Prior to the November school board meeting, Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) instituted new public comment protocols that are designed to limit free speech. Their new policy only allows for 20 minutes of public comment on agenda items. If you are a parent that disagrees with something on the agenda, you might not be allowed to speak if the 20-minute clock expires. They don’t want to hear voices of objection. They are elected officials and that makes them know better than the parents they are supposed to represent (sarcasm intended).
This new policy also moved public comments on non-agenda items to the end of the meeting, thinking that they will receive fewer public comments by forcing parents to wait for hours until the meeting is over to say what they want to say. It is in-American to limit free speech like this. If you wish to read their new policy, you can type this URL into your web browser: https://tinyurl.com/5wuwv4z6
The new anti-free speech policy met its first test at this meeting when a group of fifth graders wanted to speak out against the district’s mask policy and they asked for an accommodation to speak early. After all, they are 10 years old and it was a school night. Trustee Esther Valdes-Clayton actually objected to the kids speaking early! Ridiculous!
The kids made some great points about the impact that masks are having on their lives, and made some great points about how mask policies are being applied inconsistently at the different schools. You can view the students’ presentation at this URL: https://tinyurl.com/4m7tb5zs
Earlier this month, a group of people from outside of Coronado held a protest at our high school. They used chalk to write on a school building and on the sidewalk. Their chalk messages were hateful and included a swastika, “F*** Coronado,” “Nazis,” and “Your mom should have swallowed.” The protesters also yelled at CoSA students as the students were leaving campus for the night.
I found it curious that Trustee Whitney Antrim’s husband, Kenan Gultekin, spoke at the school board meeting. He spoke in favor of the protesters and glossed over the messages of hate that they left at the school. No word if Antrim agrees with her husband’s positions. You can watch Gultekin’s comments at this URL: https://tinyurl.com/4edcmxem
The same individuals who protested at the high school also attended the November school board meeting. Despite this group defacing school property with hateful messages, Trustee Valdes-Clayton rolled out the red carpet for the protestors. In her remarks, Valdes-Calyton welcomed the protesters and said it “took a lot of courage“ and said “thank you for coming out [to the meeting].” Valdes-Clayton’s comments can be viewed at this URL: https://tinyurl.com/3vpuct3j
Valdes-Clayton is no longer representing the students and parents of Coronado. She is merely representing her ideology and will say anything and take any position that will lead to more air time on the local news.
The school board is a sad state of affairs and I feel sorry for the parents that have students in our schools. The school board members are not representing them and frankly don’t care about their opinions. The school board members have never had so much power in their lives and that power has gone to their heads.
They forget that they are merely Coronadans, just like the rest of us. When they limit free speech, when they force parents to wait in a meeting for hours before they can address the board, they are showing the community that their power has gone to their heads.
The community is paying attention and it is clear that we need new voices on the school board that realize their top priority is to see that kids get a great education and their role is to look out for the best interests of students and their families, not to push a political agenda.
There are three school board seats up for election next November. Our community is waiting for three new leaders to step forward and put an end to the current leadership at the school board.