Parents express frustration over lack of notification of governor’s visit to Hockinson school

Rhys Ruhl, 8th grade student and leader for sustainability at Hockinson Middle School, presented Governor Jay Inslee with a district t-shirt during the visit. Inslee also visited with Hockinson Heights Elementary School students Bear Ricks, Eli Carter, Kevin Brown, Perry Burnham, and Charlie Munson-Young. Photo courtesy Hockinson School District.
Rhys Ruhl, 8th grade student and leader for sustainability at Hockinson Middle School, presented Governor Jay Inslee with a district t-shirt during the visit. Inslee also visited with Hockinson Heights Elementary School students Bear Ricks, Eli Carter, Kevin Brown, Perry Burnham, and Charlie Munson-Young. Photo courtesy Hockinson School District.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee made a stop at the Hockinson School District for a visit to the community center and Hockinson Heights Elementary School

Leah Anaya
For Clark County Today

On Sept. 6, Washington Governor Jay Inslee made a stop at the Hockinson School District (HSD) for a visit to the community center and Hockinson Heights Elementary School. Many parents have reached out to Clark County Today and expressed their displeasure with the lack of communication surrounding the governor’s visit, stating that they want to know who is coming to the school to be around their children.

HSD said in a blog post following the visit that Gov. Inslee was there to “discuss recent commerce-supported energy efficiency projects” in the district. “Energy efficiency grant dollars from the Washington Department of Commerce allowed Hockinson School District to make facilities improvements that lower energy costs while improving comfort and air quality at Hockinson Heights Elementary School, Hockinson Community Ed Center, and the District Office,” the post explained.

One parent, who asked to remain anonymous, provided Clark County Today with an email she sent to the school, which read,” I saw on social media that Jay Inslee visited HHES on Wednesday and while I understand the need to keep his schedule private for security reasons, parents should’ve been notified this was happening for many reasons. No matter the political party, parents should be made aware of who is interacting with our children. I personally don’t want my children near him or any politician, frankly. Please be more transparent about visitors to our school going forward. This is very discouraging and disappointing.”

In a response several days later, Hockinson Middle School Principal Meredith Gannon said, “Thank you for sharing your feedback with me. I have passed your feedback on to our district office team as well. Gubernatorial visits are very rare and I do not anticipate any future visits. That being said, I will be sure to pass along your request to [your students’] teachers that you do not want your children to interact with any politician.”

Another parent said that her social media comment was removed from a post made by HSD and she was unclear as to why. “All I said,” said the parent, who also wished to remain anonymous, was that it was very unsettling that our kids had a ‘visitor’ without informing parents. Why did they have to delete that?”

In an email to Clark County Today, HSD Communication Manager Justine Hanrahan said, “Governor Jay Inslee made a brief visit to the Hockinson Community Ed Center with a short stop at Hockinson Heights Elementary School to view energy efficiency projects at the two sites on September 6. Energy efficiency grant dollars from the Washington Department of Commerce allowed Hockinson School District to make recent facilities improvements that lower energy costs and help to maintain the facilities at HHES and the Community Center/District Office, Hockinson School District’s oldest buildings.

“The purpose of the visit was for Governor Jay Inslee to briefly observe how the district realized energy efficiency with the Department of Commerce grant that it received. This was a low-impact visit to the school and not an all-school notification event …Parents of the five student volunteers, who directly interacted with the governor for about 20 minutes, were aware of the visit in advance.”

Hanrahan did not respond to questions regarding the censorship on social media.

“Not very happy with Hockinson School District and allowing ‘visitors’ without parental consent,” one of the aforementioned anonymous parents stated. “As a parent of littles, I want to be informed of any and everything that involves them.”


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1 Comments

  1. Dave Roberts

    There are a lot of things wrong with this. Firstly the School District shouldn’t be using students in a photo op with a short timer Gov who’s only interest is his next political job. Having the Coms hack trying to dismiss the PARENTS is not OK.

    Reply

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