I am confused.
Before I explain why, I need to preface this first: I am not going to use direct names at this point, even though they are obvious. Yet, certain circumstances will be respected regardless
I freelance for Yellow Scene Magazine and have an uncommon area code from my phone – 406 – so usually when I call people from an area that uses a different one, I get rejected because they think it is spam.
So, I always text — or preferably email — ahead and will say, “I am Alan, I am from YS, can we talk about [topic].”
I did this recently for the school board elections for the St. Vrain Valley School District. We all know they are running unopposed, but we were hoping to get them on record to still tell us their vision on various topics. Attached is a copy of the actual text I sent to request a few moments to speak.
Someone might say that the point is moot because all candidates are running unopposed, but that is not necessarily true.
I, for one, still want to know what my leaders by default are going to do — or not do — for the children.
Say something outlandish like one believes all kids should use charcoal and rock tablets to write and that would raise many eyebrows. Maybe it would launch a write-in movement for another more qualified — sane — candidate.
But, in this case, this year, we can’t even ascertain any of the candidates’ intentions for the children of the school district because quite frankly, most didn’t feel it important enough to address these five questions with their topics:
Book Bans: What is your stance on banning books in your district and what role should parents play in curriculum decisions?
Early Education & Healthy Meals: Underprivileged families face additional challenges such as lack of affordable preschool and access to healthy meals. Colorado promised free preschool for half of all eligible families but now can only provide access to about 15% of families. Can you expand on what your district does to ensure all students have better access to early education and healthy meal programs?
DEI & Education: What roles do you believe DEI — Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion — as well as teaching about the history of institutional racism should play in educating our youth?
Mental Health: How should we handle the mental health crisis, growing anxiety, in kids we have seen since even before Covid, and exacerbated by that disruption of regular education and the stress of college applications?
Drills & Anxiety: How do you balance preparing for the worst, something like a shooting or a wildfire, while not increasing fear and anxiety among children that it will happen to them?
Now, I will let you all know that only two responded – I will get back to one of them who showed they are way in over their head in a minute – and in fairness there is always that possibility that the text — none gave their emails and even one candidate is almost a ghost in terms of an internet footprint and didn’t provide a shred of contact information — was never received because it was a landline.
Yet, that is also a problem because my phone sends me back a rejection text if it is indeed from a landline.
The two others that provided a number were obviously cell phones. The third? Well, they might be still living with Barney Rubble.
However, it must be noted that James Berthold ultimately did get a hold of someone at YS directly, so we will pull him out from under the bus.
To note, I sent multiple messages asking for a response to an interview request and I got nothing. Sadly, in this day and age, it is hard to push like the good old days. The weak will threaten “Harassment charges,” so I tend to lean toward 2-3 attempts at best.
Then there is the fourth candidate. Wow, what a doozy.
I did get a response: The first asked to email them the questions which we will not do. The answers need to be raw and on the spot. Not even debatable.
I explain that, then get a text a bit later saying, “Can talk in the next little bit here, but will be unavailable after that.”
Now consider this: I have multiple jobs. I have a schedule. Thus, why I asked if we can “schedule” a time.
As I am doing other things, I see I missed a phone call from this “candidate.” I call back and get ignored.
I ask in a text, “unavailable for the next week?”
These are the kind of people who think they are responsible, professional and mature enough to lead YOUR children?
Gee, if you are so busy — this person told me why, but I won’t share since it would be a spoiler — and can’t take 15 minutes to discuss items that concern so many families in your district, maybe the gig isn’t for you?
I mean, what about those lone weekly meetings? What about all those backchannel discussions regarding those naughty kids and teachers? What about all the weekly rig amoral grind of trying to get a school district to function.
Sure, let’s be real, school board members are usually just bean counters and even though they believe themselves to be superior all over the country, the real heavy lifters usually work in the schools – shout out to all our superintendents, principals and especially teachers.
So, I guess, my biggest concern if I was a resident within the St. Vrain School District is, who is going to be installed and what truly makes them qualified?
If you can’t even take 15 minutes to tell the people who will depend on many of your choices where your mind is at, maybe those people should mind you having a say at all?
Considering you couldn’t say a thing.