Washougal resident Nicole Elliott shares her concerns about what she believes is inconsistent communication from Washougal High School administration
Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com
Students at Washougal High School rallied together with the purpose to exercise their First Amendment Monday (Jan. 31). WHS seems to have been working with the students in coordinating the event that took place during school hours where one student, in particular, took charge with hopes of getting attention from the state. Sheree Clark, the Washougal High School principal, was pleased with the efforts and outcome of Monday’s protest.
What she didn’t know, however, was that the coordinated event with the school would roll over into the next day where students planned to enter their classes as normal but without their masks in protest of statewide mask mandates. The student who led this week’s events stated during Monday’s pre-protest meeting that under no circumstances were students to be disrespectful but would politely decline to wear a mask when asked and continue on with their day. Their hope, however, was that students would be forced to leave the school campus so that recorded absences for that day would gain state attention.
Emails were sent out to parents with regards to the protests both on Monday and for the following day of Feb. 1 giving a very detailed explanation of how Monday’s initial protest would proceed and Tuesday’s rules and expectations as well as consequences for those that did not comply.
Parents at WHS are all too familiar with the mass amounts of emails they receive regarding rules and expectations that revolve around mask mandates and anything else in regards to COVID but what about the communication regarding student safety when it comes to child predators that are hired by the school?
Recently, a girls volleyball coach at Washougal High School was fired after learning that he was having inappropriate conduct with female students to the point that it was clearly conveyed through students that he had been “grooming” some of the girls on the volleyball team. According to some of these students, the volleyball coach recently moved out of Seattle and vaguely stated that the reason he left was due to “parent misunderstandings.’’
Is Washougal High School following through with thorough background checks on the staff they hire? Did they question this coach’s last place of employment and if so, was the question asked of the school as to why he was no longer with them? Did they not see the red flags?
What about the emails to parents with at least a statement in regards to students’ safety concerning this situation? Why have parents not received updated communication surrounding the event along with detailed protocols for staff hires?
Washougal High School is not the only school within the Washougal School District that recently fired a child predator. A separate situation took place where a teacher was inappropriately emailing female students and asking them to follow each other on Snapchat. Students shared that he would bring “only” female students Red Bulls and tell them they could get any guy because of how pretty they were.
WHS and the Washougal School District may have their communication methods on protocols of mask mandates and COVID down to a science but communications regarding the safety of Washougal students when it comes to child predators do not seem to be a priority of practice and parents should be asking, “where is the real safety concern for our students?’’ Mask mandate protocols or child predators who are hired for our schools that can impose physical, emotional, and mental risks to our children.