Meet the school board candidates – Sandee Everett

Rather listen than read? Go to https://youtu.be/luMtsgnflRQ to check out our full recorded Zoom call with Sandee Everett. Timestamps for each topic of discussion are located in the description of the video.

What is your current occupation?

My current occupation, I am a trustee on the Conejo Valley Unified School District School Board. I’m also a full time mom. And my occupation is that I am a my profession, actually, is that I am a licensed school counselor. So I hold an active school counseling license.

Why are you running for school board? And how do you hope to represent your areas concerns?

I’m running for school board because I would be the most senior member of the board, which is kind of hard to believe, because I would only have been on the board for four years, but the other three board members that were only elected two years ago, and that would make me the senior board member with only four years of experience. The other three only have two years of experience and anyone new would not have any experience and I believe that we need my experience on the board. I’m a budget watchdog. I watched the budget very carefully. I understand the budget thoroughly. I understand the programs in our district very thoroughly. And I also have kids in the schools, which gives me a vested interest in their success. And so for my area over here in Newbury Park. I love all of our schools. My kids went to Sycamore and Newbury Park High School. I have two students currently at Newbury Park High School, a sophomore and a senior and then I have three kids that graduated from Newbury Park High School.

Something that has come up as a campaign priority for multiple candidates is having respectful school board discussions. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Yes, I do. This is a very important thing, because currently there is a lack of decorum on the board. When I was in the majority on the board. There were two board members in the minority. That was Dr. Connelly and Mrs. Phelps. And sometimes they would get very upset when the board didn’t vote the way that they wanted us to vote. But one meeting in particular, it was on November 14 2017. Dr. Connolly asked me questions about the book policy for one hour and 15 minutes. And most of our questions were stated in a derogatory way meant to disparage me. And I listened patiently and carefully to each of our questions, and I responded to those. You can each go on and watch that conversation yourselves. I never once tried to shut off her microphone. I never said that I would call for the question because we haven’t adopted Robert’s Rules of Order. And so calling for the question is not allowed in our school board meetings. But the current board members because they haven’t been on the board very long, They don’t understand the decorum of the board. And also, at this last school board meeting, I think it’s really important to note that the First Amendment was trampled upon by certain board members, and I was not permitted to fully participate in deliberations, comments and questions. And this is because my microphone was muted by the board president, which I hope to never have happen again to any board member. I would never do that to a fellow board member. Our board bylaws indicate that we are allowed to have differences of perspective and style during board meetings. And as long as there is no conflict of interest in the vote, that all board members have a duty to vote and I was not allowed to vote in one of the votes because my microphone was shut off last Tuesday. The public has a right to hear my vote. It is their rights that were taken away and trampled upon even more than my own when my microphone was shut off. And let me just mention which government codes were violated. The first one is brown act Government Code 54950. And it states it is the intent of the law, that the board’s actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. And my deliberations were not permitted. And so therefore, they were not conducted openly and I was not allowed to speak and the public could not hear my part of the deliberations. 54953 b two states, all votes taken during a teleconference meeting shall be by roll call, I was not permitted to vote during one of the votes because my microphone was shut off. Government Code 54959 states each member of a legislative body who attends a meeting about a legislative body or action is taken in violation of any provision of this chapter. And where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled under this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor. So the district attorney will be investigating that because they need to show according to the law, why they turned off my microphone and wouldn’t allow me to vote and wouldn’t allow me to participate in deliberations in full, and then 54960, a district attorney or any interested person may commence an action by mandamus injunction or declaratory relief to determine whether any rule or action by the legislative body to penalize or otherwise discouraged, the expression of one or more of its members is valid or invalid under the laws of this state or of the United States. So once again, because my microphone was shut off repeatedly, and I was not allowed to participate in deliberations and votes, and so the public couldn’t hear those. That was a very big lack of decorum. And I think it shows a lack of maturity of the board, because they are brand new board members who are the board president and the vice president and interrupting board members is never acceptable. Each board member should be waiting until a board member finishes. And the only time I interrupt board members is when they are speaking about me and they’re misrepresenting me, the other board members, and then sometimes I will say I need to, to correct that. But I often wait until after that person is finished. And then the board has a habit of never getting back to me and allowing me to speak. I am the only minority member of the board. I represent the majority of the community, they represent a minority of the community. And they have four voices on the board. They are all union backed board members, they vote the way the union prefers. And I am the only independent voice on the board as I’m not acting on behalf of the Union in any way. And so I think that as members of the board, we need to be good examples to students of what to do if there’s a student in your class that is saying something that’s different than what the teacher thinks or what other the majority of the class is saying. Everyone needs to be respectful and I think this is really lacking in our community right now. And I think as a board, we could be a great example of how to listen respectfully, even if we totally disagree. And then if they would like to say something different, they can take their turn when it’s their turn. But um, I was very disappointed at the way the board meeting was conducted. The district attorney has contacted me to have me write up what happened and there, it just seems like the board is not going to respect differences of opinion. Unless there’s an investigation into what happened.

Would you mind just clarifying what it means to be a minority member of the board?

Yes. So the four board members, they’re all Democrats. They’re all, they are all endorsed or supported by the teachers union. And I am the only minority voice on the board because I am not a democrat and I’m not endorsed by the union. So I would be the independent voice on the board. Three of the board members ran together as a bloc in 2018. Jenny, Bill and Cindy they ran together and those three were elected as a slate and since they’ve been elected, they have been in lockstep and their vote counts almost as the three of them speak for the same people, because they were all elected together. And so I’m the only person that was elected from a different part of the community that doesn’t support what their perspectives are on many of the issues. And I just feel like my voice is super important. There’s so many families that count on me to represent their thoughts and their values and their viewpoints on the board. And the other four board members can represent the others, I’m always happy to read any board, comments that come into the board, I read all of them, whether they’re my own perspective or not, I try to give all of those perspectives. But I weigh carefully what I believe the majority of the community wants. And that is where my vote, usually lies is with the majority of the community like our last two, to get the kids back in school. 78% of the parents say they want the kids back in school. So that’s where my vote is.

When you bring up the statistic of the 78%, do you know when that survey was conducted?

Yeah, it was mid May, it went out, like I think like the 17th through the 21st, or something like that it could be wrong on the date. But it went out then. And the parents were asked if they would like to send their kids for a traditional model all day. And so they and 78% of the parents said they would like their children to return to campus for all day instruction in a traditional model, which isn’t the two and a half hours that we’re currently doing. So we haven’t really we haven’t really done what 78% of the parents wanted even even if we go back and we only provide two and a half hours, it’s still not what 78% of the parents asked for.

Has there been another survey since May? Would the percentage of families who said they would like to go back in-person have changed since then?

I think that perhaps it’s changed, but I think it will change toward going back because I even had one parent talk to me just yesterday. And she said I initially said that I would do, I would do half on campus half off. She said, but my child, my student who’s a high school student has autism, and he cannot continue with online learning. And she said, my, my husband and I are both, We both have to work all day. And he’s left at home by himself to get on the computer and to do his homework. And she said when I get home from work, I have to help him because he doesn’t have his aides and those kinds of things at school. And it’s becoming an emergency. There’s also so many kids who are depressed, who are sitting in their rooms, playing video games, who are not socializing at all. And school would be the opportunity to, you know, be in a safe space. We have the money to make sure that our schools are very safe for kids to come back with the masks and the social distancing. And the cleaning the desks and cleaning the classrooms and between cohorts and all those kinds of things. And there are so many kids that prefer that and also just for the younger kids. The all the parents that I have have reached out to me have all said that they want their kids back in school, a kindergarten parent just talked to me today and she said My daughter is online for two and a half hours and then she has a meltdown. She just can’t do it for two and a half hours a little kindergartner. And then she said the first time she stepped foot on campus for the first time was today when she got her pictures taken on campus. And it’s just sad that, you know, she’s a kindergartener, and they’re super excited about going back to school, but she hasn’t had a chance to be on campus yet. And so, I believe that if we did a survey, the number would go up.

What are your thoughts about distance learning itself? And do you think there are areas of improvement for the district?

Yeah, I do. Um, we’ve spent a lot of money, millions of dollars on programs to do distance learning. And it’s been a big learning curve for not only the teachers but the students and the parents. A lot of parents are concerned because they’re trying to learn Canvas as well. And it’s, it’s, it’s challenging. And we spent just millions of dollars really because it was on the last agenda, how much money we’ve spent on these online learning platforms. And, you know, quite frankly, nothing can replace in person instruction, especially for kids with disabilities and for their services and things like that. It’s just really difficult for some students to actually learn and have it be effective online. And it’s not so much that there’s any necessary necessarily a certain improvement that can be made. It’s just the online instruction itself just can’t replace in person instruction. But I would say that, you know, we need to keep in, continue to survey parents and ask them and survey the kids and ask them, I’ve heard so many students say that they wish that we would record the teacher’s lessons so that they could go back and review them. I have a friend who’s in another school district, and her son’s teacher does record the math instruction, and he can go back and review it. And she said, it’s awesome. So in some ways, it can even be a benefit. But we’re not doing that in our district right now, which is unfortunate, because I think that would benefit some of the kids who, you know, it’s hard to pay attention for two and a half hours on online and you’re seeing all of your friends in the in the other boxes, and it can be distracting and everything. And if you happen to get distracted, just at the time when someone’s explaining something important, you know, for you to finish your homework, it can be challenging. And I’ve also heard that for freshmen, it’s difficult because they don’t know a lot of the kids that are in their classes. So out here in Newbury Park, Sycamore has a lot fewer students, middle school students than than Sequoia. And so I heard from a parent that her student is having a hard time because she went to Sycamore, and she doesn’t know anyone in in a couple of her classes, she doesn’t know anyone. So she can’t ask the other people in the class like, Hey, can you help me remember this or anything like that. And they, her daughter’s really struggling because she was really looking forward to meeting new people and having that fun time your freshman year, you get to go to high school. And instead she’s feeling isolated, because she really, you know, it’s hard to as a freshman to just start saying, Hey, you know, reaching out to people in your class, when you don’t know them, it feels uncomfortable. Whereas if she was in the classroom, she would be making friends and be able to get answers to her questions from her fellow class members. And, you know, working in groups and that kind of thing and making sure that she understands the the, the material that’s being taught, but I think a good thing would be if the teachers could record their classes, and the kids could review it. But there’s so many things to improve. But there’s also, how much time should we spend improving, if we’re going to put the kids back into in person instruction? And how many kids are going to need to stay online? And how many teachers are going to continue teaching online? And with those teachers that continue on. Yes, I would say it’s money well spent, and I want them to keenly improve their skills.

How would you address the issue of students not having access to necessary technology outside of school? And also what are some things that you believe the district should be doing to support students and teachers?

Okay, so with the technology? That’s an excellent question, because I honestly believe that the Chromebooks aren’t, aren’t good enough, especially for our high school students. They’re not the same as a, you know, a regular computer. And I would like to see us trying to partner with maybe some of our community businesses to try to get real computers for the kids so that they have access to that. I also think that they need high speed internet, not just hotspots, because I’m hearing that so many kids are getting dropped. When they’re online, my son said that people will just be dropping off and and even here, where we live, we don’t always have really good internet connection. And especially now that everybody’s on zoom for work and, and for school, the internet slows down, even if you do have high speed internet. And I just feel like we can’t let kids fall behind and those who have enough money to be able to access all of those things to be doing better because they’re able to because they have a really nice computer, and high speed internet and all of those extras. And so I would like to see us partnering with some community members. I know there are people who would just love to help our students in any way they can we want them to succeed. And then could you remind me of your second half a year Question.

What should the district be doing to help support students and teachers?

Okay. So as far as online, I think the same thing, the teachers need the best computers, the fast, the high speed internet, they need access to technical help when they need it, when some, you know, we have technicians in our district that can help them when they can’t get logged in, or that they want to show something up on their screen. And they’re still learning how to do that. All of those things, I think we need to provide access to help as quickly and as easily as possible for the teacher so that they can use the technology that they’re given to the fullest, you know, ability of the technology. And then I think for students, it’s just the same thing. As I said before, I just really want them to be able to, you know, access, all the learning that’s going on at the same rate that those kids who have the high speed internet and the nice computers have, and then also that, that, you know, in some ways, it sounds like you know, two and a half hours is a long time to stay online. But there are private schools that actually have the kids online for six hours. And I’m really concerned for the students, especially seniors, and even juniors and actually all high school students, that we that you’re going to need to compete with students who are in school all day right now to get into college. And I’m concerned that we have fewer hours of instruction than a lot of other kids are accessing, and you’re going to be competing with kids from other states who are fully open and on campus. And that in person instruction is much better. It’s studied that it’s a much better way to learn. And so, you know, for the students, I say, let’s get you back to in person instruction as fast as we can safely in a very safe way, and let the parents and the students choose whether they feel it’s safe for them. And then those students who prefer online can remain online. And the teachers the same, they can remain online.

How do you plan on promoting equity and inclusion on our school sites?

Okay, well, this is a big question, because there’s a lot of equity and inclusion. First of all, we all need just what I talked about last time, everybody needs access to all of the technology, all of the ability to learn at the same level as everyone else, regardless of your socio economic level. And regardless of your language, barriers, all of that all of that needs to be addressed. I think that, that it’s very important, when we’re talking about equity and inclusion, that we remember that right now, the board is allowed to let students with disabilities, all students with disabilities, from k to 12, kindergarten through 12th grade, we are allowed to allow them to come back onto campus for their in person instruction and services. And we have not done that yet. We received notice in mid September that we were allowed to do that. And I think that that’s an emergency that the kids need to be allowed to come back. And I don’t think it should just be a few handpicked students that come back. But any student that has a disability, that the kids are struggling, especially, we have kids with autism, we have kids with ADD, we have kids with all kinds of learning disabilities, that the online platform is just not good for that certain disability. There’s studies done about kids with autism and screentime, that is there’s a negative impact of screentime. For those students. There’s just the services are not the same unless they’re in person. And I say we need to address those immediately. And, and do it in a way that’s very productive and effective. LA Unified did a study during the in the spring when the spring shutdown happened. We didn’t take attendance during the spring here in cvusd. But LA Unified did and they did a study, and they found that the Latino families and the black families were disproportionately harmed by on person in in person instruction. Because many of them thousands of them did not log in at all. And many of them just kind of dropped out or fizzled out and stopped going to school it was thousands of students And a lot of these students, their parents are both essential workers. And the kids were left at home to get their younger siblings onto the computer by themselves. And it just, it’s just, there’s a greater harm and a greater impact to students in certain areas certain at risk students, it was studied, that these students are particularly negatively impacted by the shutdown and not having in person instruction.

How would you promote a culture of inclusivity that would make students who are discriminated feel welcome on their school sites?

So I support all programs, that I support every program that teaches students to respect each other’s differences, especially with race, gender, religion, the way you dress, your opinions, all of those things need to be respected at school, and I think families a lot, many families in our district do a very good job of teaching their children to be respectful of all, all students. And there’s actually a lot of differences of opinion that come to the board on how to address how we ensure that the kids are respectful of differences. Some of these are controversial, like the, for example, some board members and some members of our community, when it comes to transgender students, they believe that in order for students not to discriminate against them and not and to learn not to bully them, that they need to teach all kindergarten through sixth grade students, that gender is a social construct, or that their gender was assigned at birth, and that the students can choose their own gender. And so there’s also a new law in the transport the transportation bill. And that law changed the definition of gender. And so that is some feel that that’s a way to address that. And other parents feel like that’s too young. And that it’s not, it’s not developmentally appropriate in kindergarten through sixth grade. So there’s a lot of ways to address it outside of that, such as, you know, teaching children to invite other kids to come into their friend, group. And, you know, there’s groups like at Thousand Oaks High School, we had a student that came in, she was really great. Um, she, she started a group that if there was a student city by themselves, they would go over and invite that student to come have lunch with them. And then the students started having lunch having someone to sit with, I know that some students go to the restroom, or somewhere, so that or to the library to hide out because they don’t have anyone to eat lunch with. And just to teach students to look around outside their own groups and look and see who is sitting by themselves, who feels lonely. It might be a new student on campus, it might be, you know, students that have disabilities, all all different things like that, and say, Hey, you know, come sit by us. Of course, this is back when we’re back on campus. But, you know, just reaching out to those students, there’s so many programs, we can have people come in, speakers come in and talk to the student body about being respectful of each other’s differences. And I think that our teachers are good examples of that. And I think most students are very good examples. And but there’s always room for improvement. So I am open to having different programs implemented that teach anti bullying and teach us to respect each other.

How do you think the best way to support transgender students in CVUSD at the elementary level?

At the elementary level, so I believe that every student deserves to be loved and respected and that is the same with transgender students. And when there’s a transgender student in an elementary class, I believe that they that class should have interventions that would be helpful and that the parents should be included and informed that the interventions will take place that help the kids understand that Student if it’s necessary, if the student would like that if the transgender student would like that not every transgender student feels like they need that. Or that they want that it would say work with the parents of the transgender student work with the parents of the other class to make sure that the student is, feels loved and respected, just like all the students in the class and that no one left out or teased or bullied in any way ever. So I would I would do it, I would address it on a case by case basis

Hypothetically, what kind of intervention would that be content be?

So sometimes the teacher will explain that. I mean, there’s many different ways of doing it. So I’m not sure what what teachers in our district have been doing, they’ve already been doing this for a number of years. So they probably talk to each other and figure out what the best ways to address that is in a developmentally appropriate way for the other children in the class so that the children understand. I know, for my daughter, she, she had a transgender friend, this is my middle daughter, who’s now 21. But when she was in middle school, between middle school and high school, the trans, her transgender friend transitioned, and I don’t think there were any interventions in the high school, but all the students knew to use the proper name that the student asked for, and all the students were respectful. I know, they would remind each other because, you know, they’ve known this student with a different name. And it was just a matter of letting the student know, hey, we want to respect you and support you, however, we can please, you know, correct me if I’m doing anything that you, you know, if if I slip up and say, you know, the wrong pronoun, or the wrong name, because I think that the kids in general are very loving and respectful of the transgender students. And we don’t want any transgender students to ever feel bullied or that kids are teasing them or anything like that. For K through six, it’s not required by law. Now, my opponent did bring up a lot. It’s ab 1266. But that law does not apply to gender identity curriculum, because it does not speak to curriculum. And it does not say anything about gender identity and that law, that law, is it anti discrimination and a sex, sex segregation law, and that law would not apply. But the school board even though there is no law, the school board can require our teachers or and or our counselors, we can require them to teach gender identity to all the students in K through six, if that’s what the school board chooses to do. I would be against that. I don’t think it’s developmentally appropriate. And it’s not required by law. But it is required by law for seventh grade and ninth grade health. And I believe that it should be presented in a developmentally appropriate way. And, you know, maybe there’s different curricula that we can look at to see which one best fits our community and that best fits what the children need to know.

What exactly do you find to be developmentally inappropriate for teaching students from K through six about gender?

Okay, actually, I have a book right here. It’s called “Who are you?” And so this is how the new law would be, would be taught to this is an example of the California Department of Education wanted to use this book to teach the five year olds to eight year olds, about gender identity. And this would this was in the framework for the health classes. And so this is how they would teach it. They would say, when babies are born, people ask. And then on this page, it says, Is it a boy or a girl? And then it says, babies can’t talk, so grownups make a guess by looking at their bodies. This is the sex assigned to you at birth, male or female. Sometimes people get this confused with gender but gender is much more than the body you are born with. And then it goes on to say that babies as babies grow up, they start to know what they like. And don’t like. And then it talks about what cisgender students, kids know a lot about themselves. Some people are only say there are only two genders, but there are really many genders, you are who you say you are, because you know you best. And so the California Department of Education, removed this book from their required reading list, because thousands of parents felt that this was not developmentally appropriate for the age five through eight. And this is why I believe. I’ve talked to psychiatrists and others who work with transgender students and have children. And they have told me that up until about the age nine or 10, the transgender, the the kids do not necessarily understand that they’re a boy or a girl in in a very concrete way. And so under that age, a lot of kids will play a lot of make believe, and that kind of thing. And they and they really believe they’re a firefighter, they really believe they’re a police officer. And so we should wait to teach these kinds of concepts until kids brains are developed in a way that they understand that some people can choose a differently than they choose. Does that make sense? That’s my position. I know that there are people who disagree with me, but that’s my position. And that’s the position of thousands of parents requested that the California Department of Education removed this book. And they did.

CVUSD is currently not compliant with the California Healthy Youth Act. If you were to win the school board election, how would you want to implement the Healthy Youth Act so that we are compliant?

This is an excellent question. Because I’ve been saying this for over two years, I’ve been saying we are not compliant. And the superintendent has said repeatedly that we haven’t gotten any letters and no one, no one is concerned about that. And so I was surprised, because in Orange County, if you’re not compliant, then you get a letter from the ACLU. But apparently we hadn’t gotten one. I support a curriculum called HEART. It’s fully compliant with the law. It’s very respectful of all world views. In fact, what it does is it has the students go home, after each lesson, it covers all of the areas, the required areas, and then it has them go home and interview their parents on what their family values are on those issues. And so it doesn’t need to, the classroom does not need to prevent present values to the children. The parents would do that. And then the kids come back as with the homework completed, and they’ve discussed it with their parents. That’s the one that I that I endorse.

What kind of like values does the curriculum talk about?

Um, so it covers a wide variety of things like dating, it talks about all different kinds of methods to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, although you can’t really prevent 100% of sexually transmitted disease, which is one of the problems that I had with the curriculum that we were discussing before COVID started. So they’re the new curriculum is going to talk about every kind of sexual sex that you can have. So that includes anal, oral, vaginal, all about stuff, and it would then talk about all the different ways to prevent disease or to try to prevent, to try to be as safe as possible. And so as far as values, the parents would then be able to discuss, you know, maybe like, one of the questions that I remember was, when did you first become sexually active? And how did you make that decision? So that would be with your parents that you discuss that it’s a great thing for kids to start discussing these things with their parents. It’s a, you know, discussion opener. And so, you know, sometimes it’s hard to talk to those things about those things with parents, and the kids would be able to bring it up as a means of their homework. And so they would say, Oh, I need to ask you these questions. And you know, it just be things like, what does our family believe about? You know, birth control, what is our, what do you think about abortion? What do you think about the different things that we bring up in the new curriculum?

One of the arguments for having those discussions about birth control and having protected sex is that students can sometimes go home to their parents and get medically inaccurate or very shaming responses from them. Does the HEART curriculum have anything to combat this? 

Yes. So when parents, first of all, you’re going to get medically accurate information on all of those things at school, the questions are just to follow up with the discussion. So you’re not going to go home and ask your parents to teach you all of the material that you’re supposed to learn in school, it’s just to get there, it’s just to get their opinion on those, those particular topics. So I actually believe that. So when I was being trained as a school counselor, I would often my, the counselor that I worked with, she would often work with kids that were pregnant, or they were trying to decide if whether to have an abortion or not to have an abortion, and she and I both always counseled them to talk to their parents. And, and the reason is because parents love their children more than anyone else, more than anything, even when teenagers don’t feel that they do. They do. And honestly, parents, if this discussion is too hard to have, what we would do is we would tell the student that we would have that discussion with them, and that they could invite the student into the, their parent to come to the office, and we would tell the parent, and then we would help facilitate a conversation between the parent and the student. And so I just think this is a great way to open up these conversations, because I think sometimes students feel like their parents are going to be judgmental, when actually, they, they want to have these discussions with you. And they want to know what’s going on. And they want to, they want to be part of your life. And I’m, I’m a big proponent of facilitating conversations between parents and students. Yeah, parents and their, and their children.

What are your thoughts on the English Language Learner program in our district? And do you have any ideas to improve these programs?

Well, first of all, they did a summer program for the English language learners that was supposed to help them to recover some of their learning loss. And once again, it was online. And I don’t think that that’s effective to have a learning loss, be an online program. So I was disappointed when the summer program was not in person, I don’t really think that learning loss for these students is going to be fixed until we get back on campus. And that’s why I’m such a huge proponent of allowing students with disabilities, students with English language, learning English language learners, and those students to get back to campus for in person instruction. I think that a lot of these students have high ability and that they’re learning their language skills are preventing them from maybe understanding material that they need to know in order to do well in some of the subjects because if you don’t have the language skills, and someone’s explaining a math program problem to you, you might be missing a lot of that just because of your language skills, but your ability is there. And I want I would prefer that the students have more one on one time, whether it be with volunteers, not not just paid professionals, but maybe volunteers if we can’t afford to always have paid professionals for after school tutoring. I just want These kids to thrive. And our current test scores for English language learners are not high enough. And I want these kids to thrive in our school. I know many of them are super bright. Learning a new language is really hard, especially if you come in when you’re already in high school or something like that. But I think that we just need to make sure that we’re that their lack of language ability is not inhibiting them from learning in all of the classes. So you know, science, English, all those other classes, if they don’t have the language skills, they’re going to struggle. I think that immersion is good. And I know that when my friends and my son’s volleyball team, his mom told me, she she works with those students, she’s a PE teacher down in Oxnard, and they have a large population of English language learners, and she says they do immersion, and that she thinks it’s very effective. So I would look into all of those because we want these students excelling. We want them to do it there, you know, so that when they graduate, that they’re able to go out and achieve just as every other student.

In Oxnard, they also do it the other way, where a lot of native English speakers actually start taking Spanish at kindergarten level. Would you be in support of something like that of having immersion both ways?

Well, yes, that’s interesting. Because if they can’t write Spanish, it’s hard. If all they do is speak Spanish, it might inhibit them from learning. So I’m, you know, having them be bilingual. and teaching them both languages is is great. I mean, I want them to have all the skills that they can possibly have. And they, it you know, these students can be a great asset in our community, because they speak the language fluently the Spanish, if they have the written skills as well, then they can go in, they can be interpreters, they can do they can work, the jobs that we have nurses, we we need doctors that speak Spanish, all these things, I want all that for the kids and, you know, engineers, all of it there’s by being bilingual is is a great thing. But what about specifically happening? Maybe native English speakers taking Spanish from the kindergarten level that they do in other district? Oh, yes. I think I think we should be doing immersion, I think we should be teaching language, whether it’s Spanish, French, German, Chinese, I mean, you have to start at a young age, if you look in your at Europe, they start at the very youngest age, and the kids learn the language much better. They are like little sponges when they’re little. And they remember those, the languages that they learn at young ages. And, you know, I think a lot of parents who are having these, you know, immersion programs where the kids are taught in a foreign language.

What is your thought process when evaluating books to be implemented on the list?

Well, first of all, I want it to be rigorous. I want it to have a high reading Lexile, I want it to have a lot of vocabulary building, I want it to have excellent writing, I want the kids to get more than just entertainment from the book, when it’s for an English class I want it to be I want them to learn English skills from the book. That’s my top priority. And I think that many parents would agree with me. Um, I also then, and I hope that that’s the books that are being brought forward to us, I vote for all the books that are brought forward. And the reason is because I believe that the teachers, if they give us a good reason to bring forward the book, which they justify their reason and everything like that, that they should be able to use those books. But I also believe that some of our books, there’s just a handful that contain graphic descriptions of child rape, like one of our books, describes a father for example raping his nine year old daughter and the detail is so graphic that it’s very, very troubling. And even for someone who’s not an abuse victim, but one in 10 of our students under the age of 18 are the victims of sexual abuse. And we need to be mindful of that when we’re handing kids. Books. I’m saying read this for an assignment. And I am a proponent I, I don’t mind voting for books, I want the books to be vetted properly. And I will always bring up if I have a concern with how rigorous it is, or if it doesn’t, you know, the vocabulary is low, like the Part Time Indian book that we voted on a couple years ago only had a third grade reading level, and it’s for ninth graders, I didn’t think that that was appropriate. Um, but I just think that when there’s something graphic in there that could be disturbing, especially to sexual assault victims, but to other students who have different sensibilities, that we should give them an awareness that that material is in there and let them I my choice was to put an asterisk by those books. And then the teacher would give them a different book that was pre selected and that the student can choose that book. But then what happened is they removed the asterisk, and the student is required to go to the go the library or some other place for the rest of the unit. And I feel like when the board did that, it causes a chilling effect on students who really want to ask for another book, but they don’t. They don’t want to be embarrassed by everybody in the class, say, Where have you been for the last three weeks? You know, Oh, I didn’t want to read that book with child rape. Well, why didn’t you want to read that book with child rape? Well, I don’t really want to talk about it. It’s, it’s not really anyone’s business, when a student chooses a different book, why they did it or so I think that, you know, if the student chooses to not be in there, when the when the graphic rape is being discussed, that’s one thing, but to have the student leave for the whole unit is, um, it can embarrass students, and I’m against that. But on as a rule of thumb, I vote for all all of the books, but I prefer for us to be very transparent about the content, if there’s something graphic in there that could potentially be disturbing to abuse victims.

Usually, when we read a book in the classroom, there’s a lot of discussion that happens around the book. And so if a child chooses to opt out, they would have to  listen to that discussion. So do you think that having the child not hear the discussion takes precedence over them feeling embarrassed?

I don’t, I think it should be left up to the student and their parents. And so for example, the way that it used to be before all of this was a student could stay in the classroom, and the student would just be quietly doing their work. And no one else knew that they weren’t reading that book. And so then when the policy changed, a younger sibling said, “Well, I want to be able to stay in the classroom, because it’s embarrassing, because everybody knows I’m not reading the book.” Now, the class discussions do not read over and over the child rape scene. And there might be one day when you talk about it, but I doubt it, it goes on and on. And also that student is not really paying attention, necessarily, because they’re doing their other work, like they’re working on their assignment that was assigned to them. And I just trust students to know themselves and to know what they can and can’t listen to as far as or, or read as far as their own sensibilities, and I don’t want to, you know, be up at night worrying that for any reason I’ve triggered a student or cause re-traumatization because of an assignment at school, and that’s where my position has always been on this. And I, I just feel like it’s the respectful and the right thing to do. And it also builds trust with parents when they know that when something like that is assigned, that they’ll always have a heads up, and I believe that most parents will still give their children permission, but maybe they might read the book along with them, which I think is a great thing and they can discuss it at home. But I do feel that we have a responsibility to be respectful to the one 10th of our students who have had abuse in their background.

Do you believe that the current core literature for CVUSD represents a diverse set of perspectives, or if not, how do you plan ensuring that everyone’s voice and perspective is represented in the curriculum that we have?

 

That’s a great question. Because I’ve brought this up many times. So we have a book called, I think, if I can remember what’s called a, it’s about the Japanese internment camps. I’ll remember it in just a second. So that book is not written by a Japanese author. It’s written by a white author, but it’s supposed to talk about, you know, give us perspective about Japanese internment camps. And I’ve had Japanese friends and Chinese friends read it, and they’re, they’re not happy with the book, because they said, We have so many better, we have so many better books to represent that culture, and what happened, then that book, and so I think that there’s some room for some changes, that ones I can’t remember the name of that. So no, I don’t think it necessarily reflects all the diversity in our community. And I think if it were up to me, you know, cuz I’m on a five person board, and it has to be majority of the board members, I would have groups from the different cultural groups that we want to have represented, I would have them read books, and discuss among themselves, which they think represent and I’m talking about adults, discuss what they think would best represent their culture and how they would want the kids to see their culture, and how this come from a diverse within that cultural group, how the group be diverse as well. Because, you know, just because someone all has the same culture doesn’t mean that they’re not diverse. Um, and so I think that we could probably get better books for some of the the groups that we feel we are representing in our curriculum.

What are your thoughts on social emotional learning in the classroom, such as teaching self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making?

Well, this is a good question for me, because I, I was trained in my school counseling that that is the counselors job to to do these kinds of social emotional lessons. So when I was doing my training, I would work with kids, I would go to say, for example, in elementary school, and there was fifth graders, and there would be a group that the teachers had selected that maybe needed some work with social skills. And we would work on the social skills during their lunch period or whatever, we’d have lunch together. And we would work on different social skills and that kind of thing. whole class interventions are actually pretty tough to do, even if you’re a trained professional. Because when you’re teaching these important skills, there’s so much diversity in a whole class, that it’s hard to address all the needs. And you also need to have a safe place to discuss some of these things. And that is established over time when you’re in a group setting. And so to really have a meaningful group, you you need to establish like that, that the group will keep things confidential, that the group trusts each other, you know, you have to build those trusts. So for the social emotional lessons, I think, you know, I think that most of that belongs with the school counselors that they should be working on that I don’t think that during the shutdown, that we should be spending 10 or 15 minutes of the precious two and a half hours of instruction, time doing social emotional learning. I think that maybe once a week by the counselor would be adequate. And I think that professionals, counselors are professionals for a reason they’re trained, they’re rigorously trained, it is not something that you can just learn easily, you know, you go through hours and hours of training you have you, you audio record, everything that you do, your supervisor reviews that make sure that you’re using all of the proper methods, everything is done through theory and has to be science based. So it’s a very, it’s a very distinct skill set, to be able to do social emotional lessons. And I think, you know, I am an advocate for things like I saw something on on a program where they were bringing a baby in once a month, and the classroom, got to observe the baby and they were seeing Oh, the baby is the teacher. He had a little T shirt on that said, I’m the teacher. And then all the kids got to guess what the baby wanted. So the baby would be in there, you know. And if the baby was crying, they’d say maybe the baby’s hungry. Well, they found that by bringing that baby into class that this group of at risk students they were it was in an area of I think these were in Kelp, Canada, actually. But they found that the the group became much more empathic after learning about baby, and to be able to read cues from the baby because they started watching each other’s cues and saying, oh, that I hurt that person’s feelings. Because sometimes, believe it or not, some kids have not learned to read facial cues, because they haven’t been given a lot of adult attention. And they don’t understand, you know, what, what the face facial expression is for sad or mad or annoyed or that was one thing that I worked with the fifth graders is I would show them flashcards or I would I would do a facial expression, have them guess what my, what my mood was. Because, you know, that’s an important skill as you grow up, that you’re able to read people’s emotions without having them tell you. And so, you know, there’s a lot of stuff that can be done with social emotional learning, I’m just not sure that it needs to be done every day. And until we get back to the classroom full time. And I do think that professional counselors should be the ones doing the social emotional lessons.

What is your opinion on how the district on the district’s current programs for students with disabilities?

Well, I mean, as far as, like I’ve said multiple times, as far as there are programs right now, I think they’re lacking because they’re not on campus. We’re trying to do more inclusion, once the kids when the kids were on campus, and once the kids returned to campus, I think that’s a very good thing to be doing. Because I think the kids learn a lot from each other, both the student who has the disability, and the students who do not have a disability, it’s the same kind of thing, as I was just talking about, they can learn empathy, they can learn to be caring to be helpful. And the same thing with the student with disabilities, they are making friends, outside of, you know, outside of a smaller classroom, they get to know other people on campus, they, I think that, you know, we should be inviting each other to sit with each other at lunch, all of those kinds of things. So as far as our programs, I think we can always improve, I think we’re trying to improve as far as disabilities, I think we can do better in a lot of areas. But, you know, our budget is always stretched for these things. And we just need to, you know, move mountains for the kids with the budget that we have, strike, to get them ready to, you know, do great things when they graduate from high school, every student deserves to get an excellent education and to achieve the highest level of ability that they possibly can so that they can go on to a bright future after their graduation. And this includes all the students with disabilities. And I also think it’s important to teach coping skills, some of the disabilities come with having attention deficit disorder, or having anxiety, this can be testing anxiety, all those kinds of things. And I think that coping skills can be learned to help the students breathing exercises. You know, I’ve worked with a lot of kids doing these different things and you know, earplugs. If they get easily distracted, during testing, just all kinds of different things, we should be using every method possible so that we can help the students and one thing that I always was trained to do when I was in my counseling is students that have high risk for not graduating, we always tried to remove any barrier, like they didn’t really even need to give us a lot of explanation. So if they weren’t really learning a lot from a particular teacher, whether it was just their personalities, didn’t mesh or whatever, we allowed them to change classes very easily. We wanted to give that student everything to set them up for success. And I totally, you know, believe that I believe that we are only as good of a school district as, as our as our students, you know, the lowest test scores, basically, I want everybody to be high achievers to be doing, you know, fulfilling their, their abilities, just being able to do everything that they’re able to do and so removing barriers the counselors can do that, putting them in classes with teachers that they will learn from. There’s a lot of different things that we can do.

What your thoughts are on how CVUSD is helping students who have anxieties?

Well, grades is an interesting thing. Because, you know, sometimes grades are a matter of getting a good grade as a matter of maturity. Because you have to turn in your assignments on time, you need to be responsible, you know, not forget things, all that kind of stuff. And but it’s not always necessarily reflective of someone’s abilities. And a lot of times standardized testing can make up the can really show that because a student who’s actually a B average can then have a have a really high test score, which then shows that their ability, their intelligence, or their ability to understand concepts, and all of that is much higher than their grades are reflecting that makes sense. And so what I would tell students, first of all, is to take the classes when you’re choosing classes, so at least at Newbury Park, high school, there’s many different levels that you can choose from, we have IB, we have AP, we have honors, and CP, I would say that if you are really interested in a topic, then you can go ahead and take that AP, or honors or even IB class and those topics, because you know, you’re going to be more driven, because that’s something you really love to learn. But if it’s a class that, you know, maybe, maybe it’s not your favorite subject, and maybe you need to take a CP class, just you know, sometimes I think kids put themselves in all the highest level classes, even when they’re when it’s not really necessary even to get into college. It depends on your college, because I know that the you know, the GPA changes if you’re taking those higher level classes. But I think that high school is a time that you’re learning what you’re interested in. And you don’t need to take the highest level class for every single subject if something really isn’t interesting to you. And then I would say that grades are important, especially if you want to go to college. They are important and it is stressful. But I I’m a big proponent of just keep plodding along plodding along, maybe not looking so much at your grade, but in the and you’re going to get the better grade, if you don’t worry so much about the grade. But you just are doing your best doing your best turning in those assignments, asking questions of the teachers getting help when you need help, using all the resources at at the school like for, to have tutoring or asking coming before and after school to ask teachers questions. Because it is a skill, I would say a skill to learn to get good grades, it’s a skill. And so don’t give up on yourself. Don’t say oh, I’m just a C student, I can never do better because it is a learned skill. And even if as long as you’re always improving, improving your ability to do well on tests, improving turning in your assignments, I would say that I would be very proud of you. And not to be too hard on yourself. And life is very long. And I know a lot of people who even change careers, midlife, and also who may not get into college right after they graduate, but they go on to get a job and something that maybe they don’t love. And then they go back to college later. And they when their brain is maybe a little more developed and that kind of thing. And they do they excel, and they go on to do other things. And so I would say don’t be too hard on yourself. Love yourself, recognize when you’re doing your best and you know, maybe the C is your best. And so grades are important. But I don’t want anyone you know, worrying so much about it that they think their life is over. You know, they think that they can’t achieve their goals. If they get a C, I have a son just as an example. He got a C in one of his classes, and he told me it was his favorite class. But now he’s at Yale, doing a pre doctoral program. So that’s just a great example of you know, sometimes you don’t always excel in every class in high school, and you might be disappointed in your grades. But that doesn’t mean that you know you can’t excel in college you can’t do excellent get excellent scores on your standardized test. There’s so many ways to achieve your dreams.

How do you think the district should support students who have conditions like ADHD? 

While students that are diagnosed with ADHD can have extra time on things, they can have something called an IEP, which gives them a 504. That gives them certain accommodations for that disability that’s considered a disability. And I hope this isn’t sharing too much about my son, but that son that I just told you about, went all the way through school and all the way into his pre doctoral program having ADHD and he was just diagnosed. And so he had to work twice as hard. Because he had a disability and he never knew it. And now he says, he, he, it’s like, night and day, because he’s taking a medication that helps him. And I would recommend that students work with their doctor and their parents to find something that helps you because it’s not, there’s no shame in having a disability, like you said, it’s not your fault, it’s just part of your chemistry and everything else and get the help you need. And if you’re having a hard time focusing, you know, there’s there, you should probably be tested, and keep working toward figuring out why why you’re struggling, if it feels like this just isn’t normal. I know, kids have dyslexia, they don’t always get diagnosed right away. You know, these kids work twice as hard as everybody else. But in order to, you know, learn the minimum amount of things, but I just think, keep working, keep, keep trying to figure out what you’re, you know, trying to cope with your struggles, but also learning that there are other help Sometimes kids have, have a, something that’s happened to them, and they can’t focus because of it. And sometimes going to counseling can really help. And no one should be ashamed of that either. Because, you know, you can’t do well in school if you’re worrying about, you know, a divorce or we’re, you know, your parents are getting divorced, or there’s abuse, or there’s, you know, a lot of yelling, or you can’t sleep at night, because of, you know, lights on all the time or whatever. Just Just realize that, you know, there’s help, and you can go talk to the counselors at school, they can refer you to counselors in the community. And we want every student to overcome and learn to cope and manage with any of their disabilities and to still achieve regardless of those disabilities. Got it. And just

I personally heard stories about students with diagnosed ADHD actually being denied a 504 plan four or five times, do you think that’s a policy that should be changed?

Um, you know, my personal philosophy is if it’s going to help the student achieve and feel, feel self esteem, you know, have that self esteem and have that positive reinforcement that I am a proponent of helping them. So I’m not one to deny kids, if I was the counselor, that’s just, you know, but different counselors have different, different expectations and different bars that kids need to pass. And, you know, this is California. So they’ve got to meet all the requirements that California requires. But I want kids to have all the tools that they can to succeed. And that’s the most important thing to me. So I would be supportive of anything that came to the board that supported kids, if they’re struggling, I want them to succeed, and how can we get them to succeed?

What would be your top priority for district spending? And do you think that the district could better allocate its funds?

That’s a great question. Um, yes, I do think the district could better allocate its funds. I think that more of our funding needs to go into the classroom and into the site, the school sites, I think we spend more money than we probably should right now on administrative positions and administrative work at the district office. And I think that we need to really focus our funds on the student, the individual student achievement and the classroom and helping the teachers with aides and custodians to make sure the classrooms are clean for the students when they come back, you know, during COVID. So my top priority for funding is always going to be whatever benefits the student and that we have. We need to have data that will show me that that is successful. So if we’re going to spend money on a program, I want to see the data that shows that that program is going to do what it says it’s going To do whether it’s for the English language learner students, whether it’s for the gifted students, whether it’s for students with disabilities, any students, I want to see that the program is the most successful, that it can be that we get the best resources, you know, as far as curriculum and all of those things, and then we implement it really well. And then we keep data as far as to see how it’s doing. And we reassess it at least once a year, we reassess the program to see how we can improve it. And if it’s not doing well, if we’re not, if we’re not improving, if we’re taking, say, if the students and the parents, if we send them a survey, and they said, Oh, that’s that we don’t really like this program, then we figure out how we can improve it, or we scrap that one and do a different one that’s more effective. So I want to see test scores, student achievement, grades, all of that improve whenever we spend money in the classroom, I want to see, you know, even our students who are low achieving, traditionally low achieving students, I want to see their their scores going up all of that. So just the effectiveness of the program, I would put the money in the classroom. I wouldn’t really vote for anything right now, that doesn’t impact the classroom directly.

How would you address low funds given that custodial service and cleaning supplies that will now be more necessary because of COVID?

Okay, so the district received $10 million from the federal government to ensure that all of our schools are safe, because of COVID. And also to help with learning loss, a lot of that money has been spent on computer programs and online, online things. And I think that we need to spend much more money on on starting to look forward to keeping our classrooms clean, and custodians are one position at our school that we can hire, we can hire those people on a short term basis. And right now we are asking the custodians to clean far too many classrooms. It’s way too many classrooms for how clean the classrooms need to be. So I think we need more custodians, I think we need to also the same custodians that are supposed to be cleaning the classrooms, they do setups and tear downs for different activities that are going on, they’re running errands, they’re doing all this other stuff, when, you know, they they need to just be focused on getting those classrooms clean from top to bottom for both our students and our teachers, because we don’t want people getting COVID because the classrooms weren’t clean enough. So um, you know, that would be my I would just say that we need to probably we’ve spent enough on computer programs, and we need to start focusing on the schools and getting the schools ready for the kids to come back.

You voted no on the LCP plan for this year. What was your reasoning behind this?

So my reason, there were several reasons One was the custodians. First, they wouldn’t let me participate in the deliberations. And so none of them heard what my, what I wanted to have changed. And so none of that was even considered during before we voted. So therefore, I didn’t feel like I should vote yes, when they didn’t take any of my, consider my deliberations into consideration. So one of them was there was nothing in the LCAP, talking about having more custodians and how we’re going to keep our classrooms really clean for the kids. The second one is they want to only allow K through second grade to return to campus at first, once we get the waiver. And I completely disagree with this approach. I believe that the law requires us to provide in person instruction to the greatest extent possible. That’s a quote from 545353504. It’s Government Code 53504. And that that Government Code indicates that in the 2020 2021 school year, which is this school year, that we need to provide in person instruction to the greatest extent possible. So if we have a waiver, and we’re allowed to let all kindergarten through sixth graders back and we say Oh, but we’re only going to allow the K through second at first. I believe that we are not, we’re not doing what the law requires. So the lot because we are allowed to do it, we should be doing it and I believe the same thing with the students with disabilities. We are allowed to let those students back on campus so we should be able to We should be bringing them back onto campus right now, and giving them their services and in person instruction in person. And so it’s a difference that I have with the current school board, they, they have a different approach to opening the schools than I do. I believe it’s an emergency, I believe that there are many kids who are struggling. There’s depression, there’s suicidal ideation, there’s kids left home alone, when when the both of their parents are essential workers, there’s kids dropping, you know, their computers are not, they’re not able to have their computer connection isn’t good enough for them to really learn a lot on the online program that we’re using. And I just think that we need to allow those students back. And it’s up to the students and the parents whether they will come back, if we’re not going to force anyone to come back, that doesn’t feel that it’s safe, of course, and same with the teachers, no teacher will be forced to come back to campus if they don’t feel safe. And but the ones who do want to come back need to be allowed to come back. And so that’s a big difference. And I voted no, just on those two reasons. There was like so many I wrote, I had a list of probably 50 things. But my computer my they kept shutting off my mic, and I couldn’t finish. So I didn’t get to bring all of those up. But I had a list of about 50 reasons to that I just agreed with within that document. And it should be stated that Dr. Connelly and Mrs. Goldberg wrote the document. And so of course, they didn’t have questions or concerns. So, um, they were on the committee that wrote the document. And so I was at, you know, I’m one of the board members who is out of the loop, because I’m not in the majority. And I had a lot of questions, and I was not allowed to ask them. So I voted no, because of the sixth grade that they were only allowing K through second back. And I voted no, because it didn’t address the need for more custodians.

Why do you think CVUSD has faced declining enrollment? And how do you think we can combat that?

That’s a great question. So according to our website, um, the enrollment that was listed on our website, we’ve lost over 1000 students this year, just this year in one year, that’s 1000 students. That’s as many students as we’ve lost three years prior to that, maybe even four, it was a big drop. And even if they said that the data that was on the website isn’t correct, so then it was more or less a ton of students us like three elementary schools worth of students that did not come back this fall. I believe that many parents leave the district because they have a concern. And their concern is not adequately addressed, that they, whoever it is that speaking to the parent about that concern, the parent does not feel either respected or does not feel that the district is going to change what the parent is not happy with. Um, I think we need to be much more concerned about what we would call customer service, and providing a lot of options for parents, I do love the fact that we now have more kids in our homeschool program, I think it’s great that we have a homeschool program, century Academy is a great thing. For Kids who, you know, need that kind of program that’s more flexible, if they’re doing sports, or you know, they’re professional athletes, that kind of thing. Um, but, you know, inside the classroom, we need more flexibility as well. And we just can’t be losing all these students, or we’re going to be closing schools, because we can’t afford every 1000 students represents about $10,000 and $10 million in our funding, and that is a lot of money. And we can’t, you know, we can’t afford as many teachers we can’t afford, as many custodians, we can’t afford as many administrators, you know. And so that would mean that we would have to perhaps even look at closing schools, which I just do not want to close any schools, I think our schools are heart of our neighborhoods. So we have to increase enrollment. And I think it starts with customer service, figuring out what’s going wrong. And, you know, keep working on it until we can wait till we make it right. And so the parents don’t take their students out.

Do you have any ideas to boost student voices in the district?

 

Okay, well, first of all, you know, the little kids, their parents are usually their advocates. Um, so for elementary school, I think we need to look to the parents and even for middle school. For high School, the students want to have more of a say, but I feel like even with the current, you know, student groups that not every voice is represented. And it’s, you know, it’s just too bad. I try to try to make it more diverse, but they said that, you know, some of the diversity that I was talking about was not necessary. And, you know, I just think before, we form a student group, that we need to make sure that the students are very diverse in thinking in perspective, and political views, and religion, and just all of that, and, you know, we just want to make sure that no student feels left out and that their voice is heard, because as soon as one student like, so the board is elected by the public. So when we speak, we speak for the public. But when a student speaks for all students, like say, for example, someone calls in and says, I just want to give you the student perspective, that student is not elected, so they really are speaking for themselves. Um, the board is held accountable to the community because we’re elected. So if we don’t represent the community, well, we don’t get reelected because the community can hold us accountable. And so I think as far as getting student feedback, I think we should actually do more surveys for every student, like survey all the students, and you know, we can rely on student groups for some things, but I think for other things like with COVID and all that we need to interview, we need to do a survey for all the students. And then as far as the little kids, I think we really need to listen to the parents.

What is your position on lowering the voting age?

I don’t really think the voting age needs to be lowered.

Recently, there’s been a photograph circulating showing you and several other people inside of your campaign office building by Newbury Park High School, and the people in that photo, including yourself did not appear to be wearing masks and were not social distancing. How do you respond to those who may say that this behavior is inappropriate in regard to limiting the spread of COVID and reopening schools?

Okay, first, I want to just address masks in general. The California Department of Public Health recommends that face masks or face shields for very young children at age two or older, so that those who cannot manage masks can nonetheless be protected. California Department of Public Health guidance requires all children in third grade or later to wear masks. increasing evidence suggests wearing masks or face coverings can significantly decrease COVID-19 disease transmission. Other countries’ experiences such as China and Singapore suggest that virtually all students can be taught to handle face coverings. And then the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom provided the following guidance, he issued strong mask requirements for anyone in the school. In the updated guidance all staff and students in third grade and above will be required to wear a mask or face covering, students in second grade and below are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering, students should be provided a face covering if they do not have one, the state has delivered over 18 million face coverings to school to support them to reopen and ensure all students can participate in learning. However, I do not question people, when they don’t wear a mask, I don’t tell them to wear a mask, because that’s their choice. Um, some people have a medical condition where they cannot wear a mask. And it is our personal responsibility to stay six feet apart. And I do find it concerning that someone took a picture of minors, and then posted it online without their parents permission. Just to say, I was standing by the food table, and we were having snacks and drinks so that that is allowed. But, you know, I just don’t think that we should all get into the position of I mean, I think the kids call it being a Karen where you, you know kind of tattle on each other. Because honestly, there are people who can’t wear masks for medical reasons, and it’s serious, you know, they have serious medical conditions where they can’t wear them. And I hope that when the kids are back at school that they will be understanding that there are students that can’t wear masks, and that even the guidance from the California Department of Public Health says that if a student has a health reason to not wear a mask that they don’t have to wear one, but I do think for your own safety if a student is not wearing a mask, and you are you should stay six feet from that student, but that we are going to have students that come back and do not choose not to wear masks, there are second grade and lower is not required. And, you know, I just think it’s unfortunate that someone I know that the parents were particularly upset about a picture being posted online that had minor children in them. So that’s my response.

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