Thanks to the Salem Reporter, which scooped the Statesman Journal on this important story, we know that an effort is underway to recall three progressive Salem-Keizer school board members elected in 2021.
Here's how the story by Rachel Alexander starts off.
A Salem parent is seeking to recall three members of the Salem-Keizer School Board, alleging they have been dismissive of parents with differing political views and failed to prioritize the education of students.
Casity Troutt filed petitions to recall board Chair Ashley Carson Cottingham, former Chair Osvaldo Avila, and Second Vice Chair Karina Guzmán Ortiz with the Marion County Clerk on Aug. 25. All three were elected to four-year terms in 2021.
Her petitions reference all three board members voting in August to ban people with concealed carry permits from carrying firearms on school grounds, board members’ support for retaining challenged books about gender and sexuality in school libraries and their handling of public comment during school board meetings.
So one big problem Troutt has with Avila, Carson Cottingham, and Ortiz is that they were against people carrying firearms on school grounds and in favor of keeping books in school libraries. Sounds good to me.
Sure seems like these aren't the sort of transgressions that justify recalling school board members, but then I don't have any sympathy for right-wingers who are trying to control school boards around the country in an effort to force their archaic view of America onto students who, by and large, reject their outdated attitudes.
The Salem Reporter story includes copies of Troutt's recall petitions. See:
They make for entertaining reading, because they provide a peek into the mindset of someone who wrongly sees horrendous things happening to students because the school board members have a reasonable 21st century approach to education.
For example, Avila is accused of saying that educators have the primary responsibility for educating students, not parents. Given my own educational experience and that of my daughter, who attended Salem-Keizer schools from first grade until she graduated from South High, Avila is absolutely correct.
Carson Cottingham's infractions include being in favor of school based health centers and equal rights for transgender students. Again, this strikes me as entirely appropriate. But then, I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories about how "woke" liberal notions are ruining schools.
Ortiz' sin against the restricted view of reality favored by extreme MAGA Trumpists is that she views racism as being part of the structure of American society. There's room for disagreement about how extreme this structural racism is today, but little or no doubt that it exists.
Look: I'm completely in favor of conservatives having just as much say in how Salem-Keizer schools are run as liberals do. If the school board hasn't made conservatives feel welcome at board meetings, that's a problem which needs addressing.
However, it doesn't make sense to recall these three school board members for simply acting in accord with their conscience, not for any sort of wrongdoing. In 2021 the conservative slate of school board candidates was rejected by voters.
The right way for conservatives to rectify this is to work harder to win school board elections. The wrong way is to attempt a recall of three duly-elected school board members just because their progressive views rub conservatives the wrong way.