So this is really the last "official" thing I'm going to say regarding everything that has transpired over the last two weeks.
Speaking for only myself, this has never been about an agenda I have. This has always been about my passion for all students (not just my daughters who will eventually receive their education in the district) to have access to a diverse curriculum that introduces them to a multitude of themes, individuals, experiences, cultures and beyond. My personal belief is that we must challenge ourselves and expose ourselves to material that encourages us to examine not only our own place in society, but how we interact with those from different backgrounds, upbringings, moral leanings, etc.
For me, my personal "advocacy" of this topic, which I've shared with you on my blog, has always been with students in mind. We need to set our students up for realistic expectations of the world and those who exist within it... not a censored version based on personal sensibilities. These lessons come in many forms, one of the most valuable forms — an introduction and guided exposure to diverse, well-rounded literature that explores — at times — challenging themes in an instructive and safe setting through carefully developed lesson plans from the credentialed and high-quality teachers employed by our district.
And so, last night, I showed up to the board meeting.
I showed up bracing to have my character absolutely slaughtered by those who support Mr. Dunn's antics and personal attacks against me in retribution for disagreement over the opt-out policy. I took that risk because the quality of education in our district is important to me, and it should be to you as well, no matter the cost. I showed up fully expecting that the board president would indirectly attempt to admonish me in his remarks regarding this controversy, so I was not surprised when it happened.
And still I showed up. I showed up when people far more powerful than me, in elected roles, used their position to assert falsehoods about my character to the media, and any residents of our community who reached out... all because I took full advantage of my first amendment rights in a democratic setting. I participated respectfully, and well within the decorum and standards held by the board. I did simply, what each and every one of us should be encouraged to do: speak up.
I am not a publicly elected representative. I'm a private citizen, a parent, a taxpayer and resident of this community who was attacked by a school board member over my choice to exercise my right to free speech... and still, I showed up to face the man who attacked me, my character and my employer. I sacrificed the precious last days of my maternity leave fending off a wave of statements Mr. Dunn has falsely asserted to the press. All because I abided by the bylaws set forth by the board, and the law, according to the Brown Act.
I showed up, because this wasn't and isn't about me. It was first and foremost about protecting and standing up for each and every person's right to free speech. And I showed up because I believe our students come first and they deserve to know that the constituents in this district will fight to protect their right to free speech as well.
Mr. Dunn chose not to show up and answer for his behavior, his actions or his words. At the very opportunity to be an example and role model for the students of the district he serves, he failed them.
Last night, a publicly elected representative whose role is to oversee policy and school measures that maintain and elevate the quality of education and experience our students in this district receive, chose not to show up for the students.
In November, I do hope you'll vote for candidates who put our students and their education —over ego and agenda — first. Every time.