Public shows up to comment on Talauna Reed’s appointment to Olympia School Board

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Several people registered and attended in person to comment at Olympia School District’s (OSD) board meeting last night; most spoke about the board's decision to appoint Talauna Reed’s appointment to the board.

Olympia School Board President Maria Flores presided over the meeting, saying that the time limit would be imposed because 31 people registered to talk during the meeting. The board gave a maximum of three minutes per person.

The comments were both positive and negative— some voiced their concerns about Reed’s history, while others defended her abilities.

Dissenters

A commentator, an early childhood educator for 25 years, Margaret, commented on Reed’s videos featuring hate speech toward police officers.

“I feel [she] would be the wrong person to sit on any seat on the OSD. My concern would be that this hate would spill over to our children, who are so easily influenced,” Margaret said.

“I do not believe Reed is appropriate for the board due to her record,” said Candace Mercer, a public commentator. She said that her concern is not based on racism but on the [alleged] criminal background associated with a public figure like Reed.

A parent and marine corps veteran, Randy, added his comment to the board, stating how the board appointed someone who may ensue violence.

“We've already had student-on-student assaults from last year. That's unacceptable. We've had vandalism at the schools or bathrooms or walks. To have somebody that says ‘F the police’ that doesn't see the minds of our students and shoots in the wrong direction– the direction of violence. That's not where we need to go. We need to go to a peaceful place,” Randy said.

Another parent, Frank, raised the issue of background checks not being given more importance in the appointments within the board.

“All teachers, [and] administrators going to have to pass a background check. We have background checks for reasons, how on earth do those standards not apply here also?” Frank said.

Support from the community and minority groups

 Meredith, a junior in high school, expressed her support for Reed, “Miss Reed specifically has come under a significant amount of scrutiny. I've looked up to her as a community organizer and inspiring woman who was doing the kind of work to help underserved people and make a positive change that I want to do in my future.”

“She's exactly the influence the district needs to move forward towards their goal to create challenging opportunities for all students in a changing and diverse world to foster a supportive environment and be an equitable equity,” Meredith added.

Another attendee, Jessica, verbalized her support to the appointment by narrating her empathy to Reed ever since the death of her aunt.

“I'm sorry that you have had to endure a racist and reactionary backlash. I feel like that is that is the invisible hate of racism. On a positive note, though, the struggle for accountability and justice has brought many of us together,” Jessica said.

Jeff, a parent and a teacher affiliated with the Thurston County Democrats, lauded the board’s decision.

“I think it shows that the board is serious about addressing problems with racism, sexism and homophobia in our schools. And also shows your commitment to building a genuinely equitable system,” Jeff said.

A middle school teacher, Patty, expressed support, “I support an equitable and diverse school board. I want to be part of a school that is progressive and talking about racism, white supremacy, homophobia, sexism. I want our students to have a wide breadth of knowledge in front of them. I want them to have the skills to succeed, including critical thinking skills.”

Superintendent response

During his part, Superintendent Patrick Murphy addressed the general public who attended the meeting.

 “I appreciate and thank the large majority of people who spoke and especially those that had objections, [letting] us know that their objections have nothing to do with race or gender,” Murphy said.

Murphy furthered that sometimes, the community’s disagreements involve people. He added that it is suspected that the racist and sexist beliefs sent to the board through cards, emails, and voicemails came outside OSD’s area.

“I hope all of us, regardless of our directories, keep working together and make those voices smaller until they're gone,” Murphy urged the attendees.

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  • Theolympians

    I still can't believe anyone actually supports this woman sitting on a school board. Her background is atrocious.

    2 hours ago Report this