Molalla school board passes controversial proclamation
Molalla River School District board members held something of a debate over whether they should support a proclamation to name November as "Parents' Partnership in Education Month."
While there was some disagreement because of the political motivations of the group behind the proclamation and the rights of students versus parents, the board ultimately decided to pass the proclamation.
Molalla's Board Chair Linda Eskridge initially presented the proclamation to her fellow board members for consideration, acknowledging that it came from a group called "Parents' Right in Education."
The language of the proclamation states in part, "Whereas, education is comprised of a range of activities by which families and communities teach knowledge and skills, including ethical and behavioral norms and traditions…now, therefore, be it resolved we declare November, Parents' Partnership in Education Month affirming the constitutional right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children."
Board member Jennifer Satter spoke up to note that she took issue with the Parents' Right group and some of the language included in the proclamation.
"I can't support that because the group that is pushing school districts to push this through is kind of a politically-motivated group, and I don't support them," Satter said. "A lot of the language in there is very specific to their cause, when they include the 'ethical and behavioral norms,' that is very specific to language they use that is against LGBTQ and sexual orientations that they don't agree with."
Indeed the Parents' Rights group calls schools "indoctrination centers for students beginning in kindergarten," and claims schools are "attempting to normalize homosexuality, gender fluidity and transgenderism."
Further, the group calls schools "morally toxic" and advocates for parents' rights to know and direct what their children are learning.
The student representative to the Molalla school board, Natalee Litchfield, also expressed dissatisfaction with the language of the proclamation, suggesting that it emphasizes parents' rights and neglects to consider students' rights.
"I think it's super important that students have rights themselves to decide what they want to learn about," Litchfield said. "Students don't have to agree with what their parents teach them. That's kind of the point of being a student: is opening your mind and learning to look at the world with your own perspective…It's not just the parents who should say if they want their child to learn about something."
But the remaining members of the board, who were present at the meeting, were in favor of adopting the November proclamation in Molalla.
"If you just read the language itself, I think there's frankly for me, nothing I couldn't support in here," said board member Craig Loughridge.
Ralph Gierke also expressed his support, saying, "What this seems to say to me is that we recognize the importance of parents. Whether it's a legal parent or a biological parent, it's irrelevant."
The board passed the proclamation with just one nay vote from Satter. Board member Calvin Nunn was not present at the meeting and Litchfield is not a voting member.
Read the full language of the proclamation here.
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