Public Comment to the Board of Education
May 10, 2016
Jeanne Work Swaim
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you tonight.
My name is Jeanne Work Swaim. I am the parent of a STEM High School student and a neighborhood elementary school student. I am a homeowner in Highlands Ranch.
I was scheduled to speak during the last meeting, but the length of public comment prevented me from staying until my name was called. I wanted to discuss the District’s priorities. I wanted to question whether safety really is priority 1. Since my daughter and her classmates disembark their school bus in the middle of a construction zone every day, it feels like a lot of lip service. Priority 1? I’m not so sure.
I wanted to highlight the ridiculousness of the safety excuse Dr. Fagen and her staff use to justify the purchase of 10 semiautomatic weapons without a conversation with any of you or with the community. I also wanted to remind you of her cavalier attitude in spending the District’s money and your previous willingness to steal students instruction hours. My comments were timely since you were forced to vote on the $2.0 million settlement with CDE that night. Clearly responsible administration is not priority 1.
The final issue I wanted to focus on, interestingly enough, was bullying.
During the March meeting I was awestruck by the discussion surrounding the condemnation of bullying and intimidation in this District. When Director Vogel introduced the resolution, it should have been met with unequivocal support. Instead I watched Directors Benevento and Geddes deny the existence of a toxic work environment, refuse to vote in favor unless others denied the existence of a toxic work environment, and then ask Dr. Fagen and her staff whether there is a history of employee bullying. I want to clearly define what happened: the Board Bullies were asking the Administrative Bullies whether there’s a bullying problem! A safe working environment for adults isn’t even priority 1.
It’s interesting I was scheduled to deliver these comments that night. This was before I knew a young student in our District was bullied by two other Board members. After the meeting, I was compelled to listen to the audio recording of Directors Silverthorn and Reynolds meeting with Miss Davis. Talk about Grace under pressure! This young girl endured bullying and intimidation and managed to compose herself in a mature manner, unlike the adults who kept pushing, “I don’t want to talk you out of anything, but what if someone brings a gun?” If that’s not intimidation, what is it?
Directors, I would like to remind you: you are not here to serve a political platform. You are not here to further your political careers. You are here to serve the children and deliver them the finest education possible. But before you do that, you need to start with being better role models.
Thank you for your time.