School board hears citizen concerns about racism and bullying
Oct 30, 2017 08:11PM ● Published by Editor
By Rhonda Silence from WTIP Radio News - Mon. 10/30/2017
School District 166 held its school board meeting at the Old Log School building in Grand Portage on Thursday, Oct. 26.
During the public comment period, Pat Campanaro, a representative of the group “Arrowhead Indivisible,” spoke for about a dozen people in attendance at the meeting—many in attendance held signs saying “End Racial Harassment and Hate Speech” and many were wearing “No Hate” pins.
Campanaro said that the group recognizes that the majority of the student body are not subjected to bullying or discriminatory and racist actions. However, she saidany student who is bullied deserves the immediate protection of the administration and this school board.
The Arrowhead Indivisible statement said the group acknowledges that there have been some internal actions regarding bullying and racism, but called for more accountability, communication and transparency -from both the administration and the school board.
The school board listened silently and when Campanaro finished speaking, moved ahead on the agenda with no response. The members of Arrowhead Indivisible sat quietly listening to the school highlights and routine business, attempting to ask questions several times.
School Board Chair Sissy Lunde reminded them that the school board meeting was not the forum for discussion.
At the end of the meeting, WTIP talked to Lunde, pointing out the school board meeting guidelines, which state that during “Community Comments,” the board and administration can respond immediately whenever possible and can ask questions to gain a thorough understanding of the commenters' concerns.
Lunde reiterated what the school has been saying since the issue of racism and bullying was brought to the public’s attention, that the board needs to respect the rules governing privacy data. And, Lunde said, board members needed time to process the information received before making a reply.
Lunde assured WTIP that the board would follow through on a number of initiatives such as the Minnesota Educator Academy's Anti-Racism Program F.I.R.E. program – FIRE stands for Facing Inequities and Racism in Education.
In other business, the school board
- Selected North Shore Oil & Propane for its supplier for the coming year at a price of $.90 per gallon.
- Accepted the resignation (with regrets) from paraprofessional Jeanne Monson – who has gone to work at Cook County Public Health.
- Heard that the School District’s bus maintenance records passed state inspection perfectly for the 11th year in a row.
- The board postponed a decision on Superintendent Bill Crandall’s contract renewal until the full school board was present. Jeanne Anderson was not at the meeting.
A special meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1 to share information on School District 166’s efforts to combat bullying and racial harassment. The meeting will be in the Jane Mianowski Conference Center at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts (attached to the school).
An additional special meeting will be held at 5:30 the same evening to consider the resignation of West End School Board Member Jeanne Anderson.
At that meeting, the board will also set a time for a dialogue with the Local Indian Education Committee (LIEC) and the Grand Portage community.
You can listen to the full report by following this link to the WTIP website.