School Board Election Controversy

BSD+School+Board+Candidates

BSD School Board Candidates

Dylan Brehm, Guest News Reporter

May 19th, post-election update:

Zone 1 elected: (Incumbent) Susan Greenburg

Zone 2 elected: Karen Perez-Da Silva

Zone 4 elected: Sunita Garg

Zone 5 elected: Ugonna Enyinnaya

May 13th:

While typically the School Board Elections pass by without much controversy, as with many “normally normal” things this year, controversy abounds. There are 4 seats open for election. Each one has two contestants, with two of the seats being contested by Incumbents (The people who have been on the seat) and two of them being totally open. 

The controversy comes as partisan politics have caused a massive divide in the candidates left on the ballot. 

While typically the issues remain local and centralized around Beaverton, the issues that each candidate believes are important are issues that are nationally important. The main issues that drew controversy are Returning to School, Critical Race Theory, and Sexuality Education. Here is where each candidate stands on these issues using quotes from Beaverton Valley Times Q&A and the 2021 BSD School Board Candidate Forum:

Zone # and Candidate Returning to School Critical Race Theory and Equity Comprehensive Sexuality Education
(1) Susan Greenberg “We must ensure proper safety protocols are adhered to in order to keep our students, teachers, and classified staff healthy and prevent further disruptions in learning. We must also provide our children and teachers the resources they need to overcome any learning loss or setbacks caused by this pandemic.” “I believe in diversity and equity in all our schools and our curriculum … working to include history that has not been included in the past. Including talking more about how our black and diverse population has not been treated equally.” “I feel it’s important to that our children have a broad education including comprehensive sex education.”
(1) Jeanette Schade “The board should focus on making sure students safely get back into the classroom for a full five days where academic, mental, social, and emotional health thrive.” “Critical Race Theory is … racist. It claims to eradicate institutional racism, but it indeed is reinstating it by asking students and staff to question an immutable quality like skin color.” “Comprehensive Sexuality Education is a very complex curriculum …  because it teaches way more than just the body mechanics and how the body works on a biological level. When we start talking about anal sex or masturbation or to question their identity on the basis of gender, those things are not age appropriate for our children to learn at the elementary or middle school levels.”
(2)Karen Peréz-Da Silva “The board should concentrate on budgets that ensure learning spaces have the equipment and materials to be COVID-safe, prioritize re-engagement strategies that support the whole student” “I strongly support the Every Student Belongs Policy that provides for safe, hate-free spaces for our students. I also support Tribal History Shared History, holocaust, and ethnic studies curriculum.” “The state of Oregon has provided age-appropriate state health standards. They teach about inclusiveness and for each student to feel safe about their own body. They teach safety and safety in their relationships. Parents should have the choice to opt their students out, and do … Students are also able to opt-out.”
(2) Fuhua Xu “First thing I will do is to ask schools to open full time, five days safely and securely.” “We need every student from different backgrounds to receive all outstanding education.” “Everyone needs to get this education because it is important for life, however all these things should be relative to the age. At some age students are not mature enough to understand what they are learning and will misunderstand.”
(4) Saralyn Dougall “I believe all schools need to be open full time safely and securely.” “I am committed to elevating all students because all students matter and should be treated as individuals who are challenged, encouraged and nurtured. Together we will put all children first.” “Oregon state sets standards, but the city of Beaverton has a great amount of control over the curriculum. What we’re saying is that we want the material to be age appropriate. I’m not especially fond that my 11 year olds are being taught about anal sex.” 
(4) Sunita Garg “The safety of teachers and students should be the foremost focus. Beaverton School District follows the guidelines provided in RSSL — Ready Schools, Safe Learners — based on CDC guidance.” “My only agenda is that students ask good questions, be kind, compassionate, and respectful to themselves and others in the society. “The alarming fact that hits me, is that 1 in 9 girls before the age of 18 will be sexually abused. 34% of that is under the age of 12. If you do not want your students to learn that, opt out, but do not take that away from the students who want or need to learn this.”
(5) Ugonna Enyinnaya “My number one priority is to continue to keep students safe and to help them catch up with their learning … I am focussed on finding ways to help students re-engage after the pandemic.” “I’m also going to prioritize strategies that will grant equitable access to resources for students from historically underserved communities and work to correct racial injustices in our schools, beginning with hiring a diverse workforce and reforming harsh disciplinary policies that have disproportionately impacted minority students.” In favor of Comprehensive Sexuality Education
(5) LeeAnn Larsen “There should be an investment in academic interventions and supports to help students that demonstrate a learning gap and finally, a focus to ensure mental health teams are in place to support all learners.” “I’m proud of my work which includes promoting anti-racist and anti-bias policies to ensure that all students and staff are able to thrive and to feel safe at school.” In favor of Comprehensive Sexuality Education

 

Both Janette Schade and Saralyn Dougall have received the most backlash from people calling their beliefs dangerous and even xenophobic. However, there have been political issues on both sides. 

According to The Newberg Graphic and Board member Ron Mock “‘The local Republicans are running openly organized slates in both of our nonpartisan local elections.’” This is an issue because it sets the precedent that in the future these school board elections will become based on the merits of national politics and not the local issues and the students who would be affected. Although perhaps less obvious, on the Democratic side, Woodruff (an incumbent who was on the board from 2017-2019) stepped down so that he would not split the vote with another Democratic-leaning candidate.

Remember to vote! Educate yourself with the candidates and their values and prepare your ballots to get in by the 18th of May.

 

https://pamplinmedia.com/bvt/15-news/502882-402956-q-and-a-beaverton-school-board-candidates

https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/beaverton-school-district-board-elections-jeanette-schade/283-f520280e-d22d-4563-ab71-1f3ae7c15dcb

https://pamplinmedia.com/nbg/142-news/505958-405049-school-board-race-targeted-by-outside-political-organizations-pwoff

https://www.beaverton.k12.or.us/about-us/school-board/school-board-candidates-may-2021

https://www.koin.com/news/politics/beaverton-school-board-candidate-pans-critical-race-theory/