I would like to begin by thanking everyone for their comments related to the original topic I introduced on the Banning-Beaumont Patch last week, the safety of the streets around our schools in Beaumont. My post on this topic, “Beaumont City Council, Our Kids Need You”, has received more than 70 comments on the Patch. Unfortunately a majority of the comments were not related to the topic of the safety around our schools. I’ve learned two things. First, there is a lot of history between the city and the school district. And, second, the politics in our community is not much different than what witness at the state and national level.
One thing is clear to me; everyone agrees, the safety of the streets around our schools is an issue. Not one person has said the streets are fine and they don’t need to be addressed. For our kids’ sake, we need to put aside all the bickering, name calling, and finger pointing and find a solution. Once again, I am here willing to offer a solution.
As I see it, the school district has received the money and the direction from the community to make our schools’ drop off and pick up areas safer. The city and the school district have a responsibility to see that the wishes of the community and the safety of our children receive high priority. The district has failed to involve parents in the decision and planning processes to address this important issue. It is my understanding, in the past the city has repeatedly provided resources and support to the school district in exchange for some action to be taken by the district that the district failed to perform; the Beaumont High School Pool is one well documented example.
I am tired of waiting for our school board members to stand up and direct the administration to do the right thing. It is obvious, to anyone following our school board, that two of the members, Mr. Orozco and Mrs. Poulter, are willing to put the interests of our kids before the interests of our superintendent. However, on a five person board, the administration only needs three members to continue to advance their agenda. There are three members who seem to forget that the administration works for them and the board works for our kids.
I am just one voice and the administration believes they don’t have to listen to one voice. Recently, the school board has limited access for anyone interested in addressing them in their meetings. They have added language to their introduction of the public speaking portion of their meetings to threaten speakers with legal action if the board hears something objectionable. For four years now, they have refused to involve more parents and community members in the planning and decisions about the direction of our schools. I believe it is time for someone else to help organize parents and community members to provide direction to the elected officials on our school board.
If the city council could organize a community forum to solicit input about how to improve the safety of the streets around our schools before they agree to finance the majority of the Brookside street improvements, I think our school board might get the message. This forum would need to be held in a parent friendly environment, something our school district refuses to do. It would need to be held at a parent convenient time and provide child care. I think the school district would not only get the message that parents and community members want some action; they would also see that our city council was serious about the school board fulfilling their responsibility.
Tomorrow night’s city council meeting and school board meeting would be a good opportunity for interested parties to make their feelings known. I believe the City Council meeting begins at 6 pm and I know the school board meeting starts at 7pm. Unfortunately I have a prior commitment to a family outing that will prevent me from attending. I think the city council and the school board already know where I stand; they need to know I’m not alone.