"The fact that a person cannot run for school board in Newberg without having his or her life ripped apart is an absolute tragedy for our community and we ask every candidate in the race for school board to condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms." Emails to Brown seeking comment on Wolfer's withdrawal went unanswered by press time. By almost every metric, the assertion that the board currently supports all parents' rights is untrue. The ban was passed in early August, and garnered a great deal of opposition from other board members, community members, and the state at-large. Controversy in Newberg persists after the recent Newberg School Board decision to ban both Black Lives Matter (BLM) flags, and Pride flags. Newberg School Board voted 4 to 3 on November 9 to remove Dr. Joe Morelock as superintendent without cause. We could have upheld the Newberg traditions of the past and collaborated together as a united team.. After hearing from a fraction of community members who have opinions on the subject, the Newberg Public Schools board voted 4-3 to keep any sort of political signage out of schools. abruptly firing former Newberg superintendent Joe Morelock without cause, he board named as its next superintendent, Stephen Phillips. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Families, staff, and community members marched in support of the LGBTQ+ community and Black Lives Matter ahead of a Newberg school board meeting Aug. 10, 2021. The superintendents cabinet of administrators issued a statement after the sudden vote saying it was shocked and dismayed. The group cited what they considered positive examples of Morelocks leadership, including his work turning the districts finances around, creating a safety net of over $9 million. That means the board cant enforce the policy against Shotts or, for that matter, anyone else. We can continue to create safe spaces in our schools and offer support to students who identity as LGBTQIA+ and students of color without fear of retaliation.. The school boards symbols policy also drew sharp comments from the Oregon State Board of Education, Oregon House Democrats, and the Oregon School Boards Association. The school board voted to ban Black Lives Matter and pride flags. All rights reserved (About Us). In one of them, a staff member showed up for work in blackface in an apparent protest of the districts coronavirus vaccine mandate for employees and was subsequently fired. We cannot let this group of 4 impose their own political agenda, erode our rights, and strip our support of our students. Piros asked her colleagues to take more time before going forward with the major, unannounced decision. Notifications can be turned off anytime in the browser settings. Dont wait. This move is yet another example of a board majority bringing instability to our schools. 503-554-5041 After voicing strong objection to the move, the board's other three members, Rebecca Piros, Brandy Penner and Ines Pea, voted against. Morelock had been superintendent for two years and was under contract through June. The disputes in the Newberg School Board have come as schools nationwide have become rife with arguments over vaccine and mask mandates, how racism is addressed in teaching, instruction. To get in touch with any Director, you may contact them directly or contact School Board Secretaryat 503-554-5000 The entire Board can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org. Oregon school worker suspended for showing up in blackface in apparent protest of vaccine mandate. I always tell people you can pretend to care but you cant pretend to show up, said Herrera. A White man was scared to death of Ralph Yarl. The judge ruled Thursday that a policy banning certain symbols displayed in schools is unconstitutional. parents, moving secondary school schedules to trimesters, and changing start times to earlier for all ages. "Our children should not bear the brunt end of partisan politics meant to further divide. The firing is effective Nov. 19 and according to board member Brandy Penner, the district will continue to pay Morelock his salary and benefits for the next 12 months, in addition to paying the salary and benefits for the district's next superintendent. No final order has been made. The specific dates can be found here. On Wednesday morning, KGW spoke to Heidi Pender, whose daughter is a freshman at Newberg High School. 503-888-6365, Brian Shannon The four conservative members of the board voted, 4-3, to fire Superintendent Joe Morelock at the end of Tuesday night's school board meeting. After hearing from a fraction of. Recently, The Newberg Graphic has reported on two different lawsuits that involve the ongoing feud between the conservative majority of the Newberg public schools board and the sinister mafia-esque group called Newberg Equity in Education, which as I have previously reported, is a splinter cell of Progressive Yamhill AKA Save Yamhill County PAC AKA Yamhill County Democrats, led by Lynette Shaw . Morelocks employment ends in 10 days, and the next school board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 23. I think the point of this is to show that you are trying to sow division with extremist views and you have no interest in listening to the community, school board member Brandy Penner said in the meeting. Piros said she had to file public records requests just to access all of the information Smith was sharing with other board members in the conservative majority. "Anti-free speech, anti-free expression, anti-safety. It's a huge hit to our school district," she said. (KATU) NEWBERG, Ore. Voters in the Newberg Schools community are turning out in big numbers for the hotly debated recall of two school board members. So, not not removing Pride and BLM or any other group of people that wants to demonstrate acceptance, pride and support, none of that was harmful before. Amanda Boothby, a 2015 Newberg High School graduate, organized Tuesdays demonstration. 503-887-6447, Raquel Peregrino de Brito On that agenda: consulting with lawyers and discussing employee dismissals or disciplinary matters. Two of those board members were elected this past May. Gov. This means ensuring school boards are held accountable; that there is access to training around educational equity and governance that is action-oriented for leaders; securing students a say and a voice at the policy-making table; and making sure superintendents jobs are protected when they are simply following the law, according to the statement. Wheres your sense of community?, If theres anyone out there hurting Im here for them, I love them and I see them., Ashley McGowan, a Newberg School District parent, says she came out to the protest because fighting for equal rights runs in her family. In a 4-3 vote, the Newberg school board decided to terminate the district's superintendent, Joe Morelock, during a meeting . All rights reserved (About Us). In Newberg, four of the seven board members voted to fire Morelock, who was under contract through June 2024. They were represented by Karen OCasey of the Portland law firm Hart Wanger. The resolution outlining the no-cause firing was not included in the board packet for Tuesday's meeting. Penner then asked Brown to adjourn the meeting, despite there being more items on the agenda, saying, "I don't think anything constructive will happen with this board again.". He said in the Tuesday evening meeting that the policy championed and adopted by him and his conservative colleagues is very straightforward and shouldnt be controversial., We dont pay our teachers to push their political views on our students. Newbergs board isnt the first in Oregon to terminate its superintendent this year. I dont serve Black people, an attendant told her. The main office is located at 714 E. Sixth Street in Newberg. NEWBERG, Ore. A bitterly divided Newberg school board, which has been enveloped in controversy for the past few months over its decision to pass a policy limiting the kinds of images or signs school employees can display on campus, voted to fire Superintendent Joe Morelock near the conclusion of a late-night board meeting Tuesday. We wish you well, were so sorry, she said. The lawsuit, first filed in Yamhill County Circuit Court by the Portland law firm Bennett Hartman, was advanced to U.S. District Court in Portland in December 2021 as a civil rights case. Renee Powell, one of the conservative members on the school board, said that the policy would improve the lives of students. Were trying so hard just to be equal and be heard. Penner pointed out the juxtaposition in the board majority pushing to make a decision on Morelock while putting off a decision on the rainbow sign. Cookie Settings/Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Zone Name Term Ends 1 Trevor DeHart 2025 2 Shelley Kolb 2023 3 Ron Rilee 2023 4 Raquel Peregrino de . When the conservative majority of the Newberg school board voted in early November to oust the district's superintendent, board chairman Dave Brown advocated for an accelerated process to name Joe Morelock's successor by January. ", Oregon school district parent: Students of color 'are under attack' at Newberg schools, the Newberg Public Schools board voted 4-3 to keep any sort of political signage out of schools. Thats not their place, Shannon said. This article was published more than1 year ago. "It's over. In September 2022 Yamhill County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Easterday struck down the Newberg school boards 2021 ban on political signs, declaring it a violation of the state constitutions guarantees of free speech. At the end of the meeting, the resolution to fire Morelock passed, 4-3, with Brown, Shannon, Powell and DeHart voting in favor. He was hired as the permanent Superintendent beginning with the 2019-2020 school year. Other groups including the Newberg Education Association, Oregon Education Association, and Basic Rights Oregon, as well as the BIPOC Caucus of the State Legislature have expressed concern and disapproval with this problematic ban. Board member Ines Pea also pointed out that students weren't given enough of a say in the decision, even though they and their parents have shared stories detailing discrimination and feeling unsafe. "My mom back in the '50s and '60s fought for Black rights, " said McGowan. ", "This feels so draconian this feels so anti-everything," Penner said. The Newberg School Board's choice to ban BLM and Pride flags came following a shift in the Boards composition. "Jozie Donaghey, Ashley McGowan, Newberg School District parent. Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. The Newberg School Board voted to terminate the contract of Superintendent Joe Morelock late Tuesday night, in a process that board director Brandy Penner, who voted against the firing,. The Newberg School District board has hired Stephen Phillips to serve as the district's next leader. School Board Meetings Mailing Address for the Board Board of Directors Newberg School District 29J 714 East 6th St Newberg, Oregon 97132 Sign up to get important news and culture from around the Northwest, delivered to your inbox six days a week. So everything will work out eventually.. After the vote to remove Morelock, Penner and Piros spoke emotionally about his impact on the district, and the board majoritys lack of reasoning given for firing Morelock. 1998 - 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved. And those are my kids. Numerous school and district administrators also have resigned from the district. If you were in my position and someone took your love and support and identity away how would you feel? I feel like this has been on your agenda since Day 1, since the two new board members were voted on. Comments will be read in the order they are received. "This is going to set our district back decades. Superintendents for Greater Albany Public Schools, Adrian School District School, and Woodburn have all been removed this year, for varying reasons. No, Brown replied. But Brown added two new items, including one about Morelock. For the kids that cant say anything now, I wanted to be that voice for them.Jozie Donaghey, Amanda Boothby, Newberg High School graduate and protest organizer. In a statement released Tuesday night, district administrators at Newberg Public Schools lauded Morelock for his successes: A bilingual English and Spanish speaker, Dr. Morelock became Interim Superintendent for the 2018-2019 school year, with the district in significant financial difficulty after having to lay off staff. The community blowback led the Newberg School Board to alter the language of the ban on Sept. 1, removing the specific mentions of Pride and BLM. The board decided to table the decision to uphold or reject the districts response to the complaint, voting along the same 4-3 line as with most other decisions they made Tuesday. I will do everything in my power to create an environment that makes all students feel safe and supported so they can learn and thrive, Shotts said. Board . The disputes in the Newberg School Board have come as schools nationwide have become rife with arguments over vaccine and mask mandates, how racism is addressed in teaching, instruction related to sexuality and gender-neutral bathrooms. The sign featured a rainbow, a heart, and the words "Be Known." The district will have to pay Morelocks salary and benefits for the next 12 months, according to a reading of Morelocks contract during the meeting. I continue to stand with parents, students of color, LGBTQ students, and all members of the community who have courageously continued to speak out against the school boards unacceptable actions.. The dissenting board members said the move to fire Morelock, coupled with litigation over the controversial political symbols ban, could have a grave financial impact on the district. They think this quality will be hindered by the presence of ideological symbols. As a mentor, I always tell folks to put yourself in the others position and then see what you think, I dont know what happened to empathy, but its taken a hit the last few years. A sign depicting a rainbow flag with a heart superimposed, along with the words Be Known, in Shotts classroom window at Dundee Elementary was the subject of the first complaint under the policy. "Just remember that from the darkest dark comes the brightest light. ", "Policies such as ESB are in place to ensure students feel welcome and safe while learning," he said. On the day before Thanksgiving, as Newberg school district staff scrambled to fulfill other duties after the firing of superintendent Joe Morelock, Newberg School Board chair Dave Brown. In response to the reoccurring demonstrations against the School Board's decision, a group of counter-protesters who support the School Board's decision stood on the southeast side of the intersection. It is exclusive to this particular case, though, and doesnt apply to the other lawsuits that have been filed against the district and the school board, of which there are many. A simple pride or BLM flag in a classroom shows the love and acceptance that we need, Till said. case filed last year by a Newberg teacher, initial board conversations about the policy, celebrated the ruling in a tweet Thursday, the school board voted to fire Supt. The news got the attention of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who visited with Newberg advocates while she was on vacation. But critics remain upset about what the adopted policy will mean for the school district. "We will be paying for two superintendents," Penner said during the meeting. Penner responded: "You know exactly why, Rebecca. Newberg educators support Dr. Morelock and the 3 board members who tried their best to stop this atrocity. I dont believe this is political, its about human beings. 714 East 6th St On behalf of Dr. Morelock and the work he has begun, we will continue to fight for safe, stable learning environments for our students. The employee was terminated from her position. Forms will also be available at the regular session board meetings. I am proudly defiant of this boards illegal and immoral actions.. It protects marginalized populations in our student and staff bodies. "I protest that none of you had anything to say about why you wanted to do this, that the public is ," Piros said before she was interrupted by Brown. Late Tuesday night, the Newberg Education Association released a statement on the firing of Morelock: During tonights school board meeting, the 4 board majority fired Superintendent Joe Morelock for no cause. Prior to the public meeting, the board met in executive session, away from the public. DISCLAIMER for All Communications with District Staff and Board Members: The Board believes that community participation in school affairs is essential if the school district and the community are to maintain mutual confidence and respect and work together to improve the quality of education for students. "This feels so draconian this feels so anti-everything," one board member said. Joe Morelock last November, two board members faced recall elections in January, and since last year, dozens of staff members have resigned from the district, including several district administrators and principals from six of the districts 10 schools. The conservative majority on the school board in Newberg voted 4 to 3 to adopt a policy that has attracted national attention, criticism and protests in the weeks since it was introduced. Be a part of it! . U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, a Democrat whose district includes Newberg, weighed in with an emailed statement from the U.N. NEWBERG SCHOOL DISTRICT | 714 E. 6TH ST. NEWBERG, OREGON 97132 | (503) 554-5000. Climate Conference in Glasgow, connecting Newberg with trouble and conflict facing school boards across the country. NEWBERG, Ore. (KOIN) The Newberg Education Association is suing the Newberg School District after the. 971-409-5792, Dave Brown Dont wait. The initial board conversations about the policy centered around banning Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ Pride flags. Board members said they did not receive the documents until the executive session that evening. In a statement sent after the meeting, the Superintendent Cabinet of Newberg Public Schools said it is "shocked and dismayed that the Board would take this disruptive action in the middle of the school year.". In Newberg, four of the seven board members voted to fire Morelock, who was under contract through June 2024. Cookie Settings/Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Many have called for the recall process of Board Member Shannon, the driving force behind the ban. Former board member Ines Pea resigned several months ago, alleging that she faced a toxic work environment on the board. As pressure mounted, the four conservative members voted to hire a. She made remarks to a group of sixty in opposition to the recent ban on controversial symbols and imagery. A resident of Dundee submitted the complaint Sept. 30, saying the sign amounted to a gay pride poster and should be removed immediately. The Yamhill County Circuit Court has made a decision in a case filed last year by a Newberg teacher against the school district and four members of the school board. It supports all the steps we have taken to fight the policy change. Were going to move forward.. Phone: (503) 554-5000, Fax: (503) 538-4374. Shame on our school district for making decisions about these kids lives as if they really cared. This has been the shadiest, shadiest process ever and unfortunately, it is our children who will have to pay for this. Just remember that from the darkest dark, comes the brightest light. Mailing Address for the Board The main office is located at 714 E. Sixth Street in Newberg. This is not a functioning business meeting, Penner said. What brought you out tonight to the protest? Board vacancies are filled through appointments made by a majority vote of the remaining board members, according to district policy. The appointee serves until June of the next election year, which in this case is 2023. Kate Brown (D) announced last month that all teachers, staff and volunteers in the states public schools had to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. 408-472-4257, RonRilee They should be able to wear their shirts and signs that say Black Lives Matter and Asian Lives Matter and whatever else. Latino leaders could collaborate with Black communities. About 100 protesters gathered in downtown Newberg on Tuesday, weeks after a new conservative school board majority voted to ban staff and faculty from displaying Pride and Black Lives Matter banners in their buildings. The board's four conservative members, David Brown, Brian Shannon, Renee Powell and Trevor DeHart, voted at the start of Tuesday's board meeting to add the resolution to the agenda. Published: Jan. 18, 2022, 8:41 p.m. An initial attempt by the Newberg school board to ban Black Lives Matter and Pride imagery was met with widespread protests in the city. The reasoning behind the Boards decision is that the imagery is political in nature, and distracts from the already challenging task of preparing our youth with a quality education. Pamplin Media Group is a KOIN 6 News media partner. I continue to stand with parents, students of color, LGBTQ students, and all members of the community who have courageously continued to speak out against the school boards unacceptable actions. Led by the superintendent, their goal was to review this situation over a period of six weeks in order to come to a determination about how to move forward. Newberg school board votes to fire superintendent, no cause given. The union claims that the district policy violates state and federal constitution. written and/or digital) that contains information relating to the conduct of the school districts business could be subject to a public records request without prior notice to sender. 1:09. In the board packet for Tuesday's school board meeting, one agenda item was to address Morelock's response to a Newberg citizen's complaint about a sign in the window of a classroom at Dundee Elementary. Take action today! Shotts asked the court to declare that the boards policy was unconstitutional and the court agreed, at least with respect to the free speech guarantee in Article I, Section 8, Crist said in an earlier story. Schneider and other members who oppose the ban believe the flags provide a source of safety and security to underrepresented and vulnerable students. Both the school principal and Morelock dismissed the complaint, saying the sign and its message are not political, quasi-political, or controversial. "Know that your integrity has spurred us to be faithful servers to our children and we wish you well. Protesters gathered at the city flagpole on South River Street in Newberg to speak out against the school boards decision, which passed after the board heard less than half of public comments during the virtual session. Board member Brandy Penner said she had endured an abusive and disrespectful work environment on the board, and said the board had violated public meeting laws.