Q&A with the School Board Candidates: Marlon Williams

What experiences have prepared you to be on school board?

Well, working in the school district has prepared me for it and also my education. I’ve been going to school at [California State University] Channel Islands majoring in liberal studies. I’ve been learning a lot about education in my major and learning about what’s involved in the whole process of educating youth. As far as with the school board, that’s just something I really don’t know what to expect, until if at all, if I even get in there. Just like any job, or anything that you do, you might hear about it, but you don’t know exactly what you’re getting into. For example, when you were getting involved in the newspaper, is this what you expected?

I guess there are some differences, yeah…

I’m not really sure what’s going to prepare anybody for the school board besides keeping up to date with the current issues.

So why do you want to be a school board member?

If I can just kind of paint a picture:

How does your campus look after lunch?

There’s a lot of trash.

Oh yeah. It’s not they don’t think that it’s only your school, it’s almost every school. So is this behavior something that is taught at school or is it something that is brought from home to school?

From home probably.

So my curiosity is- because I’ve seen it, I don’t know how people grow up living to like just take their stuff and throw it on the ground and expect somebody else to take it up. it’s huge, it’s a huge issue. I’m not saying that that’s an issue of the school board, but just to paint a picture, do those same students do treat their home in the same manner as they treat their school? If you go to your house do you just toss stuff out, throw it wherever, expect someone else to pick it up for you, or are parents teaching students how to be responsible, how to be people who are going to live in society where you’re gonna be responsible beings.

Aside from that, now how do people treat their environment? Do they do the same thing? The reason why I’m running for school board is because I would like to introduce a new way of life to all students where we are being respectful of ourselves, respectful of each other, respectful of our environment, because this is our home. And if we continue to live the way we are, trashing our home, well it’s other people’s homes too, but it won’t be much of a home to call it if it’s malfunctioned. Not just in the school setting, but in the world setting. When each of you, when each of us step out into the world, how do we contribute to society?

So, I was an environmental studies major some years back, and the environment is a big deal to me because we see carbon emissions, I don’t know how much you care about your air quality, but it’s gross it’s getting worse, I really think we have a lot of potential in our school district to educate out students to be better prepared and to help out with whatever it is that we can in our future. We have to start changing our patterns. I find the issue in gasoline, in using out fossil fuels, not to say this is apart of any students in the school district, but I found that students have come out of this district who have huge potential of being great leaders or role models or people who could make a difference, make a change.

Somebody from your school, some years back, for a science project, she collected muscles from the beach, and every day or two, she’d go back and forth collecting ocean water to keep the muscles alive because she was studying and doing research on muscles, and in turn, she found out how to use the adhesive, or how they attach to rocks, and I think now they are trying to figure out how to use that same type of structure in surgeries.

And I think we have the potential to do things like this not just one person from one school, but I think that many schools have the capability of becoming really great environmental positive influences.

Let’s see,when I was in school,  I don’t know what you guys learned, but I think sixth grade I learned how to make an electro magnetic motor.. Have you ever done anything like that?

I don’t know if it’s happening right now in school districts, but why aren’t we taking some of the things that would be beneficial for our resources, and applying it to our learning so that we can use that for our future.. Not just mine and yours but for everybody. So I’d like to implement a structure or a system in our education. It’s just going to be a lot more helpful for everybody’s general wellbeing.

So how do you hope to implement that as the school board member?

I would like to help with starting some recycle programs maybe, do you guys have those?

Someone who is really good at this sort of thing. Her name’s Fallon and she’s really. Into everything. So she’s really on top of it all.

Has anybody ever discussed maybe solar energy use at schools?

I know it’s come up but I don’t know if that’s ever happened.

That’s something, I feel like it’s not going to not. We tend to like to put down other people in order for us to feel better happen, I’m not saying it’s going to, but I see it happening a lot more in other districts, in park districts and in other school districts, I see solar panels being placed in different places- parking lots or on top of buildings, stuff like that.. So I would like to improve that.

So what are your main concerns specifically to our school district?

How do you feel about, how is the bullying situation at your schools?

I think it exists, it’s just not very, people aren’t very aware of it.

People aren’t aware; Alright so I can make this go right down to schools- people in general, we’re spending most of our energy our energy into being destructive, whether it’s physically or emotionally, we tend to like to put down other people to feel better about ourselves or whatever the reasoning maybe. If we took that same energy that we use towards being destructive and we used it for being productive, I feel we could be a lot more than-, I couldn’t even imagine what we could do. But what we need to do is start working together in unity so that we can live with each other, understand each other’s cultural or religious backgrounds so that we are not spending so much time being confused about each other and putting that destructive force at each other, you know what I mean? So within the school district, if I could be at least any kind of role model to  influence the children to be more productive positively instead of negatively. What you’re saying is that people aren’t so aware. Now I’m wondering about the technology because there’s also cyberbullying. I believe that’s where it’s gotten to now because people can’t be viewed. There’s a physical wall. There’s a missing link to who that person is. Now somebody can go and easily use that destructive force to put people down on the internet. I’m just wondering how tolerable it is. Why do people do it, or even if there’s a purpose. People just like to be mean. I don’t know why. I would like to help our school district not be a mean school district so that we can benefit from everything we do, whether it’s technology, or if it’s in using our agriculture, or if it’s in our sports,maybe most of us need to learn to be team players and we aren’t sure how to do that; I’m not sure. I can only go by what I have kind of observed, so within our school district, I feel we have very good potential to be a positive district. Some of the top students in the state, hopefully when we graduate, whatever we plan on doing, we can go and be educators, that’s what I’d like to see… people going and teaching other people how to do things that are beneficial for society.

So how would you go about enforcing the idea of putting that energy to better use?

Well, I would definitely say programs that are designed towards students who need some type of assistance. Not to say assistance, but who are lacking that role model help. I think it’s around, but the thousand oaks teen center is one good source that helps with the students. I find that there are some students need to find certain people who they can relate to or talk to. Like admin or counselors- guidance people who are available for any type of need for the students.

What is your view on the  use of technology in classrooms?

We aren’t going to be able to get away from our technological advances and it’s going to be necessary to have it in the schools. Teachers and admin are using it for grades… there are many pros and cons. A pro is: it’s helpful. The only problem is, I find everybody is on their devices and they aren’t getting the physical activity they should be getting. And I think this contributes to the overweight issue, I don’t want to say obesity, but our overweight issue of the students because too many students are sitting in front of their computers playing video games looking at social media stuff, maybe not getting their educational needs satisfied. You know, I would not like to hear about stories about kids who just sit in their seats and urinate on themselves because they don’t want to get up from their video game- it’s horrible. Hopefully what we can do is have a lot more parent involvement, so when the kids aren’t at school, it would help with their learning. Parents learning so they could understand what the kids are learning. Sometimes there’s issues with multiple language barriers, and I think if we get some parents involved, it would help break down that barrier with languages and help with computers and technology. As far as languages, I think we should start speaking spanish and learning our spanish in elementary school and then picking up a third language if there is one, if it’s not just english in high school or junior high because there is a, I’ll just say I was somewhere in a non-english speaking place, and I asked what motivates them want to speak english, and they said better opportunity. And that woke me up. Better opportunities? Let’s go learn more languages. It presents better opportunities for our students. They are able to use parts of their brain they aren’t used to, learning instruments and musical instruments helps, and getting more involvement in extracurricular activities in awesome.. Getting involved in education.

Are there any changes you might want to make to the general education curriculum?

Yes and no. I do think that the curriculum is fine as it is, and if there were some sort of adaptations that were needed, I would say we need to teach students how to survive. Most students come to school and they don’t know how to  make their own lunches. If they do bring a lunch, their parents are making them, or they have to buy lunch, but simple things- how to survive, how to wash your clothes- I find that students don’t know how to do that even. I think there are certain things we need to know how to do, and whether it’s learning it at school or learning it at home, our schools are very very responsible for the education of all the youth, everywhere, all over the place, or at least in our district, learn how to do this so you know how to do that later in the future. But if we can’t do this, how are we supposed to do this over here. We have to learn this now, but not this? I don’t get it. Learn how to go to school but not know how to pick up your own trash?

What are your views on the relocation of CVHS?

Usually if you have to relocate, it’s a chain reaction. Once you move this place, you have to move that place too, and that snowball effect leads to a lot of the upheavals in the community deciding what to do next based on past. I do believe everybody working in the district is working together collectively to make things better for the students. Even the adults who are trying to get an education too, who did not graduate or get their GED, or something of the equivalence. So, I think it would be beneficial if we do- well, we don’t have a choice but to relocate. We don’t have a choice. The kids have to go somewhere. Whether it’s back into the general schooling like TO or NP, or going to adult school to find certain kinds of trades the students are interested in, everybody is kind of up with a big question mark over their head wondering what’s going on and I don’t think anybody has an answer just yet, but we have to start moving people around… It’s messy, but I just wonder how the kids in the conejo schools would feel about coming to schools like this or NP or westlake. I wonder how they’d adapt. Students like to learn in their own environment that they are comfortable with. Whether it’s in small groups, large groups, or by themselves, however students are able to learn and learn best is going to be the best outcome for all the kids. You can’t really speak for all of them when everybody is all an individual learner.

Do you feel that all students in the district receive equal opportunities and treatment regardless of race, sexuality financial status?

I believe that it is an issue that everybody is aware of and I think that educators and teachers and staff are doing their best to accommodate for all students in the district. That’s just what I believe. I think that the staff is doing the best that they can to at least educate the students regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, color, creed, whatever you want to call it, so at this point in time we’re starting to get to realizing that we’re all humans. Quite honestly I can sit here and say that all of us here all look like we come from different ethnicities and fifty years ago that was not going to be possible at all, and I do think that there are certain ideas that are still alive that are from fifty years ago, that don’t exactly work with our daily lifestyles today, so I do think that the teachers are aware of that and they’re doing the best that they can to accommodate for any kind of differences that the students have as far as learning styles and learning environments. I think they’re done a great job.

What is your opinion on the recent decision to include information required from Assembly Bill 329 in health courses?

I do think that education is the primary focus of our schools, to educate the students. I think  that that should still be the main focus, a proper education. I don’t think it really matters who has what type of idea about themselves as far as who they are going to be in life and they will figure that out. All of us will figure out who we’re going to be at some point in time in life. As far as going from K-12, there’s certain things that we need to learn. In my mind, it’s how to be respectful of ourselves, and for our fellow people and for our environment, again I have to go way back all the way back to my whole idea. It’s all about respect. We can’t learn anything if we’re in a disrespectful environment, and I’d like to help maintain a respectful environment, subtract all the negative influences that the world has on our cultures or our ways of life, probably start teaching our students what different life is like, for example what life was like in Afghanistan. For example, just as an example. I say this as an example because I know the United States has been at in a war going on overseas somewhere, and we have that idea that ‘oh we’re fighting you’ and then you have a kid who comes from Afghanistan, not a war hero or anything, just someone who’s a sophomore in highschool, and then the kids are going to go, ‘oh, you’re an ISIS terrorist.’ That’s unacceptable because you’re now judging someone based on a world view, not based on this individual. This individual could be, you name it, the next person who’s going to design some artificial implant that’s going to extend life by like 25 percent, who know? But how’s that going to be possible if some kid like that comes to a school and everybody is going to be kicking him down. I think stuff like that should really be considered because it’s your education at stake, it’s not mine, I’ve already gone through all this education stuff. This is now about you, what’s the best possible outcome for you to learn so that you can go to college, I’m guessing the three of you are going to want to go to college, you seem like some pretty intelligent people that you’re going to want to invest in a higher education, if you don’t have that in your mind, I would suggest that you do. Go and get a higher education because this is only kind of touching the surface of what you’re actually to really going to know. Go to college and learn something and then apply it to life benefiting other people. I would just like to encourage a lot of our students to do well on our test because for some reason it’s tests scores that make a big difference on how schools are placed in ranking, and yet some people just aren’t that great at taking tests and super intelligent. They can go got class and absorb all the knowledge that the teacher is talking about, but maybe they have something like dyslexia or something like that and getting a couple of letters mixed up that’s just going to mess up the whole grading of the test, who knows? Just an example. I think that it is really really important that all students, it’s all of them, whether they’re kids over at Conejo High School, kids who are in special ed programs, kids who are in athletics just to be in athletics and taking some low, there are a lot of examples but I think that everybody has the potential ability to succeed and excel at great rates. I find that especially within this school district it’s very possible for our students to come out of here and everybody is going to say, they look at the resume to see if they want to hire someone for a job, they’ll say ‘oh you went to Conejo Valley Unified School District???’ *GASP* You know what I mean?

What is your opinion on students using the bathroom of the gender they identify with?

This is public restroom use. No doubt that everybody has to use the restroom, can’t get away from that. There’s comfort levels that are involved with this question. There are, ‘how comfortable are people with using a restroom that another gender is using’ This goes with gender identity. That’s a very, very tough question only because I find it that there are more males, born males, who identify as female gender, than I’m finding females going out and identifying as a male gender, all in all, our body composition doesn’t change. I don’t think a male could ever menstruate. Not that I know of, okay? And I don’t think that a male could ever realize what it’s like to have to be a female, really, because quite honestly I think that females have it tough. I’m actually really happy to see more females taking roles that traditional males would have. As far as the restroom, if somebody has to use the restroom by all means go and find a restroom and use it. Don’t do it out in the open public, but go find a restroom. If somebody is sitting in the bathroom and there’s a male and a female restroom and somebody is standing at the door wondering which one to go in, honestly, I don’t care, go find a restroom and go use it and do it and get out. That’s pretty much just what they’re sued for. Are the restrooms inside your homes gender biased? But then that’s probably different because it’s private and we’re talking about public use. I really don’t think that there should be biases against restroom use since we all eat and defecate and do all that stuff, it’s a normal function of life regardless as who identifies themselves as who, it’s a big issue because now we’re trying to figure out how to refurbish restrooms to suit the situation. I have seen them in the past about this whole gender identity thing going on. It’s relevant, it’s not going to go anywhere. What can I say? Use the restroom. Use it and go.

How would you promote a healthier lifestyle for students?

So in school in, the classes, we have our technology. It’s here, we’re sitting in a classroom full of computers, This is not how it was when I was growing up. Actually when I went to this school, the computer lab was right the hallway right over here, we would go there so that everybody cold learn how to to type on the computers on the keyboard. This didn’t exist. Now, I’m finding out that students are going to have full access to their own laptops, maybe, possibly, who knows? What comes up now is how the students are going to use these devices properly What is important is for parents to be more more involved with their children’s activities. Parents need to be aware of how much time the students are spending sitting, just sitting, let alone at a computer or what they’re doing on the computer because this is now our textbooks, they’re going to pretty much on these computers pretty soon, I think, I don’t know. These books that we have to lug around all the time are almost going to be obsolete. I hope not because I love books, but I really think that parents need to be more involved with how much time their kids are using their devices. Some parents, they just say ‘hey, go over there, sit down, shut up, and use that. That’s what I think is what’s going on. Parents need to be involved.

What is your opinion on the current ed code requirements granting us journalists the same rights are professional journalists?

Go do what you got to do. Yeah, if you’re finding stories that are important, because that’s what you go for, the importance of a story, and it relates to your, whatever it is that you’re writing about, your students, your school. The only thing that I find is a problem, that could be, is the whole age issue where you got the barrier between minor and adult. I do think that any journalists, if you are a journalist, you can go get that press pass and find a story that you want and go and find and write about it, it should be available to write about. This is what you’re here for, for writing purposes. To express your thoughts and get them out to everybody else who is able to listen or read. Yes, I’m not so aware of what it is that you are talking about, but I think that as journalists and in schools you guys should have the ability to have the same type of does as other journalists have.

Is there anything else that you would like to say to students?

This is only a thought that I had some time ago, but I know that we are on a five day week. And if you went to school for six hours a day, five days a week, how would you feel about going to school for seven and a half hours a day, four days a week? Would prefer to go to school less day if it was more hours a day? So, the reason why I’m asking is because if that was possible, I would think that hopefully the idea is that students and families are spending more time together. Family time because I don’t think that there is enough family unity going on with the students and the parents. I think that everybody is so separated, just split everybody up. Kids go do your thing. Not to say that that would happen, it was just an idea. If that could ever happen, to just have longer hours through the days that the extra day is dedicated to some type of educational activity at home or with the family or having family time. Even if it allows families to step away for the weekend to go somewhere because they need it. I think that there is a really big separation with the students and families and parents.

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