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After nixing diversity symbols, Newberg School Board fires superintendent

KGW

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Newberg School Board, which recently tried to ban teachers from displaying gay pride and Black Lives Matter symbols, has abruptly fired the school superintendent, deeply upsetting board members who opposed the move.

The escalating disputes on the board come as schools nationwide have become battlegrounds, with arguments over vaccine and mask mandates, how racism is addressed in teaching, instruction related to sexuality and gender-neutral bathrooms.

After Superintendent Joe Morelock was fired in a Zoom meeting late Tuesday night, board member Rebecca Piros — one of three who opposed his firing — told him she was sorry.

“Just remember that from the darkest dark comes the brightest light, so everything will work out eventually,” Morelock replied. Piros broke down in tears when she heard those words.

On Wednesday, some residents of Newberg, a town of 23,000 situated 25 miles southwest of Portland, erected signs quoting Morelock’s reply to Piros. Newberg Equity in Education, a group composed mostly of parents who oppose the school board’s recent rightward tilt, planned a demonstration Thursday at the school district office.

The four conservative board members offered no explanation as they summarily fired Morelock, giving him 10 days left on the job.

The superintendent’s advisory cabinet, composed of administrators across the school district, quickly objected, saying they were “shocked and dismayed that the board would take this disruptive action in the middle of the school year.”

They described Morelock as a tireless advocate for the schools, noting that he took over as interim superintendent in 2018 “with the district in significant financial difficulty after having to lay off staff.”

“Under his leadership, new contracts with our associations brought better pay to teachers and staff, more educational school days for our students, a stabilized financial situation with a safety net of over $9 million in the ending fund balance, and the passage of the largest construction bond in the history of Newberg Public Schools,” the administrators said.

The teachers union in Newberg denounced Morelock’s termination as “yet another example of a board majority bringing instability to our schools.”

The Newberg Education Association union has already filed a lawsuit over a policy passed by the conservative school board members that limits what kinds of images or signs school employees can display on campus. The board initially passed a rule banning school staff from displaying Black Lives Matter and gay pride symbols, but then expanded it to all political or controversial signs after being advised the first rule wouldn’t survive a legal challenge.

The union argues the policy violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protecting free speech and the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing equal protection.

Read more at: https://apnews.com/article/business-portland-oregon-school-boards-teaching-d08938bd8f6eb7ee54417ab690b815ca

The Associated Press

Comments

6 Comments

  1. Sounds like they lost an exceptionally good administrator over a bunch of MAGA virtue-signaling. It’s too bad that individual board members can’t be forced to pay the legal bills for the lawsuits they are incurring. All the good money management this Superintendent achieved in 3 years will disappear overnight, and it will be the students & teachers that suffer for it.

    1. Sorry Jumper, but I read the article again, to be sure, and it did not make mention of MAGA. The virtue signaling you speak of comes from the left. No Political ideology should be allowed in schools. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. Along with science and true history. Ideologists will not be permitted to rewrite the history books to suit their agendas.

  2. I’m glad the school board won’t let the teachers politicize their school with their liberal, left-wing, anti-Christian, socialist agenda. I think the school board is brave. They won’t bow down. I bet the very vocal minority who got shot down are just that … the minority. I’ll bet most parents support the board. I do.

    1. More parents are standing up against the political leftist school boards and demanding their right to be heard and involved in their kids education. Politics aside, our children do not belong to the government and the government has no right to dictate what they will teach our children.

    2. And the education of sexualities belongs at home. Schools have no right teaching sexuality in school. It is inappropriate for any adult, other than the parents, to speak to a child about sex or sexuality. It simply is not their place.

  3. And the only race that should be taught in school is the Human Race, of which we are ALL members of. I identify as member of the human race. The one and only race among humanity.

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