A Pioneer woman on Monday accused the North Central School Board and school administrators of not doing enough to censor political expression on school grounds.
During the public comment portion of the board’s regular meeting, Brittany White gave numerous examples of incidents she had heard about third-hand that, she said, point to a system of “indoctrination” of North Central students.
Among the incidents: a message written in sidewalk chalk outside the school, a teacher wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words “Rights” in rainbow colors, a worksheet on which students could indicate their preferred pronouns, an assignment that challenged students to weigh the benefits of freedom versus security and a lesson that made reference to “white Americans” having coined the phrase “Custer’s Last Stand” in reference to the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn.
White and her husband, Chuck White, who are white, had approached school administrators previously about ensuring the district’s curriculum is devoid of the divisive critical race theory, a movement to critically examine U.S. law as it intersects with issues of race, which experts maintain is generally only taught at the college level.
Brittany White sought an apology from the board while accusing them of neglecting to comprehensively overview teachers’ materials, sit in on in-class video screenings and for “listening to the educated, instead of parents.”
Although the board’s meeting agenda allows for a maximum of 10 minutes of public participation, that policy was not enforced and Brittany White spoke for more than 18 minutes while Chuck White spoke for another seven minutes.
Superintendent Bill Hanak addressed the issue regarding the “Rights” shirt, saying no one reported any issue to him directly, although Grades 7-12 Principal Marcia Rozevink said she had spoken to the teacher about the issue.
Livengood urged the Whites and any other concerned parents or district residents to bring any specific issues to school administrators quickly to have them addressed. Officials also pointed out the committee does review school curriculum and recommends it to the board for passage.
After lambasting the board, the Whites left the meeting while the board listened to reports from administrators and handled other business.
In other action:
• District officials recognized student Raina Cox for her painting for school resource officer Jim Snively’s office.
• Treasurer Eric Smeltzer explained that supply chain shortages are causing higher costs for some items that must be included in district’s school menu, particularly chicken.
• Officials commended the golf team on a successful season.
• The board approved the purchase of a John Deere compact utility tractor (with member Leigh Boothman casting the lone vote against the purchase), and a John Deere TerrainCut front mower with accessories (with Boothman and Livengood both voting against it). Hanak said he is developing a new position that will handle both custodial and bus driver duties.
• The board approved the employment of: Mary Smith, tutor for learning loss; Michelle Oxender, full-time substitute; Kaitlyn Creek and Tammy Swank, cafeteria substitutes. Supplemental contract were approved for Rob Taylor, junior high quiz bowl; and Steven Williams, seventh grade girls basketball coach.
• Met in closed, executive session to discuss employment of personnel.