Intimidation at Community Forum

“Please come together tomorrow, February 11, at 4pm at Lakewood High School,” the email read “to discuss where we are and where we are going. This is not a rally and this is not an organizing meeting. This is simply a chance for us to come together and get some factual information. Please pass this along to others who are concerned.”

The subject line of the email said: “Jeffco – I know we’re all feeling unsure”

Approximately, 150 – 200 parents, community members, principals, teachers, and staff gathered. The first thing you noticed, driving into the parking lot, were the two people standing on the corner photographing license plates.

The information presented was pretty banal. One principal opened the discussion, stating the importance of moving forward as a district and talking a little about the concerns many have about the actions of our new school board. Another principal then read the job description of our elected school board members and from board policy (both can be found on the district website.) There was some talk about what’s happened in Douglas County, a brief viewing of a few segments of the documentary “The Reformers,” and a lot of talk about wanting what’s best for kids.

What did the audience learn? The Jeffco Board of Education is a policy governance board. They have one – and only one – employee, the superintendent. They are meant to set policy, provide guidance and oversight, and to ensure accountability. They are expected to conduct all business, except that relating to private, personnel matters, before the public. Any time three of them meet, whether in person, via email, phone or other means, they are considered to have convened a business meeting.

At one point, a parent stood up and pointed to two women sitting, literally in the shadows, in the back corner of the auditorium. “There are two people sitting in the corner recording this meeting. I would like for them to stand up and say who they are.”

One of them stood up. “I’m recording your secret meeting.”

“I also noticed there were people taking pictures of license plates outside.” The parent continued, then demanded to know the names of the ladies hiding in the shadows. They were not forthcoming.

“This meeting was not secret,” the principal on stage said.

Finally, another parent stood. “I am a stay home mom and I rented this room with my own money so that concerned community could come together and get some factual information.”

As people exited the auditorium at the close of the meeting, there sat twice censured, former school board member Laura Boggs, strategically placed so that every district employee would see her and know she had seen them.

The writing on the wall is clear. Despite the presence of a large number of parents and community members in the auditorium and though the meeting was open to the public, the spin will be that the unions tried to hold a secret meeting.

Then there are the intimidation tactics. Take pictures of license plates, get video, ensure employees see Laura Boggs seeing them. Make employees fearful of potential retribution for publicly disagreeing with this board and perhaps they will keep their mouths shut and do their jobs nice and quietly.  Scare parents and community into silence via thinly veiled threats of possible harassment.

The fact is, there is a lot of uncertainty among district employees right now but they are not the only anxious folk. Parents are afraid of losing their best principals and teachers whether it be job loss or because they apply for jobs elsewhere. They are afraid that decisions made behind closed doors by three, rather than all five, duly elected board members, will have a detrimental effect on their children’s education.  The one thing everyone can agree on?  None of this is healthy for our schools. Ultimately, it is our children who pay the price.

15 thoughts on “Intimidation at Community Forum

  1. Here is to hoping the new school board will kick out the teachers union so that we can have a positive change. Our children deserve better than what the union dictates.

    • We will allow this reply, however, in the future please include facts and examples to back up your assertions. We respect facts and they provide a basis for constructive (if sometimes heated) discussion.

      Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” – John Adams

    • Really. Intimidation is what will best support our kids? Please, piss off all of the qualified teachers, ect, so that they will move to another district and we can get in a bunch of rejects and recent grads that the board can “control”. Why don’t you move to Douglas county or better yet, back to Colorado Springs? Us mountain folk are not going to take this crap!

    • You cannot be serious. Although unions are not the total answer they are not the total problem either. A divided, secret, special interest board is much more damaging.

    • As a former principal I worked with dozens and dozens of excellent teachers, a majority of whom were members of the teachers union. Your children should be so lucky to have some of them as teachers!

  2. Guys we see this type of stuff almost regularly here in the Good Ole South. Please continue to stand strong. This whole situation has made me realize how important it is to vote. Can’t even begin to explain a Community Meeting about Common Core presented by the State of TN to our local community. Rudest(the community) group I’ve ever seen. Stand Strong

  3. Has the media been informed of this? Can we seek media attention?

  4. Next they will be burning books and telling me my grandkids have to pray on the bible every morning before class. Give me a break

  5. Isn’t it ironic that these supporters of the new BOE majority are lightning quick to throw out the “union thug” attack phrase and yet in an open community forum they are the participants in “thug” tactics. The bellicose nature of these individuals is soley designed to antagonize public education professionals to the point where we stoop to their level. Unfortunately for them the veiled threats and belligerent storm-troop tactics with only embolden the resolve of the community, the students, and the teachers of Jefferson County.

  6. Mr Luke, you mean the teachers union that worked with Dr Stevenson and the board and agreed to wage concession during the severe budget cuts a few years ago? Not the villians you would like to portray them as being.

    What is being dismantled by the new board is a collaborative methodology involving all the district stakeholders (including the Citizen’s budget Committee) in thoughtfully compromising to make the best decisions among always difficult choices. What should be recognized as a model for other districts to follow is being destroyed by those who ideologically hate unions and want to dismantle public education. Unfortunately, the only valuable education the new board is offering is the reminder that elections have consequences. Hopefully we can protect the best interests of 85,000 students long enough to correct and apply the lesson of that reminder.

  7. So the balance of power has shifted and now the pro union supporters are out numbered. Conservatives are more concerned with quality and not quantity. They are not going to be persuaded by feel good, politically correct nonsence that is so pervasive in the current system. Wait, watch and see!

    • No, the balance of power has not shifted. NWN+Miller won with less than 20% of the eligible vote – hardly a mandate. Nor are we outnumbered, quite the opposite. They won because they snuck in $250,000 of untraced money. They went at it this way because they knew they could not win if they told people what they truly intended.

      Nor are you truly conservatives. True conservatives are concerned with conserving what we have achieved here at JeffCo, instead of throwing it away to adopt a series of education fads, myths, and trademarked ‘feel good’ illusions. In fact, many of us at JeffCo School Board Watch are conservatives and Republicans.

      Nor will we wait and merely watch. We will defend our kids and their school district. We will confront the veil of illusion the secret money sources have spun…and pierce it.

      WNW+Miller are not acting with transparency, but rather opaqueness. They seek to hide what they want, what they plan, and whenever possible, what they do. They cannot stand the light of public scrutiny, nor their ideas the test of objective measurements. They are like bad magicians on stage, desperately trying to distract us with their right hand so we do notice what they are doing with their left.

      But we do notice! And our advice for you is simple. Open up the process. Be out front with what you want to do, and engage us with honest and open conversation, debate, and compromise. And one more thing –

      Don’t Screw With Our Kids!

  8. What side are you on? Do you realize that the “other side” thinks what they are doing is also best for the schools? We won’t heal and move forward until the destructive polarizing behavior stops. If you want “them” to listen to you, then listen to “them”. Take the high road. Role model constructive, civil adult discourse. We absolutely need to be able to disagree, but without the name calling, intimidation and bullying. What a teachable moment for our kids!

    • Oh, how we wish that could happen! Most of us had some optimistic hopes in the beginning when Witt said that Jefferson County was not Douglas County. But their actions quickly belied their words.

      If you review the videos on the Transparency Jeffo Facebook site, you will quickly see that with only two known exceptions (Williams, at the Jan 16th meeting, voting against Witt & Newkirk over the Deer Creek STEM expansion and to bring back up accepting the CDE grant funding TS Gold), WNW+Miller listen to public comment and to the views of Dahlkemper and Fellman, then ignore them and vote in lockstep to push their agenda. There is never any acceptance of the other sides view point, nor an offer to compromise.

      Dahlkemper and Fellman do listen to them…but they do not listen back. They have the power and they use it. They know that people oppose them, but they are certain that they are right. We have no doubt that when it comes to our opposition they think, “Ah, but they will thank us later.”

      Constructive, civil discourse can only occur when both sides feel that compromise is in the best interest of all concerned. When one side believes that compromise is to be avoided at all cost, then there can be no genuine discussion. Right now, we have not seen a willingness to compromise, but instead see actions and hear words that indicate the opposite. But perhaps we are wrong.

      There are many things that WNW+Miller could do to signal a willingness to compromise:

      1) Allow open Board discussion on Brad Miller’s contract.
      2) Remove the Board’s veto authority over membership on District/Citizen committees, such as the upcoming 1338 Committees, and make sure the opposition has a place.
      3) Invite known opponents to openly participate in the selection process of the new Superintendent.
      4) Openly state in detail their plan for the District (it is obvious they have one).
      5) Invite former school board members to be a part of District committees, discussions, and planning sessions, gaining from their experience.

      The above are just suggestions. Perhaps you could even suggest these and others to the Board at the next General Meeting on March 6th?

      If the WNW+Miller is genuinely willing to listen and come to mutually acceptable compromises, you would hear a collective sigh of relief. But if they do not make the actual efforts (words are cheap), then we will oppose them as strongly as we can. We hope you can understand that.

  9. It is my understanding that Jeffco has associations for teachers, administrators and classified staff. There is no “union”, per the IRS definition.

    Either way, I am a parent and community member and every employee has the right to join a union/association, or not. Why is it the anyone’s business whether employees are members or not? The public does not request the membership lists of police officers, nurses or firefighters. They all fall in the same category as teachers.

    Is this Board against just teachers? Did they have bad experiences as kids or something? Are they waging a war against administrators and classified staff as well?

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