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Students concerned by teacher's exit and school board's response to voicing concerns

I

am a junior at Wellness, Business, & Sports School. Recently, students found out that our teacher, Ryan Slider, wasn't going to have his contract renewed without a valid reason as to why and was threatened to resign.

On April 5, a group of students, parents and teachers attended the school district meeting to bring light to the situation. Many times throughout the meeting, we were silenced and told not to speak of a particular staff member. Even when no names were mentioned, they stopped whoever was talking.

When a teacher read the school policy, (Superintendent) Chuck Ransom said to (Board Chairwoman) Linda Reeves it wasn't the correct policy, so Reeves announced that the policy was changed in January.

A student asked the board why did only one them want to listen, and why do they keep shutting us down.

The board started to move on with the agenda, so we asked why couldn't the people who wanted to speak do that. After a pause, they said, "Well with the interest of our time." As a school board aren't they supposed to have our best interest?

Ryan Slider has been nothing but a good addition to Woodburn. He's been someone to dedicate his time to follow our boys soccer team on the road and capture their journey for the championship, editing and uploading videos that have helped give exposure to sports and athletes. As marketing and business teacher he has gotten us field trips to the number one marketing company in the world, which without him students would have never known about. Through his class we have gotten the opportunity to hear from guest speakers that offer different business ventures and career paths. This is something that has never been done.

Because many students and teachers have been fighting for what we believe in, this has caused many teachers to feel job insecure and fear they'll be the next victim. We don't see the reasoning to justify why he's leaving when we finally have good teachers who are making an impact not only on the kids, but our community as well. This is the fourth Woodburn staff person that it's happened to without a valid reason. Now that it's happened more frequently to several impactful individuals, I can no longer stay silent and watch it continue.

We want change, and we demand change within our school district board and administration.

Gabriela Prescott

Woodburn

I am a sophomore at Wellness, Business & Sports School.

Ever since I have been in school, I have had mostly white teachers and, to be honest, few teachers of color that I can relate to. Last year as a freshman, I was excited when I saw a teacher who was also black. Later on, I found out that my teacher was half-black just like me. I am half-black and half-Mexican and I have always felt like I am too black for the Mexican kids and too Mexican for the black kids. For the very first time I had someone I could relate to other than my sister and that person is Ryan Slider.

Mr. Slider is also the boys varsity basketball coach. He has brought so much good and fun to our school. He has brought so much hope to my peers and me.

Recently we found out that the school district would not be renewing his teaching contract. We understand that some matters are confidential but, from what we understand, there has been a great amount of because Mr. Slider was basically FORCED to resign.

On April 5 a large group of students and some staff members went before the school board to demand an investigation of the process of their renewal system and what led up to Mr. Slider's forced resignation.

Just about every person that went to speak was shut down almost immediately, especially the students. When it came time for the public to speak, students who believe Mr. Slider should stay and continue to influence us in the best way possible were taken as a joke and weren't listened to by most members of the school board. Students were heard and not listened to.

We were under the impression that the school was supposed to have our best interest, but only one member of the school board was willing to listen and not just hear us.

Mr. Sanderson and Mr. Price are two teachers who also went to speak up about the unfairness of the whole process, while knowing that they put their jobs in jeopardy for teaching us to do the right thing. Mr. Sanderson and Mr. Price are two of the very few teachers who have shown me to never stop fighting for what you believe in, and that when you keep getting knocked down, get back up and keep fighting.

Khiana Prescott

Woodburn

Contract Publishing

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