative member of the Board to provide legal advice and has written the official policy language on the ban on political symbols.

Two other racial controversies at Newberg’s school have also been criticized. Newberg high school students participating in the “slave trade” social media groupThere, the student posted a photo of his black classmates and joked about auctioning them as slaves.

A few days after the incident was announced, a special education assistant at Mabel Rush Elementary School in Newberg arrived at the school with a black face to protest the district’s requirement to vaccinate staff with COVID-19. She was fired from her position a week later..

Staff Lauren Peferele appeared on Lars Larson’s radio show, Aimed to dress like the civil rights activist Rosa Parks She felt discriminated against because she refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

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