‘They are just children’

Siuslaw News stock photo

Music instructor gives impassioned public comment to Siuslaw School Board

Nov. 14, 2022 — The Siuslaw School District Board of Directors met on Nov. 9 for its regular monthly meeting.

While no major decisions were made, some important announcements were made and important discussion were had.

The board declared that there are four openings on the district budget committee.  Applications will be received through Dec. 5. At the Dec. 14 meeting, the board will choose from the pool of applicants or discuss if additional information is needed. People can visit www.siuslaw.k12.or.us/o/siuslaw-school-district/page/school-board for applications and additional information.

In the public comment portion of the meeting, Florence piano and vocal coach Jason Wood spoke about concerns he has for Siuslaw students.

“My concern is that I know there have been a lot of grumblings and rumblings about some of the trans kids that attend school here,” Wood said. “Speaking from personal experience, it’s hard enough as it is. You won’t know it and you won’t see it, but we don’t need to make it any harder on them. We need to facilitate an easier time for them.”

Wood stressed how disappointed he was that not only were these kids being bullied, but some are being bullied by adults in the community.

“It’s not acceptable,” he said. “I want the school board to know that I will always be fighting against any resistance that’s given against them. Anything that makes their life harder, anyone who tries to squash them, hide them, make them hide their identity — you’ve got me to deal with.”

Woods wrapped up his comments by explaining how this bullying could even be life threatening for these children.

“I don’t know a single queer person, at least not from my generation, who didn’t have to struggle very, very hard and thought about how easy it would be to not continue,” Wood said. “We need to make sure that no kid in this school district ever feels that way, and I’m getting the feeling they are. I implore you all to pay attention to that. Please keep in mind they are just children.”

Before the regular session began, the directors in attendance held a work session that included a presentation from Tremco Roofing about what their business does and some issues that the middle school roof is facing.

According to District Maintenance Supervisor Reed Lewis, the roof at Siuslaw Middle School has been a problem from the beginning.

“There are many issues with the roof, from broken shingles to staples that have popped, littering the roof, as well as extensive amount of granular loss,” said Lewis. “From day one, the middle school has been a challenge with leaks, disrupting classes, and has consumed a large amount of time tracking them down.”

Craig McCullough, a representative for Tremco, gave a presentation describing his company’s credentials and reviewed a few different options for repair of the roof.

No decisions were made regarding repairs and discussions will continue. 

As he does each meeting, Siuslaw senior Jacob Blankenship gave his monthly report on the goings on at the high school. He described Veteran’s Day activities, reviewed fall sports as they recently wrapped up and talked about the annual cookie dough fund raiser that starts soon.

Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak gave the required annual review of the Student Investment Account. He stated the following items were able to be implemented via funding from the account. Increased personnel was where the expansion was implemented in all the following programs:

  • Allowed alternative school to expand from a half to a full-day offering.
  • Allowed Language Arts at the high school to be expanded to a full day’s worth of class offerings.
  • Funded a middle school art teacher.
  • Funded a second middle school counselor.
  • Helped fund high school computer technology and business education.
  • Helped fund middle school technology education.
  • Facilitated the return of high school metals manufacturing.
  • Allowed reduction of class size for elementary special education.
  • Hired district media/library specialist and district nurse.

The Siuslaw School District Board of Directors meets on the second Wednesday of each month at the district office, 2111 Oak St. in Florence. Next month’s meeting will be on Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. For more information, visit siuslaw.k12.or.us.

To watch the November meeting, in its entirety, go to youtu.be/KZKkAaSU84M.