November 17th School Board Meeting

The last school board meeting for former board president Bruce Richards, and looking at revising school board policies.

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Bruce Richards (Central Kitsap School District)

by Adrie Starkenburg , Reporter

This school board meeting marks the last official school board meeting of Bruce Richards, [former] school board president. The board started the meeting off by sharing stories about Richards, and his time as school board president. 

The meeting also covered discussion about both the removal of a LGBTQ + community poster, and the removal of “Gender Queer: A Memoir” from a library in the district. 

Most of the meeting was spent discussing the policy that was neglected to be used in the removal of the book, and many parents and community members spoke during the public comment section of the meeting, sharing their opinions on the removal of the library books. 

Charlene Ocampo, a parent of a student at Olympic High School said, “I am in shock and awe that parents in the community, teachers, and members of the board think that the books that were taken out of the library were appropriate… We will get all of these books out of the libraries, you need to stop being complicit in sexualizing our children.”

Katharine Woods, a parent of a Central Kitsap elementary student, and spouse of a CK school teachers, said, “Two week ago, the district saw a district wide email justifying their process for removing ‘Gender Queer: A Memoir.’ Unfortunately, the district didn’t follow applicable policies… The superintendent has admitted to stakeholders that neither policy was followed.” 

She follows this with a call to action, “I urge this board to take action… [to] publicly acknowledge that policy was not followed in removing this book…[to] use the district’s current policy to review the book without creating a new policy… This district has shown us that they are capable of quick action when it comes to discriminating against the LGBTQ community. I hope this board will show us they can act quickly to undo these errors.” 

Vice President Jeanie Schulz spoke, saying, “It’s been a rarely used policy, but I think we need to be mindful that there are policies in our system that haven’t been updated… But, you know, even as we look at other policies, it’s troubling that the last time that this was revised was in May 2001.”