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Nearly 1,500 Teachers in Colorado District Call In Sick To Protest Newly Elected Conservative School Board

Schools in Douglas County, Colorado, were shut down on Thursday after nearly 1,500 teachers called in sick to protest the newly elected conservative school board.

The teachers are upset that the school board ended the district’s mask mandate, voted to amend the district’s equity policy, and is asking the superintendent to quit or be fired.

“Four new conservative-leaning board members turned over the board in the November election, pushed into office by a wave of parents and others opposed to masks in school. The board quickly eliminated the mask mandate, voted to change the district’s equity policy, and now appears poised to oust the district’s top leader, according to three members of the board of education,” CPR News reports.

There was also a protest at the school board’s headquarters.

The situation boiled over on Monday after school board members Elizabeth Hanson, David Ray, and Susan Meek said during a Zoom meeting that president Mike Peterson and vice president Christy Williams privately met with district superintendent Corey Wise and told him he could either quit or be fired. They claimed the meeting violated Colorado’s open meetings law.

Wise has been employed by the district for more than 25 years.

In a statement on Tuesday, obtained by CPR, Peterson said that any formal decision regarding the superintendent’s employment status will take place during a public meeting.

“Last week’s conversation was to provide our superintendent with the information needed to participate in an ongoing discussion. I will continue to engage all board directors on this matter,” Peterson said.

The superintendent’s employment status is just the latest issue that the teachers are outraged over.

According to CPR, “Another issue that has angered some parents and school officials is the fear that the new board majority wants to dismantle the district’s equity policy. A new resolution passed by the board last week directs the superintendent to recommend changes to the equity policy that reflect the new principles in the resolution. One of those is that no policy should ‘impose stereotypical beliefs and actions of an identity group onto a student.'”

Last week, 52 principals and 13 central office staff signed a letter asking the board not to change the equity policy.

The board member who drafted the equity policyy amendment, Kaylee Winegar, told CPR that the changes are meant to “get more public input about how the word equity is used in schools,” which she said has led to “shaming and retaliation against teachers, students and staff who express views and opinions that are counter to others’ views and opinions.”

The DCSD Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Friday, February 4 at 5:00 p.m, which you can watch on their YouTube channel.

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