1. What are your thoughts on reinstating student resource officers in our schools?
With students returning to schools, now is the perfect time to reinstate a student resource officer. In my opinion, SROs are invaluable to the district. A good resource officer works to build relationships between students and the police department. They are there to provide guidance, help at times, and even protection. It is typically less intimidating for kids to approach a resource officer than a police officer out in the community. If kids have concerns about their peers or family members at home, they can often speak to the resource officer and get assistance at school.
Furthermore, I know our prior SRO had started a cadet program back in 2019 with funds he received from the Sherwood Education Foundation. The goal of this program was to get students interested in a career in law enforcement, broaden their knowledge of this career field and enhance the relationship between the Sherwood police and Sherwood’s youth. I would love to see this program continue when our SRO is reinstated.
2. Share with us your thoughts on diversity, equity and inclusion in the schools. How are students impacted and what can be done to allow all students to learn and thrive in school?
Schools should be a place where all students receive the same opportunities to learn. However, all students are not coming to school on an even playing field. Some students have a lot of resources and/or support at home, while others simply do not. For instance, the school may be able to supply all students equally with a Chromebook, but all students may not have access to Internet at home. Providing those students with a hot spot so they can access the Internet helps promote equity. It is incredibly important the school district continues to identify sources of inequity and strives to provide resources wherever possible to assist those students. The Sherwood School District is lucky to have so many wonderful programs and services in place already working to achieve this goal.
Sherwood is not a very diverse community by comparison to the communities surrounding us, which makes it that much more important that we honor and respect diversity. I think it is crucial that we celebrate different cultures and ethnicities and teach our students about the increasingly diverse world around us. Furthermore, we need to teach inclusion and model that behavior within the schools and within our community.
3. How and to what extent should religious and political expression be allowed in schools?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not very cut and dry in my eyes. Students are currently allowed to express their religious and political beliefs as long as it is not perceived as disruptive, discriminatory or coercive to peers who don’t share the same beliefs. While I respect everyone’s rights to express themselves freely, this creates an atmosphere where conversations regarding religion and politics often occur. I think the district has and will have to continue to provide guidance to teachers regarding their roles in these conversations. I believe that a teacher’s role should be to provide an unbiased education, which does not include telling students which religious or political beliefs they prescribe to.
At the elementary and middle school levels, teachers should attempt to redirect students to engage with their parents at home when religion and politics come into question. However, at the high school level I believe a teacher can moderate the conversation and allow students to have some dialogue if it is student led and remains respectful.
4. What changes, if any, would you make to the current curriculum and why?
I am not an expert on our curriculum and certainly will not pretend to be. If I am elected to a school board position, I will be eager to hear about potential curriculum options, as well as review the curriculum we have in place. I know that prior to curriculum being adopted it is often piloted in several classrooms. I would love to oversee this process and gain a better understanding of how our district evaluates and selects the curriculum offered to our students. Furthermore, I would be open to hearing from our community regarding which curriculum changes may be important to them and why.