The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Beka Compton
The Times 

Senate Bill 5044, sports, discussed at July school board meeting

The Dayton School Board heard from a concerned parent about the recently-passed equity, inclusion and anti-racism bill

 


DAYTON—Senate Bill 5044, passed by the Senate in April, was the topic of the public comment period at the July Dayton School Board meeting.

The bill, which reads, “Concerning professional learning, equity, cultural competency, and dismantling institutional racism in the public school system,” requires public school districts to designate one of three professional learning days to focus specifically on equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism training.

The parent, who had approached the board in May, asked if the school board was prepared to state their intentions regarding the implementation of the training, sharing that ‘parents of all races have been screaming their resistance into the microphones,’ and referencing a document from the Washington Policy Center.

Proponents of the bill say that SB 5044 will help ensure that students from all cultural backgrounds feel safe, heard, and understood while at school. Opponents, however, say that the bill teaches students to judge others based on the color of their skin, a fear that was expressed at the school board meeting.

Board chair David Bailey said that the school board has not received the training material.

“Our intention is- we are going to be mandated to do the training, but we are going to pick the training that fits our district best,” Bailey said. “We can’t make plans until we see the documents.”

At a community forum last month, Superintendent Guy Strot discussed changes in disciplinary policies. He clarified at the July 14 meeting that the biggest change to the policy will be communication with changes, stating that communication will be “vastly different” than in the past. He also clarified that the school will be making a clear line between minor and major disciplinary actions. Speed, consistency, and more parental involvement are being improved by the district. Disciplinary policies will be reviewed yearly and amended as needed.

Strot shared that there will be a community forum on August 12, where documents will be available for viewing. The district staff will meet on August 18, prior to the school board meeting, to review the documents as well.

Following the public comment period, Athletic Director Sam Korslund shared that middle school volleyball players had just finished up a summer camp, with 20 student-athletes in attendance. Most of the athletes in attendance were from Dayton, with Korslund sharing that he felt Waitsburg athlete attendance was low due to announcement timing. The high school team did not have a camp due to low enrollment numbers.

Korlsund said that he is considering home-game location changes, trying to iron out emotions caused by a former facilities use agreement that had all gym-sports played in Dayton. He is considering changing the plan to fall sports (volleyball, football) in Waitsburg, winter sports (basketball) in Dayton, and spring sports being split like in previous years.

“The main change from what the combine committee proposed in 2019 is volleyball,” Korslund said. “Football is already in Waitsburg, so what it really comes down to is high school volleyball going to Waitsburg, but middle school volleyball coming to Dayton.”

The changes to the schedules are just a proposal, at this time.

Korslund said that he is also exploring options to host a basketball tournament during the winter season. He said that he needs two more teams to commit to attending.

With the school year quickly approaching, the school board discussed mask-wearing but made no decisions as to if they will require masks, or who will be allowed to attend school without a mask. Vaccination status was discussed, however, board members and Strot all agreed that allowing vaccinated students to attend without a mask may cause more issues than necessary. They are waiting for updated guidance from the state-level before making decisions. Students under the age of 12 will likely be required to be masked.

The school received a bid to install nearly 10,000 feet of cable for the security cameras and chemical sensors, approved earlier this year. The bid included roughly $20,000 for labor and $8,000 in materials.

The board discussed the superintendent's review and approved policy readings before adjourning.

 

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