Letter: Washington parents help school boards take back their authority at the local level


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

Sally Snyder
Sally Snyder

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.

Sally Snyder
Vancouver

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.

Sincerely,

Parents of Vancouver Public School

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Scott Hooper
Scott Hooper
6 months ago

Boy, I couldn’t agree more about the primacy of parents in our children’s lives.

But what this is missing–what they always seem to miss–is that a vast majority of parents supported reasonable and appropriate safety measures during the pandemic, because after our children, the entire community around us are very much our concern.

I too have complaints about our schools. I hate the sort of unhealthy lunches they serve, for e.g. But it isn’t the school’s job to satisfy me or align with my personal views, but rather to look out for the entire student body and staff.

I have always seen our schools as the center of our communities, the place where our young come together to get educated, get to know each other, and affirm our values. My family has been in North [Clark] County for a long while, and I remind my Son that when times are tough, such as during COVID, we stick together and look out for each other. I told him how my Great Grandmother hosted refuges from the 1902 fire in her house and yard and on her porch just outside Amboy. She didn’t lament the burden of feeding so many people, she just did what was right.

That’s how I see our school boards; time after time they were accosted–as I’m sure you know–by people who did not want to be part of the solution, who felt they were special and did not need to join the community at large. That made me very sad, and I worry what lessons their children will have learned. It seems the party purported to favor family values only values their own family.

Jack Burton
Jack Burton
6 months ago
Reply to  Scott Hooper

That’s the rub. The letter claims that “school governments have a vested interest in the system as a whole, parents have a vested interest in the children.” That is patently, and demonstrably, false. If it read “school governments have a vested interest in ALL children, parents have an interest in their children”, then we hit a little closer to the truth. Teaching history as it happened informs all students, leaving out the parts we don’t like undermines every student. Teaching the reality that racism is real, and effects people in our county today, teaches all students what the real world is and what it can hope to be. Pretending that Critical Race Theory is taught anywhere in Clark County to score political points makes us all dumber. Scott Hooper, you have the patience of Job. To be the voice of reason amongst the echo chamber here is both impressive and commendable. Just know that you have allies here, even if some of us have to remain largely quiet to avoid becoming the monster Nietzche warned us about. I know you get it, the CRT/ivermectin/stop the steal crowd can look it up. Keep fighting the good fight.

Scott Hooper
Scott Hooper
6 months ago
Reply to  Jack Burton

I have deep roots here, and more family than I know. My Gr. Gr. Grandfather founded Amboy.

There is a loud antisocial crowd now since Trump, but I can tell you it is a minority. I have family who’ve fallen into that group, but I know this is not who they are, it is a pathogen as surely as COVID is.

I have the view my Gr. Aunt, a life-long school teacher in Clark County and Grand-daughter of Amboy’s founder had: one of pride, community, and although she was not religious and nor am I, what amounts to ‘traditional’ Christian values of helping neighbors, being unafraid to give when others couldn’t, and bending my own interests for the greater good.

Those values came from the hard times of Pioneer life in Clark County, which nobody lives today. I fear our internet, easy water, power and heat and the rest has made some of us vulnerable to propaganda such as is peddled by FOX.

I blame nobody.

Scott Hooper
Scott Hooper
6 months ago
Reply to  Jack Burton

Oh and, nice to chat with someone else who’s read Nietzche.

Sally Snyder
Sally Snyder
6 months ago
Reply to  Jack Burton

More off topic comments. Whose children are they? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=litOHblfPaA

Scott Hooper
Scott Hooper
6 months ago
Reply to  Sally Snyder

Ick, what a propagandist video. It may make you feel good–or angry–but it’s not going to help you manage the school issues, because it is full of lies, such as that CRT is being taught to our children (it is not).

Do you have a child in a Clark County school? If so, do you know their teachers, the Principle, other staff? Nobody involved in any school my son has attended would claim those people have any agenda other than being the best educators they can be for our kids.

Sure, there are political pushes this way or that–religious nuts wanting to curtail critical thinking and biology, if not teach their views directly, the alt-left wanting to teach adult themes to our youngest–but that’s how “community” works. You don’t get “your” way, and when the community at large refuses to agree with you, it doesn’t diminish your primacy as a parent to your child, it merely means your opinion does not outweigh everybody else’s.

Take the masks. What a trivial thing to do to save lives. Nearly everybody agreed, but a handful of people who are used to getting their way were told by radical right politicians to turn it into a political issue–ignoring all mores of community and neighborliness–and then a [fake] constitutional one, and on, and on.

It’s almost like we have spies with no soul who’ve infiltrated our communities and just want to break things, ruin our cohesiveness, and make us nothing more than weak and disparate individuals.

As with masks, people are free to stay out of public places.
Vaccines, free to not hold a job that requires it.
Schools, free to take your child out of public school.
Communities, free to move somewhere where your opinion alone matters.

But… I, like almost everybody else, would rather none of these; we would rather we come together as a community and make good choices, and appropriate sacrifices to further our collective interests.

Sally Snyder
Sally Snyder
6 months ago
Reply to  Scott Hooper
Scott Hooper
Scott Hooper
6 months ago
Reply to  Scott Hooper

Here’s a challenge for all the negative-Nancy’s here: don’t down-vote a post without commenting a challenge, rebuttal or argument for at least one point spoken in the down-voted comment.

I know many read and react purely as an emotional hobby, but if you can muster it, try to engage; it really is the only solution to our disagreements.

Frank Hood
Frank Hood
6 months ago

I can’t find the Parents of Vancouver Public School group on the web. Can someone direct me?

Gary Wilson
Gary Wilson
6 months ago

Thanks Sally for speaking the truth and making a stand! We parents stand with you!

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