This school board meeting was very crowded. There were no empty seats in the room and all of the parking spaces were full. This was due to a combination of proud parents of Oaklawn students and people who came to the meeting to speak or observe.

The planned band trip at spring break has had to be canceled due to new travel advisories about the coronavirus crisis.

Oaklawn students did a presentation on their project to promote acts of kindness and peace.

An unusually large number of citizens had registered to speak in the public communications part of the meeting.

Camden Hargrove, who spoke to the board last week about bullying in the schools returned this week He asked questions about the convolution of the reporting process for bullying, particularly asking for the number of the school policy that was violated, etc. 

Wendy Macdougall spoke to the board asking for an evidence-based plan to repair the bullying situation in the schools. She believes the current policy puts the onus on the students to stop the bullying. "You need to focus training on all these people in power, including the board". 

Sarah Lambert Freeman stated her son has had to drop two classes due to bullying, taking classes at Stout and on-line. "Inclusivity in schools starts with the board, but this board seems unwilling or unable to make those changes".

Kate Beaton of the Wisconsin Conservation Voters spoke to thank the board for adding the clean energy resolution to the agenda for this meeting and to emphasize the severity of problems with climate change.

Clean Energy

A resolution was brought forward by board member Jim Swanson in support of clean energy. A spirited discussion ensued, particularly with the issues of costs for adopting clean energy. Member Styer raised an objection about committing to spending money on this and the general principle of climate change as a new event.  There was a clear division in the board on whether they support the resolution. Board member Freeman suggested adding clean energy and climate change to the strategic plan for the district as part of pillar 5. Supt. Zydowsky felt he was misrepresenting the idea of the plan for change in the strategic plan.

Since some of the board members wanted to make some changes to the resolution draft, it will be changed by a small committee to make some changes after which it will be brought back later.

Student Bill of Rights

Member Freeman wrote a proposed Student Bill of Rights intended to re-cast the bullying policy in the light of positivity rather than punishment. A few possible revisions were brought up by board members, particularly Dan Paulson. Member Burnstad suggested that this is an overstepping of the board, and should not be taken up by the board, but rather within the schools themselves. Member Freeman pointed out that this is one of the areas that by state statute is a responsibility of the board. 

A discussion continued as to whether the policy should include clearer consequences for bullying, and that perhaps this bill of rights should be incorporated into the student handbook. Administrator Zydowsky confirmed that the believes the student handbook is the place that this policy belongs. After a lengthy discussion Administrator Zydowsky will work with WASB and the principals to change the document to be not in conflict with law or the board policy and then it will come back to the board probably by the first April meeting. 

The board discussed their current coronavirus plan.

There was a brief discussion of Project Hope and how the school district could possibly add a second resource officer as part of a drug educational project.

This article has been revised to fix an error in the statement from Sarah Lambert Freeman and to include a direct quote from her.

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Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley



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