Letter: It’s time for a change on Paso Robles School Board
To the editor,
It’s time for a change when a Paso Robles High School student asks, “Why does the school board hate us so much”?
This question was asked recently by a current Paso Robles High School student to Mr. Tim Gearhart, a school board trustee the student obviously trusted.
This is a scream for help! Can you hear the anguish and fear in his voice? This student felt hate and was brave enough to voice it.
When the gay pride flag was vandalized by Paso Robles High School students last year, how did concerned students respond? They sponsored a rally for love, for inclusion, standing up for each other in a scary public forum. I was there. It was standing room only in an electric atmosphere. The students felt hate, yet they radiated love. This was another scream for help!
Over 50% of students in our district are Hispanic. Estimates are about 10% are LGBTQ.
These students want to be seen. They want to be heard. They want to be valued. Yet, many feel hate and fear.
How can they learn in a toxic atmosphere where they do not feel welcome?
The SLO Tribune recently endorsed candidates Adelita Hiteshew, Jim Cogan, and Sondra Williams for Paso Robles School District trustees even though their policy is not to endorse school board candidates. They broke with precedent! Why? At least in part because we are all tired of division, culture wars, and … hate.
We need parents with children in our school system who care enough about education, diversity and have open minds to run for the board.
Joel Peterson, former PRJUSD trustee and unopposed candidate for PRJUSD board said, “I’ve met school board candidates in Paso Robles over the past 20 years and these three – Adelita, Sondra and Jim – are some of the most qualified I’ve ever seen. They are active parents, involved in the district, they see a brighter future for the district, and are willing to put in the time and effort to make us better. Paso Robles would be lucky to have these candidates become school board trustees.”
As a straight mother, grandmother of a new kindergartener in another school district, and a product of public schools through San Luis Obispo High School and Cal Poly; a voter in PRJUSD Area 5, winemaker, beekeeper, marine biologist, premedical advisor, and retired university professor, I want to see all students in our district get the supportive and broad education they deserve.
Please join me in voting for Adelita Hiteshew, Jim Cogan, and Sondra Williams for Paso Robles School District trustees.
Dr. Cynthia Lewis
Retired University Professor
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