Vancouver resident Sally Snyder shared a letter sent by Parents of Vancouver Public School to the members of the Vancouver School Board
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
The letter below and legal documents were delivered to every school board member and superintendent in all Clark County school districts on February 4. As we grow, we will educate ourselves and others in Clark County to restore the rights of parents as the authority over their children’s lives.
Dear Vancouver School Board Members,
Never before in the history of Washington has your job been so difficult. I extend my gratitude for your service. Since the National School Board Association has attempted to weaponize the FBI against concerned parents, I am unfortunately compelled to state this disclaimer: This letter and the enclosed documents are in no way meant to cause you to feel threatened in any way. I hope that you see these documents as an opportunity to receive support.
The enclosed Public Disclosure Requests have been served to all directors of the Vancouver Public School District. Many districts across the state, including Seattle School District and several more throughout King County, will be, or already have been served the same documents over the next 30 days by thousands of parents state-wide who have come together as a unified voice. To ensure that this effort is recognized as a demonstration of support, the Clark County Sheriff has also been given a copy of these documents and informed of our peaceful intent.
We recognize there is a fundamental conflict of interest between school government and parents. School government has a vested interest in the system as a whole, while parents have a vested interest in the children. We have identified that the source of this conflict may stem from the fact that our local school boards have been forced to give away increasingly more decision-making authority to the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) and other state agencies. The Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, has clearly threatened to withhold taxpayer funds that rightfully belong to our school district, based on whether or not we comply with health policies we may or may not agree with. Nowhere in the Revised Code of Washington is power granted to Mr. Reykdal or the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to withhold or bribe with the funds they are tasked to dispense to local districts. Is it possible that if Mr. Reykdal indicates or acts on the threat of withholding funds, this would imply extortion on his part?
We the People founded this country with a structure that was designed to keep the greatest authority at the local level of government, yet our governor and state agencies have made unilateral decisions for the whole population, while ignoring the voices of local school boards and parents. Perhaps we lost sight of that original vision of strong local authority when we let state and federal agencies like WSSDA, OSPI, and the National School Board Association (NSBA), gain enough control to withhold our state funding over matters that should be a personal medical choice for every citizen. A child’s right to an in person public school education being held contingent upon wearing a mask, was, is, and will always be unacceptable and reprehensible. No parent or caregiver should ever be tasked with the arduous directive to allow the School District, WA department of Health, and third parties to gain access to private protected medical information and educational information of their child and consent to a non-elective compulsory COVID-19 test in order to return to school or participate in any extracurricular school activities. All of us share the responsibility of getting ourselves into the dangerous predicament of a few people dictating to the masses. We also share the responsibility of getting ourselves out of this predicament. There is a solution and path forward.
The documents enclosed are our first act of helping you, our local school board, take back your rightful authority to determine how best to represent the parents of this District. Please use these Public Disclosure Requests as an opportunity to educate yourselves and us, so we can better understand the entanglement we find ourselves in with OSPI, WSSDA, and other state agencies who are overstepping their lawful boundaries.
According to RCW 28A.345.020 all Washington state school boards are required to be members of WSSDA. Most other states do not have laws that compel membership. Their school boards still have the authority to choose whether or not they want to take guidance from various state agencies, but not here in Washington.
In RCW 28A.343.100 school board members are again compelled by law, starting in 2022, to take governance training in cultural competency, diversity, equity and inclusion standards. Those words are referring to Critical Race Theory, sexual education for children as young as five years of age, and curriculums that promote transgenderism.
These are just two examples of how our state legislature has taken away your authority to choose what you’re taught and what you will be compelled to promote to our children.
Representative Joel McEntire attempted to introduce a bill in the current legislative session that proposed that local school board membership in WSSDA be optional, rather than mandatory. Making membership optional would return decision-making authority back to the local level and send a clear message to WSSDA that we erroneously let power become too centralized. WSSDA has been treating Washington students and parents as if they belong to one large district rather than respecting the authority of the 295 elected school boards in this state. Unfortunately, Joel McEntire was just recently strong-armed into dropping this bill, under pressure from WSSDA.
We, the parents of Washington finally comprehend how little authority you have left to represent us. It is time we come together to restore your authority and ours.
In addition to providing the information requested in these documents, we ask that the Vancouver Public School District Board do all of the following:
1. Reach out to Representative Joel McEntire to give him your support of the bill that proposed WSSDA membership be optional. Whether it’s this year or next year, that bill must get passed for the future of our children.
2. Strongly urge WSSDA to withdraw membership from the NSBA. Currently almost 20 other states have left the NSBA and Washington parents are very disappointed to see WSSDA’s silence on the matter.
3. Pass a resolution acknowledging and affirming that parents are the primary stakeholders in their children’s future. Several other districts in WA have passed this resolution.
4. Cease any practice of sharing our children’s health information with third parties, including state agencies.
5. Disband Test to Return for children to return to school or participate in any extracurricular school activities.
As we finish the 2021-2022 school year, we envision a harmonious partnership between parents, school district leadership, and legislators to restore the freedom of personal choice over what our teachers and students wear on their faces and put in their bodies, as well as restore authority to the local level of government. However, if these freedoms are ignored by the Vancouver Public School District School Board we may be compelled to take our children out of the public school system by the fall of 2022. As you are well aware, over 55,000 children have been withdrawn from the Washington state public school system over this year, and that number will more than likely triple if mask and testing mandates are upheld, and a Covid vaccine is made a requirement of attendance.
As a body of parents across Washington State, we have heard your collective plea for cooperation and help. You’ve been sincerely telling us your hands are tied by WSSDA and OPSI. We understand you now, so together let’s untie your hands and restore your authority to represent us, the parents of Vancouver Public School District.
Parents of Vancouver Public School