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Molalla Mayor Scott Keyser calls for OC Superintendent Larry Didway's resignation or termination

PMG PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - A man with a rifle stands watch during a flag wave rally organized along Higway 213 in Oregon City on Friday, May 21, one of the two flag wave events Larry Didway referenced in his letter.

On May 29, citizens from around the Willamette Valley gathered to peacefully show their love and support for our country, and organized and conducted a flag wave event at the intersection of Highway 213 and Beavercreek Road in Oregon City.

The event was carried out in the most peaceful, positive and respectful way, and was attended by people from diverse ethnicities, cultures and age groups.

On or about May 31, Oregon City School District Superintendent Larry Didway publicly posted the following statement on social media:

"We are angered by and strongly oppose the display of white supremacy groups in Oregon City on the last two Friday afternoons. We want to acknowledge and reassure our support to community members, students and staff of color who experience the psychological, emotional, mental and physical harm that acts of this nature cause. Oregon City School District does not tolerate or approve of these acts of intimidation. Please know that we can provide direct support to families, students and staff that feel targeted or intimidated by the presence and demonstration of these groups. Please contact your school counselor for support and resources."

This falsified statement by the district superintendent (and newly hired leader of Clackamas County ESD) is outrageous. For a person of leadership in the school system to publicly and arbitrarily accuse a diverse group of citizens (from his own community) of being white supremacists is not only an insult to the participants, but unbecoming of his own office and the school district as well.

Had Superintendent Didway attended the event, he would have witnessed for himself the attendance and participation of Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Asian, and LGBTQ people groups, as well as school board members and an elected city mayor.

The intent of this gathering was for all attendees, regardless of cultural or racial differences, to respectfully practice and celebrate together the freedoms, First Amendment rights included, granted to us as citizens of our great nation.

Mr. Didway's actions, based on his blatantly hateful and ignorant misunderstanding, as well as his current investigation by the Oregon Department of Education and the state Teacher Standards and Practices Commission on another matter, have led me to call for the following;

1. Immediate resignation or termination of Superintendent Didway of his position with the Oregon City School District.

2. Immediate rescinding of Mr. Didway's newly awarded three-year contract to become the leader of the Clackamas Education Service District, and his permanent disqualification to apply for this position in the future.

By his recent actions, Superintendent Didway has demonstrated exactly the type and level of disrespect of our flag, suppression of freedom of speech, and spreading of misinformation that the participants of the flag-waving event respectfully and lawfully oppose. Do we really want this person to oversee our children's education?

If you agree that we can and should do better, please email all Clackamas County Commissioners, all members of the Clackamas County ESD Board, and all members of the Oregon City School District Board and let them know what you think. Together, we can protect the integrity of the educational system in Clackamas County.

Scott Keyser

Molalla mayor


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