For the record: Tam, Mooney, Jensen respond to recall
A little over a week ago, three school board trustees who voted in favor of elementary school lessons to prevent anti-gay bullying were informed that a group of local residents would be launching a recall campaign against them. One of the next steps in the process was for them to respond to the notice. For the record, I have posted the responses below.
Incidentally, the folks at the Capitol Resource Institute – one of the two Sacramento-based groups that have been fighting the lessons – have put out an appeal for donations to fund the recall. Excerpt and link after the responses.
Recall response from Nielsen Tam:
As a member of the Alameda Unified School District School Board, it is my responsibility to think about the good of our children, teachers and parents. Providing a safe inclusive school environment is a top priority.
There is a critical inaccuracy in this petition for recall. The School District already had in place a program to address racial and ethnicity, gender, disability, nationality and religion. After a number of community meetings to hear parent concerns for and against this curriculum, I voted to strengthen the current school district’s anti-bullying curriculum by adding an additional 45 minute lesson at the recommendation of staff. A majority of parents and the community were in favor of expanding anti-bullying messages. Those who are opposed to the recommendation are spearheading this recall of myself and two others who also voted for the additional lesson. I support teachers in providing tools to educate our children so that discrimination on any level is unacceptable. I hope you will show support by rejecting this petition.
From Ron Mooney:
Simply put, proponents of the recall have their facts wrong. Based on feedback I received, my vote represents the will of the majority of our families and residents – not the opinion of a small, vocal group. I voted to make sure our schools are inclusive and safe for all children and families. I voted to support our teachers and administration, and to provide the tools they need to educate our youth. Our action will strengthen the school’s existing anti-bullying curriculum, which includes race and ethnicity, gender, disability, nationality and religion. We approved this update to the curriculum with just one additional 45-minute lesson for the entire school year. I will continue to support the best education possible and safe schools for all and hope you also will demonstrate your support by rejecting this petition.
From Tracy Jensen:
“All students deserve safe schools”. That is the stated goal of this recall campaign. In Alameda we measure how safe our schools are by asking the students. In the last survey more than eleven percent of students in 7th, 9th, and 11th grade said that they had been bullied in the prior year because of their “actual or perceived” sexual orientation. Because of the bullying those students reported that they do not feel safe at school. Like students, teachers in Alameda say that homophobic bullying is a problem. Sixty-two percent of Alameda teachers asked the School Board to give them curriculum to teach students to respect others. The School Board voted to make schools safer by adopting an anti-bullying curriculum that was approved by the California Department of Education. These lessons will teach elementary students to respect others by focusing on the importance of the family unit and without referring to sexual activity. If the goal of the recall is actually to ensure that “schools provide a safe campus for all students” then this recall is unnecessary because the anti-bullying curriculum adopted by the School Board on May 26, 2009 supports that objective.
From the Capitol Resource Institute website:
This week Alameda parents served their arrogant school board members with recall papers. In doing so, these brave parents are taking a bold stand for all parents who simply desire to protect their children from sexual indoctrination at school. Because Alameda parents are taking this stand for us all, they will face fierce opposition and ridicule on behalf of us all. They desperately need our help. Here’s how you can help: The cost of filing the recall papers and waging a campaign to oust the school board members will be very expensive. On behalf of your family, please send a donation to Capitol Resource Family Impact so we can help pay for these costs. CRFI will play an instrumental role in assisting Alameda parents with their campaign, including financial aid. Because this is a political battle, donations to CRFI are not tax-deductible. However, to make a tax-deducible donation, send donations to Capitol Resource Institute, who will help parents with education efforts. Remember, Alameda is the frontline in this battle and every dollar you send will help us keep this same fight from coming to your district. And if this battle does come to your area, wouldn’t you want other families to help you?