Are the Parents and Students Being Kept out of the Loop?
Is Boise School District Prioritizing One Very Important Constituency (staff) Over its Primary Constituency (Students)?
On Thursday 12/9/21 a video of the presentation that will be the basis for the Monday's board presentation was sent to all district staff. Although a video was not provided, the .pdf file of the presentation was made available to the public when the Agenda was posted on Friday morning 12/10/21 along with the accompanying letter from the hospital administrators. That seems pretty fair and reasonable even though not exactly the same.
So why is there preferential treatment for staff over students and families?
According to District Policy 1126, the top priority is to "keep students as the first priority". Second on that list is to "Maintain a relationship of trust with .... staff, students, parents and the community".
Staff were also provided with the opportunity to submit questions and feedback and, although not all questions will be answered, the district will be creating a staff FAQ document that will be distributed on Monday morning before the board meeting.
To take it one step further, members of the Boise Education Association (BEA) were provided with another form which gives them the opportunity to request when the proposed changes will be implemented (slide 11): January 10 at the start of Spring Semester, March 28 at the beginning of the 4th quarter or to finish out the year with the current plan. Insert Implementation,
Parents and students, did you get a feedback form to fill out?
Did you get to submit a question that, if it was a common question, had a chance of being included in a list of answered FAQs? Do you think that parents will even have access to the staff FAQs in the event families have some of the same questions?
Parents, students and non-union staff: Did you get to vote on when the proposed changes would go into effect? Why are only a select few stakeholders given the opportunity to vote on such an important issue especially when their preference could be even more conservative than the recommendations given by public health officials and hospital administrators? How much weight is given to these votes? We wish we knew....
The e-mail that accompanied the video and link to the district feedback form states "we are committed to ensuring all voices are heard"... really?
What about the voices of students and parents?
And will the district really listen to ALL staff voices, or only the ones that agree with them? We certainly hope all staff are welcome to express themselves (even their criticisms) freely and that those criticisms will be taken seriously. But, considering 70+% teachers and parents who wanted to start the school year with a mask requirement were ignored, it does lead one to be skeptical.
We are excited the district has chosen to take up this issue now instead of waiting until late January (or later) to consider an update to the COVID protocol, but are disheartened yet again that parents and students were not given the same opportunity to provide feedback as staff were. We sincerely hope the district chooses to prioritize STUDENTS by updating the COVID protocol starting at the start of the spring semester Jan 10.
As you likely already know, oral testimony will yet again not be accepted in violation of District Policy 1441. So we have to make our written testimony count. Sign AND SHARE the petition by 10:00AM on Monday 12/13/21 so we can get it submitted before the deadline at noon.
Provide written testimony via the form on the board meeting agenda website by noon on Monday. We have to flood them with input so they know their families want NORMAL school: optional masks, no discrimination or segregation based on vaccine status, all activities and events offered, no quarantine unless symptomatic, etc.
LET THEM HEAR YOUR VOICE!