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2 asked to leave CCSD board meeting over sex ed comments

Updated September 15, 2023 - 5:24 pm

Two people were asked by police to leave a Clark County School Board meeting Thursday after yelling at trustees who were considering an agenda item about a Sex Education Advisory Committee.

The board voted 6-1 to appoint seven members for a two-year term to a committee required under state law. Trustee Katie Williams opposed the motion.

After public comments, Trustee Lola Brooks said sexual diversity is a fact of life and supported by science.

One woman in the audience shouted, “You shouldn’t sexualize children.” She continued to yell and likened the board to the KGB.

“At what point do you let parents speak? You don’t,” the woman said.

One man was also yelling. Police asked them both to leave.

Board President Evelyn Garcia Morales said there’s a time for public comment and that yelling during a meeting is not tolerated.

A district spokesperson said no citations were issued.

During a public comment period, a handful of people expressed opposition to the existence of the Sex Education Advisory Committee. They also expressed opposition to one specific person who was being appointed, and called for the repeal of the district’s gender diverse policy.

Stephanie Kinsley said the committee shouldn’t exist because she thinks the district is already failing at what it’s doing. Garcia Morales asked multiple times what her comments had to do with the agenda item.

Later in the meeting, Kinsley gave another comment. Her microphone was turned off after she made comments about how children are being ruined and about the future effects on their sex lives.

Some expressed support for Moms for Liberty, a national organization that has expanded into the Las Vegas area. The Southern Poverty Law Center has classified the organization as an extremist group.

No union demonstration

Unlike two school board meetings in August where thousands of educators protested outside, the Clark County Education Association didn’t organize a demonstration Thursday. And there were plenty of empty seats inside the meeting room.

The teachers union — which represents about 18,000 licensed employees — has held protests amid contentious contract negotiations that began in late March.

The district declared an impasse Tuesday after 11 bargaining sessions.

On Wednesday, a district judge issued a preliminary injunction to stop teacher sickouts that have closed eight schools for one day each since Sept. 1, saying she finds that a strike occurred.

The union filed a notice of appeal and an emergency motion for stay with the Nevada Supreme Court. Union officials have denied any involvement in the sickouts.

Trustees didn’t discuss either the impasse or preliminary injunction Thursday, and the topics weren’t on the meeting agenda.

Superintendent Jesus Jara wasn’t at the meeting.

During the first School Board meeting last month, union members packed the room and were chanting and yelling. Trustees left the room three times before considering only some agenda items and then adjourning.

Later that month, three union members were removed by police — at least one in handcuffs — after refusing to leave the meeting. Two received citations for disturbing a public meeting.

During a public comment period, a handful of speakers weighed in on teacher pay and working conditions.

Evelynn McGuffin, a magnet student in an aerospace engineering program who has teachers in her family, urged the board to support teachers.

Most teachers don’t make more than $65,000 per year and that doesn’t keep up with rent, McGuffin said. “It matters to your students.”

Teacher Tiffanie Bemoll gave trustees a synopsis of what she has to do during a contracted day. Teachers work outside their contracted day out of necessity, she said.

She estimated it takes 32 hours to grade one high school assignment for 120 students enrolled in one subject. She teaches three subjects.

“This is why teachers are tired,” she said, adding it’s the part no-one sees and why no-one gets it.

Vicki Kreidel, president of the National Education Association of Southern Nevada, said the beginning of this school year was one of the toughest in her 21 years of teaching.

Morale in the district is “distressingly low” and the impasse in collective bargaining was another gut punch, she said.

Teachers shouldn’t have important information sent to them via email at 5 p.m. on a Friday and should have critical updates sent to them directly instead of hearing about it on the news.

Student discipline

Trustees heard a presentation Thursday about student discipline. The board gets periodic updates about topics in the district’s five-year strategic plan.

Last school year, there were 29,791 suspensions — about 12,000 more than the strategic plan target.

The district had 1,434 discretionary expulsions — about 900 more than its target.

There are also offenses that result in mandatory expulsions, but numbers weren’t included in the presentation.

For suspensions, the district is approaching previous high levels from the 2018-19 school year and exceeded it for discretionary expulsions, Assistant Superintendent Kevin McPartlin said.

The district didn’t meet its targets for any student group for either suspensions or discretionary expulsions.

Ambitious targets were established prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, McPartlin said.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on X.

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