Pasco School Board asks for clarifications after hearing policy manual complaints
The complaints were tough ones, forcefully made.
Three Land O'Lakes High School teachers, all of whom stressed that they are U.S. military veterans, told the Pasco School Board late Tuesday that they didn't defend freedoms for this country only to have their rights stripped away by a school district policy manual.
Kenny Blankenship railed against section 3310 (Freedom of Speech in Non-Instructional Settings), which says the expression must be "balanced against the interests of the board." Said Blankenship: "the use of this section is both arbitrary and capricious, and it holds no room for dissent."
Robert Marsh went after section 3112 (Board-Staff Communications), which states that communications from staff to the board should go through the superintendent. He called it a "veiled attempt to chill any effort I might make to dissent." He also attacked section 3232 (Political Activities), suggesting it would ensure no candidates would rise from the rank and file.
Pat Connolly agreed with his colleagues, and then spoke about section 3231 (Outside Activities of Staff), suggesting the rule would inproperly impinge upon his own free time.
Board members noted that these were just the spoken complaints, and that others were flowing in to their e-mail boxes. And they agreed that some changes were in order. Chairman Allen Altman asked the administration to examine each concern and suggest revisions before the final adoption in January.
Connolly thanked the board afterward, saying he was "gladdened" to know they listened. Vice chairwoman Joanne Hurley reminded anyone interested in the policies to be sure to send specific information to the board soon if other concerns remain.