Today, the four Williamston Community Schools Board of Education members who have been targets of a recall effort were informed that they will have to run for their seats this November.
The four board members, Sarah Belanger, Nancy Deal, Christopher Lewis and Greg Talberg were targeted for recall because they voted for two policies that were passed in November 2017.
Policy 8011 ensures that the district will accept the gender identity that each student asserts and creates a supportive learning environment for students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. In regards to transgender students, Policy 8011 states that when a student shares that they are transgender, that staff should work with parents to develop support plans. A key part of the policy language reads, :
“Parental and family support are key determinants of transgender and nonconforming student health; therefore, student support teams, staff, and community partners should provide resources to help families and students locate information, counseling, and support services. School officials must consider the health, safety, and well-being of the student, as well as the responsibility to keep parents informed.”
The second policy, policy 9026, focuses on helping all students have access to the restrooms that best suits their individual needs for privacy and comfort. The policy specifically provides the opportunity for additional privacy and accomodations all students, not just students who are transgender. See all Williamston Community Schools policies here.
These policies enable school staff to consistently and thoughtfully respond to all students.
All four school board members are career educators and experienced school board members who have a proven commitment to Williamston Community Schools. While they have served on the Williamston Board of Education, the schools have continued a tradition of excellence. Dr. Christopher Lewis, one board members targeted for recall stated that “all of us being recalled are proud of the schools and the work of students and staff within the district”. He continued stating that, “despite being the targets of a recall, all four of us love the Williamston community and will fight hard to maintain our roles to continue working for all students, staff and community members”.
While the race continues, Dr. Lewis, stated that all four members facing recall , “will work tirelessly to support all students and to promote the quality of education that the Williamston Community Schools provides.” He continued stating that, “all students deserve to be supported within our schools and this is what all four of us have stood for throughout our entire time on the school board.”
As these educators fight to stay in their roles they have asked community members to support them if:
- They are proud of Williamston Community Schools and want to support the great things that are happening;
- They want to support all kids in our community, including students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.;
- They want to embrace a spirit of hope and optimism in developing board policy;
- They want to continue the efforts of the current WCS Board of Education to provide high quality educational experiences for all students, increase the WCS fund balance, strengthen communication with students, parents, staff and community and focus efforts on increasing safety for all in our community.
- They want elected officials who will do the right thing, even when it's difficult or unpopular.
Dr. Lewis explained that “we are proud of all that the board has accomplished and we hope to be able to continue to work hard for all students in the Williamston community.” The four board members hope that all voters will reach out to get their questions answered so that all can make an informed decision this November.
Source: Press Release