NKDS taxpayers are bankrolling Felisciana Peralta to lecture our teachers about their systemic racism. She pontificates that, "White supremacy is what upholds what we consider the norm. AKA whiteness as the norm. Systemically dominate communities as the norm. What tends to happen, white supremacy is the disease. The symptom is fragility. White people and white fragility and some other levels of fragility… People of systemically nondominated identities feel and are encouraged to leave their best gifts at the door by the system. The outcome of all this is privilege, or a lack of privilege, systemic privilege.”
Executive Director, Equity in Education
Puget Sound Educational Service District
I had a chance to briefly make comments in the North Kitsap School Board meeting last night. It was a disturbing experience. As a full-time Pastor, I do my share of public speaking. I must say, I have never had someone hold up a three-minute timer in my face while I am speaking (thanks superintendent Evans). No big deal. Manners training may need to be mandated next. But things got more dysfunctional and concerning by the minute.
THE FORUM OF EVASION (A.K.A. ZOOM)
The “public” board meeting was conducted remotely in a heavily controlled Zoom format. Community participants we not even shown on the screen. I had no idea how many other community members were participating. Names were not even displayed and all participant video and audio was disable except at the discretion of the board. They unmuted participants at their pleasure and muted participants when the board had heard enough. I personally attend “public” meetings to hear from the leaders but also to hear from my fellow community members. I really couldn’t tell if anyone from the community was participating at all.
The board seems to be ignorant of the community participants a well. It was as if the board was not even in the same meeting (Zoom call) as us commoners. About an hour in, superintendent Laurynn Evans opened the time for public comments and questions. Citizens brought up some serious concerns. Then superintendent Evans simply ended comments and moved on to their next agenda item. There was not so much of an acknowledgment of the issues raised by the citizen participants. People asked important specific questions to the board but no board member even attempted to address the citizen concerns. The lady after me asked one specific question and not one board member even attempted to answer her concern. Is this the new normal?
THE ELEPAHNT IN THE ROOM
I brought up Critical Racist Theory training being currently mandated for our district staff and teachers. That is kind of a serious issue, right? They could have responded some way at least. I brought up concerns about a specific mandated training called “Equity Training” that the district is outsourcing to some company called “Safe School’s Vector Solutions- Equity Training”. Actual human teachers, who I consider trustworthy and wise, are coming to me in real time alarmed by this training that they are enduring this month.
I was the last citizen comment. Evans used some official words to end the comment time and then moved right to the next on the agenda. I thought Critical Racist Theory (politicized race hate) is a pretty hot and divisive topic. Most Americans are at least aware of the issue and have givin it some thought. With the number of “doctors on the board, you would think one of them offered a sentence of insight into my concerns? You have to say something. They could of denied that CRT is being forced on their district staff as we speak. They could of admitted that attempts are being made to mandate Critical Racist Theory in public schools. They could have admitted that there are powers at play beyond their control. The could have given reasons why I am misinterpreting the weird things going on in the district like this mandated staff “Equity Training”? But they said absolutely nothing.
Evans just closed the public comments time and then moves right to “the next agenda item”: Board Reports. Okay???? Was my microphone muted and she didn’t hear a word? I do want to hear reports from the board members but lets hear the board report to first to the community to answer some basic questions. We have a lot parents, teachers and community members who simply care about our kids and the future of our country. I have some shin in the game here myself. I have kids ages 3, 6, 8, 10, and 12. The education of our kids is pretty high on my priority list. Does Dr. Evans have any kids in school? Just curious.
THE SNAKE IN THE GRASS
Read super-intendant Evans’ self-written official bio: “Dr. Evans describes herself as a ‘servant leader’ who wants to make a difference in North Kitsap. Before stepping into the Superintendent role in North Kitsap, Dr. Evans served as the Assistant Head of Schools at Saint Francis Parker School in San Diego, California.”
How I interpret Evans’ self-written flattering bio is that someone who hadn’t made enough disaster of the from California educational system decided to come on up and take control of NK schools. She used to be a local. What did they do to her down there in San Diego between 2014 and 2017? Whatever it was, it seems to have twisted her belief in public accountability and inter-board interactions do not appear to be going smoothly.
Watch a board meeting sometime from the NKSB video archive. Watch the latest meeting from January 24th. Something is not working on that board. I am making my observations as member of a few boards myself, but more so from my perspective as a “Certified ACBC Counselor”. That’s a fancy label that means that I am a reasonably trained pastor who spends a lot of time helping people work through personal conflicts. Sometimes, I will even offer my services a groups in conflict (potentially a school board). The NKS board might need some intervention because the team clearly has some internal relationship issues. My counsel to the board: Work it out guys. Your incongruity may be letting destructive ideologies slip through the cracks. If you miss to mark, the unintended consequences land on OUR kids and OUR teachers.
THE CRITCAL RACIST ISSUE
As a follow up to the official board meeting, I initiated an email dialogue last night with the some of induvial board members. It would have been nice if even one of them had called me or emailed me to even affirm that they had heard my concerns. Credit to District 1 Board Member Rick Eckert. He replied to my follow up email pretty quickly and didn’t discount my concerns. He simply didn’t know of any problems with the “Safe School’s Vector Solutions- Equity Training” or any other “trainings”. He hadn’t personally previewed the content of the training. Maybe he should know? His email response seemed like he was concerned enough to make a few calls a get a copy of the “Equity training” and assess it for himself. I would like to take a look myself. I am paying for this training. I cant see the content and neither can you. Its “password protected”. We can not know what it entails. Apparently, our board members haven’t seen it either. If teachers forced to endure this training are complaining of Critical Racist Theory, identity politics, anti-parental rights rhetoric, or general anti-Americanism, anti-faith, and anti-conservative values, everyone should demand access to securitize and assess this training as a matter of community responsibility. I will give credit to board member Mike Desmond. He did stand up at one point insisting that parents are the ones who define what is “age appropriate”, not the government, for their children. He was speaking about implementing the new comprehensive new SeXXX education mandates. Good job Mike.
THE NEEDED CORRECTIVE
I advised the board that continuing to hold these “public meetings” on Zoom, with pre-registration required, someone’s approval to participate, and then heavy restrictions on community unput imposed procedurally was looking pretty suspicious. They allow three minutes of input per tax paying community participant and no more than ten community participants can speak for the entirety of the meeting. If this is business as usual, I think business as usual facilitates unaccountability and leaves room for personal agendas to be prioritized and push through into policy.
A SHORT HAPPY MOMENT
I was encouraged to hear Rick Eckert, Mike Desmond and Breana Martinez all make suggestions to include parents and the community to help the board think through some the big decisions and battles that they are faced with. True! That is the whole point. We delegate for them to carryout our community educational standards in accordance with our community values. Good job you three. We might be on the same page. I was joyfully optimistic!
A CONSPRICUOUS KILL-JOY
Sadly, those ideas about community and parent involvement seemed to get shot down or glossed over by superintendent Evans with an awkward… passive aggressive… dismal of the ideas or with some robotic appeal to procedure to move on the next topic. If I recall, her answer one time was basically, “We don’t need community input to change their kid’s schools. We have ‘board prerogative’”. I don’t know exactly what big words she used but Evans’ message came across as, “We don’t need the community’s agreement to change their schools, purge their conservative and Christian teachers and staff, or to infest OUR classrooms and OUR kids with Marxist propaganda.” Maybe I am misreading her. Maybe she was having a bad night. She should publicly correct me if I am wrong and prove me wrong by inviting and facilitating so much community involvement that there is no doubt. I am new to this school politics thing. Maybe I just need some educational clarification and correction.
I am really wanting to hear from each of our five board members and for them to clarify whether or not they want the community as a partner. Is allowing public comments in “their” meetings an annoying requirement or are they personally interested in interaction? Eckhart said he was genuinely interested. I sensed that some of the board members do want our input but some others, like Superintendent Evans, seemed to want as little exposure to or input from the public as possible.
I do have a few specific questions for which I would like an answer from each board member. They are pretty simple and specific.
1) Are you personally an advocate of Critical Racist Theory or Marxism?
2) If not, why are you allowing trainings like Safe School’s Vector Solutions - Equity Training to be imposed on our staff and teachers?
3) Have you yet or will you personally review the specific content of this mandated “Equity Training” and will you post the full contents for the community to see as well?
4) What are you doing to fight the onslaught of Critical Racist Theory targeted at our teachers and children by legislators in Olympia?
5) Do you really want community input? Are you going to return to face-to-face fully public board meetings with the community? Are you going to change the insulting time limitations restricting concerned community members from being heard in our school board meetings?
Pastor Greg Griesemer
Proud Poulsbo Parent of Five
360 362 6580
P.S. Lynn, please stop holding up a three-minute timer in peoples’ face while they are speaking. Manners please.