A Message from the Board of Education leadership
Many residents, parents and friends have reached out to us since the December 12 Board of Education meeting for Greeley-Evans School District 6. During the meeting, several individuals came forward and dropped thousands of sheets of paper on the boardroom floor, declaring that we have pornography in our schools and we are abusing children. These papers turned out to be complaint forms from our Board Policy KEC, Public Concerns/Complaints about Instructional Resources.
The complaints, which our staff are currently organizing and documenting, involve 11 book titles found in a variety of schools. The forms appear to have been pre-filled and copied, and signed by about 180 individuals. The process for handling these complaints is outlined in Policy KEC, which can be found on the District 6 website here: https://go.boarddocs.com/co/wcsd6/Board.nsf/Public?open&id=policies.
Policy KEC outlines how these complaints can be submitted, which obviously does not include delivering piles of paper on the boardroom floor. We have accepted these complaints, and in the last 10 days our staff has devoted more than 120 hours ensuring these concerns will be addressed.
The December 12 Board of Education meeting was repeatedly interrupted by some of those in attendance, who continued to shout, clap, approach the dais and disrupt the meeting. Unfortunately, the Board had to finish its agenda without commenting on the action items, and removed the final item from the agenda, which was an update on our bond projects.
The level of disruption experienced at the last meeting was unacceptable and hindered the Board’s ability to do the job it was elected to perform. Going forward, we will enhance security measures to help keep our boardroom safe for all those who attend our meetings, as well as expect decorum in the meetings so that our work can continue.
We know we are not alone. School boards around the nation are facing such challenges, both regarding books and in boardrooms. There is a national effort to disrupt public education. Still, we as elected officials are committed to the 23,000 students we serve and their families, and we know we must be able to conduct our business, in public, without this level of disruption. It is what you, the voters of Greeley and Evans, elected us to do and we are committed to this service.
We welcome civil and respectful input from our constituents, and we value public participation in our meetings. Hateful rhetoric, obscenities, spreading of lies and rumors, disruptive behavior, intimidation and scare tactics - toward our students, teachers, administrators, board members and community members - has caused our boardroom to feel unsafe and not welcoming. Every person who attends a Board of Education meeting has the right to feel safe and welcome in that space.
We are also deeply committed to our Superintendent, Dr. Deirdre Pilch, her staff, and the thousands of educators and support staff working to serve the children of this community every day. We have made great strides since Dr. Pilch was hired in 2015, and her leadership is valued and respected in this community and throughout the state. The work this district is doing to move student achievement and address student needs is exceptional. We fully support Dr. Pilch, her leadership, her team, and all the staff of District 6.
Thank you to those of you who have stepped up and offered your support to this Board and the staff of District 6. We are going to need each and every one of you as we move forward to serve the children and families of this community.
Michael Mathews, President, Greeley-Evans School District 6 Board of Education
Terri Pappas, Vice President, Greeley-Evans School District 6 Board of Education