“Heroes aren’t always the ones who win, she said. They’re the ones who lose, sometimes. But they keep fighting, they keep coming back. They don’t give up. That’s what makes them heroes.”
Every good show has a diverse set of characters. Thursday night’s board meeting was no different. There was an audience of supporting characters, the long standing heroes of Dahlkemper and Fellman, the Villains WNW+M and the amazing young heroes willing to sacrifice their part early in the show. This post is about those young heroes.
The regular board meeting began with Witt’s introduction of public comment. This included a bit of comedic relief as he stated the board will respond to e-mails as well. (Currently we have reports of e-mails going back to August that still have no response.)
Five speakers in we get our first look at one of our young heroes. The young hero approached the podium dressed in a hero’s costume, red pants and a blue jacket with stars. His speech was from the flyer below:
(Point 1 demands an apology for being called “Union Pawns”. A CORA request was made asking for proof that the union had in anyway influenced the students to protest. The response from the district was that no proof existed.
So why do the students still need to demand an apology? Why is it that Witt will not defend our students from those who called them “punks”? Why is it that Witt can still not be a true leader and admit he was wrong? Of course, as we all know, it takes a big man to apologize….)
Back to our story. As the student’s one minute expires he continues to read to the end. Upon completion he calmly approached the BOE to present them with copies of the flyer when security rushed at him. The guard intercepted our young hero before he was able to present his material, and the young hero walked quietly out of the room with security.
Fast forward through a speaker (as stated early we will be discussing the remaining cast in later posts).
Another student is called to the podium. A young heroine approaches, she states that she is speaking on behalf of the student called. As the student begins her speech security pushes the microphone away.
The valiant young woman begins to leave when our long-standing heroine speaks. Dahlkemper intervenes asking that “a student we serve be allowed to speak.” But our lead villain in the story, Witt, interrupts, speaking over her, unwilling to listen to the student or Dahlkemper. The student returns to the podium in hopes Dahlkemper will prevail.
(Watch from 2:50 to 4:32)
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION TIME – a member of the audience rose to point out that Witt had allowed someone to speak on her behalf when she was sick during a previous board meeting. However, suddenly Witt wanted to follow the rules and continued to say it would not be allowed. Our young heroine quietly leaves the room.
Next up another student speaking on behalf of the name called approaches the podium with his history book in hand. The young hero begins to read when security closes his book and marches him out of the room as the audience applauds his effort.
The scene repeats with another young man. His efforts applauded.
We again fast forward to the next appearance of our Jeffco Students for Change. The hero approaches with textbook in hand, and we begin to hear what the students are trying to say. He reads from the textbook about an American famous for civil disobedience, Malcolm X.
As his allotted one minute scene time expires he continues to read. This time two security officers approach, one prominently displaying his gun in his waistband. Security shuts his textbook and he quietly leaves the scene to audience applause.
Fast forward – as a group of speakers take their seats a student rises from his seat and begins to read from his history book. Witt attempts to take control of the room. As the student is escorted away, another rises. She is escorted out and another rises, meanwhile our villain again attempts to control the room calling speakers to the podium. As the young man reading is escorted away, another heroine rises to read (each were reading about American heroes that participated in civil disobedience).
A WHISTLE BLOWS – The remaining students rise, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. As they do so, they hold pictures of the heroes they have been reading about. As they complete the Pledge they are escorted from the room, handing out copies of the flyer our first young hero read. It would appear all of our young heroes story has come to an end.
Or had it?
Four speakers later we can hear the shouts and pleas of our young heroes off-screen. A member of the security team walks out to attempt to remove them from the show.
As the next speaker is called to the podium a young heroine (who did not participate in the previous actions) approaches. She announces she will be speaking on behalf of the student that is not present and ALL the students that were escorted out. Security pushes the microphone away. Again Heroine Dahlkemper attempts to intervene. Again Witt interrupts.
Fellow-heroine Fellman attempts to comment on following the rules. Perhaps alluding to the fact that Witt and Miller allowed pro-WNW individuals, signed up as so, to use repeat group members to become a group? Or past meetings where people were allowed to speak on behalf of another?). Witt retorts, “We will follow the rules for public comment….”
(when it suits him – read Wendy McCord’s WNW Board Policy Violations, if you doubt this.)
Dahlkemper continues to plead that at the end of public comment this student be allowed to speak, but the young heroine is led away.
The room is now empty of young heroes. But their story is not done.
The heroes gathered on the lawn outside the building following their removal. It was a late evening in November when the sprinklers turned on soaking our young heroes. But our youth were not deterred. They huddled, cold and wet on the lawn, when the sprinklers soaked them again. Why the sprinklers went off cannot be determined. Was it intentional? We hope not. Or was it simply irresponsible of the district to still have the sprinklers running in November.
If you have not engaged the Jeffco Students for Change please do so. Not only are these young heroes willing to sacrifice and take risks, they are exemplary models of community. The group crosses races, genders, socio-economics to come together for a common cause. They are not the faces of a political party. They are young white men that show up in a tie. Young Hispanic men trying to improve education in a struggling school. They are drama students and young women with hair dyed green. These students show us what public school should be: a place for all kids to learn and to be themselves. Jeffco be proud of these young people. They are strong, they are intelligent and they are willing to fight for their beliefs.
“Someone needs to fight,someone needs to sacrifice, someone needs to inspire, someone needs to be a hero.”
― Amit Kalantri
These students have been and are heroes for us. We are the adults here. Is it not time we live up to their example?
Click here for Groups Opposing WNW’s Agenda