Tensions escalate in Monroe school district over allegations of ‘hostile’ racist culture

Tensions in the Monroe School District escalated Monday evening as the school board listened to parents, students and teachers call for an end to student bullying and hatred, which they say has been activated by District Superintendent Justin Blasko.

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Many, like parent Janelle Lewis – who has seven children in district schools – have expressed frustration at what they see as a growing problem with no end in sight.

“As much as my kids have lived in this city, I never said I hate this place – but I said it last week,” she said. “I’m sick of seeing people in positions of power doing nothing. I’m tired of it. “

A petition with more than a thousand signatures calls for the resignation of Superintendent Blasko, who refused to resign despite a vote of no confidence from about 90% of teachers and staff. The students also organized a walkout on Monday afternoon.

This walkout was followed by Monday night’s board meeting, spanning nearly six hours with passionate testimonials from parents, staff and more, detailing all of their claims about a growing environment. more difficult for students.

“Personally, I have been assaulted, judged, stereotyped, negatively visualized, excluded and portrayed as a hideous monster, just because of my sexuality and my identity,” Soren Eaton said, 17 years old, student at Monroe.

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“Monroe schools have become increasingly hostile to students of color, students with disabilities and LGBTQ + students, and Superintendent Justin Blasko has refused to take action to improve the culture and climate in our schools.” said Robin, president of the Monroe Education Association. Hayashi added.

According to the testimony of Melanie Ryan, a member of the Board of Directors of the Equity Council, staff members have also filed complaints describing how many are “terrified of giving their opinion or speaking publicly” about the problems of the Equity Council. district, fearing that they would be fired for speaking.

The Monroe School Board adjourned Monday night’s meeting without voting on the issue.

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