Sacramento SPCA Receives $25,000 to Help Cats

By Sarah Varanini, SSPCA  |  2019-05-16

Mark M. Glickman petting an adoptable cat named Valentina at the Sacramento SPCA. She was adopted a couple of days after this photo was taken by Karen Goff, Content Marketing Coordinator for the Sacramento SPCA.

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento SPCA announced the receipt of $25,000 to help senior cats and cats needing extended medical care at the Sacramento SPCA through a single gift made to establish The Joe Willie Initiatives. But more important is the story behind this gift; a remarkable bond between a man and his special needs cat, Joe Willie, that inspired a movement.


Mark M. Glickman, a resident of Carmichael, was inspired by his cat, Joe Willie, who had significant medical needs when Mr. Glickman adopted him 29 years ago.


“In November 1990, I was on a noon-time walk in the San Francisco Financial District when I came upon a mobile adoption site”, shared Mr. Glickman. “One of the kitties was a small Tuxedo cat. He had neurological damage in his back-side, and did not walk well. I expected that he would require ongoing attention for his condition, but adopted him anyway and named him Joe Willie.”


Stiff legs were just the first of Joe Willie’s challenges. He had serious gastro-intestinal issues and eventually lost his ability to walk. Later, he suffered other significant medical conditions. Throughout all of this, Joe Willie remained the sweetest, most loving cat that Mr. Glickman had ever known.


Realizing that there were cats just like Joe Willie in need of care in Northern California shelters, in February, Mr. Glickman established The Joe Willie Initiatives, which will fund medical and placement assistance to encourage the adoption of senior cats and other cats with special needs.


“One out of every five animals that arrives at the Sacramento SPCA needs specialized veterinary care before they can be ready for placement in a new home. The percentage is even higher for senior cats,” stated Kenn Altine, Chief Executive Officer of Sacramento SPCA.


“Mark’s incredible support over the past year has helped us to spotlight and promote our senior cats, who many times are overlooked by potential adopters. Now, with this generous gift designated for medical care for cats, we will be able to save even more lives.”


Mr. Glickman’s donation is the largest donation the organization has ever received for senior kitties and those with special needs. In addition to the Sacramento SPCA, Mr. Glickman honors the memory of Joe Willie through his support of other animal welfare organizations, including Marin Humane and Field Haven Feline Center.


“All of my cats have inspired me,” said Mr. Glickman. “While I learned about cats from them, I learned about myself from Joe Willie. I want other people to adopt a cat and have that opportunity for an extraordinary connection.”


The Sacramento SPCA reports an overall increase in cat adoptions since partnering with Mr. Glickman with more than 60 adopted through the program. And the goodwill is spreading – other Sacramento SPCA supporters have also been inspired to sponsor adult and senior cat adoptions.
Mr. Glickman issued the following statement:


“Historically, cats have not been treated with the same level of respect, understanding or attention as other animals. That has not been true of the Sacramento SPCA. For the last three years the organization has been at the forefront of this issue, seeking to change those perceptions. I am hopeful that my gift will allow them to continue their work, in new and innovative ways.”


Founded in 1892, the Sacramento SPCA has been providing homeless animals with individual comfort, shelter, and love for more than 127 years. The 100% not-for-profit organization provides compassionate medical care to tens of thousands of animals annually and offers a variety of programs and services designed to keep people and pets together for life.
www.sspca.org

 

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Rancho Cheerleads AMGEN to the Sierras

By Patrick Larenas  |  2019-05-16

Captions: And the race begins! Amgen Stage 2 takes off from Rancho Cordova. Photo by Jose Lopez

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - On Monday May 13th AMGEN’s blue 2019 Tour of California portal opened an adventure of a lifetime for professional cyclists into our state’s renown scenic panoramas. At roughly 89 feet of elevation, Rancho Cordova became the perfect point of departure for AMGEN’s uphill race from the countryside all the way across the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Riding a bicycle a few blocks, for many of us, is seen as an act of valor and environmental consciousness. But those who competed for close to 150 miles uphill had the real valor and the full environmental experience―not to mention the strongest legs and lungs.                                                

Kristin Klein, President of the Amgen Tour of California said, “The 14th annual Amgen Tour of California will not disappoint. This year the riders will face the most climbing, the longest road days and arguably the most competitive field in the history of the race.”

“The riders know when they come to the Amgen Tour of California they’ll get a bit of everything…mountains, ocean breezes, lush forests, farm fields and vineyards – it’s quite a way to sightsee this beautiful state, and we’re proud to call the Amgen Tour of California an international postcard for the state.”

The starting line in Rancho Cordova for Stage 2 was lined with hundreds of local cycling enthusiasts cheering on the big race. This was a big day for the city and its residents in hosting Amgen.

Bob Stapleton, Chairman of USA Cycling said “Kristin (Klein) calls this one of America’s greatest races. I call it one of the world’s greatest races.”

“Economically this really is a Grand Tour. If you look at where the money and interest and eyeballs that support cycling come from, American companies are the number two direct sponsor of teams, and if you look at the total support, all the money, goods and services that come into cycling, United States is number one.”

Rob DeMartini, the USA Cycling President and CEO mentioned “I was immediately impressed by the depth of talent that is here at the Amgen Tour of California. I look forward to spending time with all of the American riders here and am pleased we were able to field a National Team and give our up and coming riders an opportunity to race on home soil.”

Present at the race, Mark Cavendish, of Team Dimensional Data said that with this Tour of California, ““I’ve been here many times, not just for the bike race, but for holiday and for training camps, and I always feel welcome at The Amgen Tour of California, so it’s good to be back.”

“The race has gotten harder, and the race has stepped up. As Bob (Stapleton) said, it’s one of the most important races on the calendar now, and with that comes a bigger challenge to win, and it’s good that more people are watching.”

George Bennet, Team Jumbo-Visma – “[Winning the Yellow Jersey] is the main objective. I don’t know if it’s going to be easier, but it will be a lot different than last time, without the time trial and different riders here as well. It’s going to be a challenging week.”

“The winner on (Mount) Baldy is going to get the Lexus. Mount Hamilton is hard, but it’s not like two years ago when we could light it up and survive to the finish…it all comes down to Baldy and staying out of trouble the other days.”

Richie Porte, Trek-Segafredo noted how this race is evolving. He said “A lot of ways this [The Amgen Tour of California] is leading how cycling has got to go.”

Tejay van Garderen, EF Education First Pro Cycling offered his thoughts on racing at home. “It’s always a treat to be able to come home. Now being on a truly American team coming and racing on American soil provides a different feel and a different level of motivation.”

“This race is for sure a huge target, and it’s something that our team has been talking about all spring, that we need to be ready to do well at this race” said Evan Huffman, Rally UHC Cycling on the importance of getting a good start.

Alex Hoehn, USA Cycling offered his gratitude on being able to participate. “I’m grateful to USA Cycling for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talent here at the Amgen Tour of California in front of the best teams in the world. It’s not often that a young rider like me gets to line up with some of the best in the pro peloton, and this will be an experience I will remember for the rest of my life” He said.

Rancho Cordova can be proud as a Amgen Stage 2 host city.


Sources: Marissa Mavaega, Canvasblue.com. Amgen 

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Sacramento Police and Sheriff's 17th Annual Remembrance Ceremony

Story and photos by Trina L. Drotar  |  2019-05-16

Sheriff Scott Jones reads name of fallen Sacramento Sheriff’s Department officers

WOODLAKE, SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - On Friday, May 2, officers from several agencies, including Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, descended upon the quiet Woodlake neighborhood for the 17th Annual Remembrance Ceremony, and to commemorate a new memorial plaque for Officer Mark Stasyuk who lost his life in the line of duty on September 17, 2018.

The ceremony included a procession of law enforcement officers from Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento Sheriff’s Department led by the Sacramento Firefighters Pipes and Drums.

Officer Paul Brown, President of the Sacramento Police Sheriff’s Memorial Foundation welcomed officers, fallen officer families, dignitaries, fellow officers from outside agencies, and the general public.

“Today, let us remember our Sacramento fallen,” said the 20 year Sacramento Police Department veteran.

Pastor Anthony Sadler of Shiloh Baptist Church gave the invocation prior to guest speakers.


“It is in times like these that we realize how fragile we are and how quickly our loved ones can be taken away from us.” Each officer, he added, to be remembered had paid the ultimate price, as did the fallen officer’s family, in order to protect the citizens.

“Today we are saddened, and also honored, to add yet one more hero to the rank.” He then called for prayers for Deputy Mark Stasyuk and his family.


“We honor Deputy Stasyuk for his extraordinary bravery in the face of imminent danger,” he stated.


Throughout the invocation, the bells of Sacramento Regional Transit’s light sounded gently. The memorial, a living monument, is situated across the street from Woodlake Park and behind the light rail station on Arden Way. Land was donated by North Sacramento Land Company, wrote Rotary Club of North Sacramento President, Stephen Lemmon. His organization, along with Woodlake Improvement Club worked with the land company.


“Since we had a great working relationship with the Sacramento Police Department, the idea was hatched for a memorial,” Lemmon wrote, adding that Rotary Club member Dennis Tsuboi submitted the design and the club contributed $10,000.


In 1992, “a foundation was formed including both unions for Sac PD and Sac Sheriff, reps for the Chief and the Sheriff, the Rotary Club, Woodlake and the Council Member,” wrote Lemmon.


A list of major funders, board of directors, and past board members is etched in granite beside the dedication stone that reads, “For all those who served & sacrificed wearing the badge, we are eternally grateful.”


Sacramento Police Department Chief Daniel Hahn spoke first.


“Welcome to these sacred grounds,” he said. “We will never forget the sacrifice that you have made for our entire community.”


Chief Hahn spoke several minutes about current challenges for law enforcement, community, and how these men and women “know what it takes to protect our community, to protect our values and our way of life.”


“We pray that this will be the last year that we add a name to this very important memorial,” said Hahn.
Sheriff Scott R. Jones spoke next, thanking Supervisor Susan Peters, general public, and fellow officers.


“I love coming to this place. I come from time to time. It seems like things are a little quieter, things are a bit more contemplative. It seems like I’m able to be a little bit more reflective. I love the fact that the community takes care of this place. It is truly hollow ground,” he said, adding that he also hates that there needs to be a place like this and that another name needs to be added this year.


Mark Stasyuk’s name joined twenty other Sheriff’s department officers, District Attorney Investigator Grant Wilson, Galt Police Department Officer Kevin Tonn, and sixteen Sacramento Police Department officers.


“His life made a difference,” said District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.


Chief Todd Sockman, Galt Police Department, spoke about the family of law enforcement and the family that includes the community.


“As a family, we can get through this,” he said.


Following the guest speakers, the name of each of the 39 fallen officers was called, with a moment of silence, and the placement of a yellow rose on each memorial plaque by members of each respective agency. Each officer was honored with a white-gloved salute by a member of his agency.


Sheriff Jones said of 4 ½ year veteran Mark Stasyuk, that he “exemplified what it meant to be a law enforcement officer.”

   
Yellow roses were presented to members of the Stasyuk family who carried the flowers and placed them on his memorial.


Following a moment of silence, the rider-less horse was led in and through the memorial, a bugler played “Taps,” followed by a 21-gun salute, and a flyover of helicopters in the missing flyer formation.


“If one member suffers, all suffer together,” said Sacramento Police Officer William J. Conner in the benediction. “We are all part of something greater than ourselves.”


For additional information, visit: http://www.sacmemorial.org/.

 

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Lanterns Launch Peace, Love and Memories

Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-05-09

Newly-wed Shivangi Dhaundiyal decorated her lantern in honor of a “perfectly imperfect” romance shared with her husband

Gibson Ranch Lantern Fest

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - A Water Lantern Festival at Gibson Ranch last weekend launched thousands of hopes, dreams and memories on the reserve’s lake.

Organized by One World LLC, the event continued an international trend inspired by oriental tradition. At similar events hosted by hundreds of US locations, paying participants receive lanterns and marker pens. Sustainable rice paper is the canvas upon which messages of whimsy, emotion or hope are expressed. Illuminated by battery lights, the luminarias are then liberated to float in rose-hued armadas, carrying serenity and goodwill into the universe. The idea, say organizers, is to unite friends, families and strangers in celebrating life. For the Woodstock generation, it’s like attending a tamer, Max Yasgur’s Farm – with fairy lights and without mud.

Promoted largely by social media, the Gibson Ranch celebration drew almost 5000 participants. Some travelled from the Bay Area and Nevada. Indian-born newlyweds Shivangi and Bhasker Dhaundiyal heard about the karma-fest in their Sunnyvale suburb and trekked to Elverta. The couple celebrated the “perfect imperfection” of their marriage by lamplight.

Many luminarias were decorated with blessings of peace and serenity. Bereaved mom Ayrika Caeton dedicated her love-light to a lost infant son. Deceased pets, whales and unicorns were carefully drawn and launched. Before the launching ceremony, festival-goers were encouraged to meditate and share goodwill with fellow attendees. Music played, merchandise was sold, food trucks did brisk business and thousands of selfies were indulged. With as much serenity as is possible in a traffic jam, festival goers later departed amidst clouds of Gibson Ranch dust. Once the music ended, a chorus of perplexed goose-honking continued lakeside melodies.

Organizers spent the next day in rubber boots, clearing litter and lifting thousands of wood and paper craft from the lake.

Water Lantern Festival LLC is based in Utah and supports Water.org, an international nonprofit that promotes safe water in developing nations.

Learn about future water lantern events – including an October 6 festival at Lake Folsom at www.waterlanternfestival.com

 

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I’m Listening!

By Sal Arrigo, Jr.  |  2019-05-09

Suicide Prevention Awareness Program

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - In the 1990’s there was a television sitcom named “Frasier” about a radio psychiatrist who greeted his callers with the phrase “I’m listening.” Although it was a comedy, the show did focus on real-life topics and relationships and often the discussions led to one question:  what is the root cause of your issue?

Suicide is a very real issue in this country. We hear that a person “seemed just fine to me,” but that was only on the surface. To be quite frank on why I am writing about this subject is easy – I have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I can relate to all the buildup and emotions on why someone would take their life.

Suicide, the act of intentionally causing your own death, is listed as a top ten cause of death in the United States, according to a 2017 Center for Disease Control report. So, I ask, are you listening when the person who committed suicide remained silent up to the end?

Recently, California State University, Sacramento hosted the Send Silence Packing national tour, a program of the Active Minds organization that brings awareness to college students who take their own lives. Founded by Alison Malmon when she was a junior at the University of Pennsylvania after the suicide of her older brother, and only sibling, Brian, she started the Active Minds organization. According to the organization’s website, Active Mind’s purpose is “to reflect the organization’s focus on action and student advocacy in mental health.” They have been doing this since 2003.

Each year, as stated on the Active Minds website, Send Silence Packing visits 30-40 schools and communities. The all-day exhibit raises mental health awareness, inspires action for suicide prevention, connects viewers to mental health resources, and jump starts action.

Send Silence Packing catalyzes conversations in a way that contributes to a community’s overall positive climate for mental health. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students. The Active Minds website, www.activeminds.org has a simple, and yet very powerful message: “Are you listening?”

I spoke with Barbara Gillogly Ph.D., a Developmental Psychologist and licensed Family Therapist, about her experiences with clients who discussed suicide. “I cannot tell them not to do it (suicide), but I can listen and validate their feelings.” Dr. Gillogly continued, “People just want to vent and be heard, and not be judged. I listen to the emotion behind the words and find people just want to talk.”
I asked Dr. Gillogly what she tells someone who has lost a loved one or friend to suicide. “Go to a support group because they have been there.” It is not pretty to go through the grieving process regarding suicide as this is the toughest guilt for the survivors: could I have done something to help?”

I asked Barbara if there are any signs that are tipping points to someone taking their own life. “A person may start to give away their personal items, or they slowly start retreating from life in general” she said. My initial thought after interviewing Dr. Gillogy was that I wanted to find out more about local support groups. As it turned out, I found a person who has actually been to one, and provided me with a personal and tragic story. Sharon Ruffner lost her brother Eddie to suicide many years ago. Sharon told me that Eddie struggled with his addiction to prescription drugs and had been in some trouble with the law. Sharon told me, “Eddie was brilliant; he was a gifted pianist, artist and scientist.”

Although Eddie struggled in his life, his sister never stopped loving him and when Eddie would call and blame Sharon for an array of problems she did not create, Sharon always told her brother, “I love you and if you need help I am here for you.” It was soon after that Eddie overdosed on the prescription drugs. One question haunts Sharon: “Did Eddie really mean to do this or just happened to take extra pills by mistake?” As with my interview with Dr. Gillogly, Sharon agreed that when a family member or friend commits suicide it is difficult to comprehend. “What signs did I not recognize?” is a question that Sharon replays over and over. One piece of advice Sharon gives to other people in a similar situation is that you “never get over it; you just travel through the grief.” Eddie’s mother, Norma, went into a deep depression which Sharon described as “having her right arm cut off.” Although her Mom felt this way, Sharon said to me “I never felt devastation; I just tried to help my Mom.”

I asked Sharon what kept her going after Eddie took his life. “I kept myself busy by taking some classes and learning some professional skills. It eventually led to a career position with the San Juan Unified School District.” Sharon did tell me, “you need to allow people to help you, and that grief is an incredible personal journey. You do need to take your time to grieve.” In order to help ease the pain, Sharon said that she copes to this day by taking piano lessons to honor her brother. She also goes to Pacifica Beach in the San Francisco Bay Area and throws a rose into the water because “it was one of Eddie’s favorite places to go.”

Sharon presented me with a newsletter from the Friends for Survival, a nationwide non-profit organization with a Sacramento chapter. The mission statement says, “We are dedicated to providing a variety of peer support services that comfort those in grief, suicide grief support, encourage healing and growth, foster the development of skills to cope with a loss and educate the community regarding the impact of suicide.” In addition, the organization states, “The loving outreach of Friends for Survival can bridge the gap between despair and renewed hope. Those whose loss is recent can lean upon the shoulders of those who have made progress in the difficult task of working through grief after a suicide death.”

The Sacramento chapter of Friends for Survival can be reached at 916-392-0664 or 800-646-7322. Their website is www.ffs@truevine.net.

Personally, I came away from this story not with an ending, but a beginning. There is so much the general public needs to understand about this very real societal issue. I intend to continue writing more about this subject in the future with the goal of helping one person or one family. It is that important!

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7) at 1-800-273-8255 or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

 

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Lions Donate $150k to Society for the Blind

By Kristin Thébaud, Marketing for a Better World  |  2019-05-09

Members of the Northern California Lions Sight Association join Lions District 4-C5’s Doug Wight and Sheri Retzlaff to present a check to Society for the Blind’s Shari Roeseler.

Funds to be Used to Expand the Low Vision Clinic

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Society for the Blind recently received a Vision 2020 campaign donation of $150,000 from the Northern California Lions Sight Association (NCLSA) and the Lions Clubs International (LCIF) to support the expansion of the group’s Low Vision Clinic and training space for people who are blind or have low vision.

NCLSA donated $75,000 to purchase equipment and vision testing devices for the clinic and secured an additional matching grant of $75,000 from LCIF to add an indoor orientation and mobility course.

“Lions Clubs across the world have a long history of supporting organizations that help people with vision loss, so we are deeply honored that the Lions chose to invest in Society for the Blind here in Sacramento,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. Roeseler continued:
“As the only comprehensive vision rehabilitation center in the Sacramento region, Society for the Blind is a critical resource for people who are blind or have low vision. The generosity of the regional and international Lions means that more people across California who are experiencing vision loss will have access to critical assessment and treatment.”

Society for the Blind’s Low Vision Clinic is one of the longest running community-based clinics in the region. The Low Vision Clinic provides care, vision rehabilitation, low vision devices and transportation assistance to more than 375 people each year.

Clinics are staffed by three optometrists with special training in low vision eye care and serve patients with cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other congenital and degenerative eye diseases.

Clinic staff includes a vision rehabilitation therapist who works with patients with some functional vision, teaching them techniques to use their remaining vision safely and effectively and providing training on assistive devices.

“It’s in our Lions Club DNA to help organizations like Society for the Blind,” said Douglas Wight, governor, Lions District 4-C5. “Across the world, we work to bring greater stability and independence to people with vision loss by providing services and supporting organizations that do this work.”

Celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential.

Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit
SocietyfortheBlind.org.

Lions Clubs International is the largest service organization in the world with more than 1.4 million members. The organization’s mission is to support the efforts of Lions clubs and partners in serving communities locally and globally, giving hope and impacting lives through humanitarian service projects and grants. For more information, visit
LionsClubs.org.

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Disenfranchised Parents Unhappy with SJUSD’s Controversial Curriculum

By Gary McFadyen  |  2019-05-06

Chelsy Erickson voiced her disappointment concerning the lack of crucial notifications about the curriculum. Photo by Gary McFadyen

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - More than 250 unhappy parents showed up at the San Juan School Board Meeting on Tuesday night April 9th, to ask the board to not adopt the district staff recommended and proposed History and Social Science curriculum for elementary-aged students.

This was the first of the last two SJUSD board meetings before they would vote on whether or not to adopt the curriculum as proposed. The loudest objection aimed at the school board coming from the many parents who spoke at that meeting, came from a group of aggrieved moms and dads who claimed that they were intentionally left out of the discussions that would have allowed them to help shape the recommendations to the board on the matter that could have provided options that would both comply with SB48, and that would meet concerns of parents on both sides of the controversial curriculum issue: The issue of teaching about a person’s sexuality and the subsequent classroom conversations regarding sex and sexual preferences of people who have made contributions in some form to society. The discussion these parents say they were left out of was the one about what material would be used, at what age level would it be appropriate, and how it would be taught.


During the Public Comment portion of the board meeting, Chelsy Erickson, one of the large number of parents in the district feeling disenfranchised, told the board “nothing has shocked or disappointed me more than the lack of inclusion of the parents by not giving us a seat at the table so we could have a voice.” She continued, “invitations were buried in a flood of ‘general informational’ emails and robo calls, but there was no specific information telling parents that there would be sensitive or controversial material involved.” Erickson told the board that this crucial specific information was left out of district communications to parents until the eleventh hour when it was finally added only because a concerned mother challenged San Juan School District staff and insisted that the notifications specifically mention the LGBT inclusion items in the curriculum being proposed. These parents contend that there was neither a robust nor truly transparent effort by the district to inform parents of the extraordinary content in the new curriculum and that the crucial information was not fairly or appropriately highlighted in notices until January of this year; thirty months into a thirty-six month timetable, effectively giving concerned parents no time to organize and demand they be given a seat at the planning table.


Larry Gilmore, parent of a third grader, told the board that he is one of approximately 2,500 tax paying Concerned Parents of San Juan Unified School District who objected to the way the district went about adopting the state’s curriculum for elementary-aged students. He told the board that they violated their Professional Code of Conduct in that they allowed misrepresentation and distortion of facts during public discussion. In his examples he cited EC 35160.1 (Education Code) where the Legislature found and declared that “school districts have the flexibility to create their own unique solutions” which can be “liberally construed to effect this objective”. He also cited SB 48 and the HSS Framework law that state “while mandatory in regard to its implementation, it falls to the teacher and the local school and district administration to determine how the content is covered and at which grade level(s).”


Gilmore asked the board why, knowing this was such a volatile issue, they didn’t give more complete information, or invite parents to explore options that under the law would be a more acceptable solution for all involved. He urged the board to delay adoption until parents can fairly be given this opportunity.


Becky Milton stood before the board saying, “I respectfully ask that you do not adopt this new curriculum in its entirety”.  She stated that she is a firm believer in public education, and that she taught and subbed in SJUSD for over 10 years. “This is too much too soon,” she said, “the complex nature of sexuality and gender identity are not appropriate topics to discuss with elementary age children at school”. Quoting the Fair Act (SB 48) she too stated that the board could choose to push back the curriculum and to focus the fair act at the more appropriately aged high school level.
Milton asked that rather than making a decision that would divide the district, all parents and educators be allowed to “work together to build bridges”. And in Erickson’s comments she asked the board to give the parents, both proponents and opponents of the current proposal, the opportunity to work together to find mutually acceptable paths for implementation.


The boards concluding remarks in this meeting did not acknowledge or address the complaints cited, or the sincere requests of parents asking for a postponement and opportunity to fairly participate and work together. Their remarks did, however, with the exception of one, indicate that each of them had already decided to vote for adoption of the proposed curriculum at the next board meeting.


The April 23rd meeting was also packed. Concerned parents filled the main board room, an overflow room, and stood shoulder to shoulder in the halls to hear the proceedings. Again, parents from both sides addressed the board. Again, the disenfranchised parents protested that the district intentionally left them out of the discussion, and they pleaded with the board to postpone adopting the new curriculum and allow parents a chance to work together to come up with a plan for presenting the material in a way that would meet both the requirements and concerns of parents on both sides of the issue.


“We put our trust in you when we voted for you”, said Erickson, addressing the board at the second meeting in a row, “won’t you put some faith and trust in us by giving us the opportunity to work on this together”.


Closing remarks from the board differed little from the last meeting. This time a board member and the superintendent did acknowledge the request from parents for postponement but said that it would not change the fact that they were required by the state to adopt the proposed curriculum, and that they had no choice but to vote for it. 


It is important to note here that other school districts including Capistrano Valley Unified School District and Clovis Unified School District have intentionally not adopted the state approved History and Social Studies curriculum in an effort to cooperate more with concerns of all district families and communities. These two districts have joined with at least 24 other school districts in California, including Orange County School District, who are using the flexibility built into the law, and working with parents to come up with solutions that work to meet the important needs of the children and families in their districts.


The pleas of the disenfranchised parents had no impact on the outcome. In the end, as predicted from the meeting two weeks earlier, the school board voted unanimously to adopt the new curriculum provided and approved by the state.

View the board videos at SanJuanParentsLeftOut.org

 

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