BY LINDA SUTTER
Three School District Areas. Eight people vying for the three positions on the School District Board. Seven of those showed up at the Tea Party Candidate Forum Tuesday night, September 9th. The opening statement, six questions and closing statement gave the audience much to think about in voting for these extremely important positions.
Area 1 Milton Reilley challenging incumbent Don McArthur.
Area 2 Angela Greenough challenging incumbent Lori Cowan.
Area 5 Janet Wortman, Ronnie Sorenson, Jamie Forkner, and Beth Green all vying for one position. Janet Wortman was a no show.
Since I am a neophyte in a lot of the terminology that was utilized by the candidates in trying to make their point, I listened intently as each one was able to add a piece to this incredibly intricate puzzle called education. What I learned from listening to each candidate is the Del Norte County School System is currently substandard. As disheartening as that sounds I believe there is a potential for a major change if the people of Del Norte County will let their voices be heard.
I found each candidate had redeeming qualities and ideas but only three candidates demonstrated that they had leadership qualities, integrity, and backbone. When listening to candidates speak for the most part, speeches are typical, generic, lacking in substance. So you listen to the one who stands out from the rest, and you ask this very simple question. Does the person go along to get along regardless that it may not be the right thing to do?
Case in point; one of the questions asked in tonight’s forum was in regards to Governor Browns Trans-Gender Law that was signed by the Senate. In fact the question asked was, “What is your opinion on this law and how will you implement it?”
This specific question revealed why we as a village suffer from substandard school statistics. When you have substandard points of view that lack substance due to their own ignorance, and these people want to be in charge of educating and making decisions for our youth? Not just no, but Hell to the NO.
Two intelligent responses stood out from the seven that I heard. Angela Greenough, was not out to disobey the current law but to handle the situation at hand in an intelligent non-biased manner that would not cause desegregation within the school community. Ronnie Sorenson, who understands that there is currently a law we must abide. Like it or not the people who oppose this law did not get enough signatures to overturn the law, and we must deal with what has been handed to us, as this is extremely sensitive in nature. Although Don McArthur and Milton Reilley, both respectably intelligent; Milton’s point of view, even though he admittedly stated he didn’t quite understand what transgender meant and was a little confused still demonstrated that he was not saying what he thought people wanted to hear, showed leadership qualities, and a backbone; whereas Don McArthur showed a sense of “safeness” in his response, in other words going along to get along.
The rest of the candidates demonstrated just how uneducated they were on the subject matter of transgender identity and based their uneducated opinions accordingly. There is no place in a school district for such biases that create hostility, hate, and continued bullying for something that is beyond a true transgenders control. With that said, it should be pointed out statistics show only about .3% of the entire U.S. population suffer from this form of identity.
The best thing to do is to wait for the forum to come out on the local channel and view it. While viewing it ask yourself these questions. Do you want to turn the current school statistics around? Or, are you happy with your children coming home stressed out from continued bullying and thinking of suicide instead of looking forward to returning to school? Will the next School Board be inspirational in directing teachers, directing policy and challenging students to succeed in their education?
After making that decision think about the three candidates who really stood out. Who demonstrated an energy to make things happen instead of pretending like everything is ok. The three candidates that speak that kind of energy are Angela Greenough, Ronnie Sorenson and Milton Reilley.
Education, including the School Board, has to become a major focus if we want to turn things around. Of all the council members and board of supervisors only one showed up at the forum; Roger Gitlin.