MOUNT VERNON — A handful of individuals addressed the Mount Vernon school board during the public participation portion of Monday’s session.
Steve Thompson, referring to all the students and staff being honored, said, “This is what’s good about Mount Vernon. It’s important that we are celebrating the great things.”
He then spoke to the board regarding what he called the Freshwater situation. He asked why the board voted to consider terminating Freshwater’s teaching contract if the “accusing” family didn’t want him to lose his job. Thompson also asked if the board thought “we would still be here” if the investigation really was fair and impartial. He said he wanted to make it clear to the board that the vote in support of the renewal levy was not a vote in support of the board, but a vote so the students wouldn’t be hurt.
“The school board has been the victim of bad counsel,” he said.
Levi Stickle has attended many days of the termination hearings, and talked about testimony related to the “supposedly impartial” investigation. He said the thing he found most disturbing about the hearing was that board president Ian Watson and board member Jody Goetzman have refused to testify.
Dee Briggs said she is amazed at how the hearing is unfolding. She told the board members they have let the community down and also felt that the board’s decision was based on a “botched” investigation. Briggs said she believes the $308,575 spent on the investigation, legal fees and security and court recorder for the hearing should have gone into educating the students. She encouraged a “quick end” to the matter and said everyone needs to come together as a community.
Bob Brayton told the board he is troubled by the way its members are leading the school district, especially with regard to the Freshwater controversy.
“I would just like to see the matter settled,” he said.
Mentioning the cost to the taxpayers, Brayton said the board’s attorney is “milking the situation for all it’s worth” and has found a “cash cow” in the Mount Vernon school district.
Changing topics, Jeff Cline talked about what is happening to the schools in America. He said good has become evil and evil has become good, and cautioned the board not to let the Mount Vernon schools fall into the trap big cities have fallen into. He said tolerating evil and sinful behavior is unacceptable and sinful in itself, and said schools need to avoid buying into the “homosexual agenda.”
Cline said there are books in school libraries that contain very objectionable material, and read a short passage as an example. He said he would be returning to future board meetings to elaborate on his comments.