RSD School Board Speaks on Ethics Policy

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Media by Elliott Jorgensen

The board talk among themselves during board and superintendent comments.

Superintendent Dr. Curtis Cain called attention at the Thursday, Sept. 1, board meeting to the Rockwood mission statement: “We do whatever it takes to ensure all students realize their potential.”

“If you are in support of this mission, our doors are open,” Dr. Cain said. “We want to work so we can all wrap around what’s in the best interest of our students.”

Dr. Cain’s message followed the speech new Board Member Jessica Clark gave on Tuesday,  Aug. 23, during a Real Talk conservative radio station event. Some of her comments offended a large group of people in the district causing a lot of backlash. 

“I use the word ‘libtard.’ They said I was an ableist … They come in with the kids in the wheelchairs and everything … Whatever. You are a libtard and I mean it and I stand on it,” Clark said in her speech directed toward community members that come to Rockwood board meetings. 

Due to Clark’s speech that was circulated on social media, about 250 people were in attendance at the board meeting to either support or oppose Clark’s words.

A majority of patron comments at the board meeting regarded concerns of the board’s ethics Policy 0340, which board president Jamie Bayes proposed changes to to make sure everyone feels protected.

If you are in support of this mission, our doors are open. We want to work so we can all wrap around what’s in the best interest of our students.”

— Dr. Curtis Cain

Eric Smith, an RSD parent, spoke on how he felt his family was directly attacked by the powerful words spoken by Clark.

“Some people claim the speaker was not disparaging my children in wheelchairs but was commenting on my wife and I,” Smith said during his three-minute speech.

Sophomore Kaylee, who asked that her name not be published, reflected on the estimated 40 patron comments given that night.

 “I think the speeches are lovely, they are very well put together. People here, generally speaking, handled themselves very civilized…,” Kaylee said. “It was inspiring and encouraging to see so many people to come together for a common cause.”

The board voted to remove Clark from the two committee’s she was on and board members spoke on Clark’s actions. 

“I never thought in the 11 plus years that I’ve been on the Board of Education that I would be faced with a situation such as tonight,” said board member Keith Kinder in his statement to the audience.

When the meeting ended at 10 p.m., parents were still voicing their concerns. 

“I think that Rockwood needs to denounce the hate because it’s not welcome here,” said Rockwood parent Laura Burkhardt as she left the meeting.

The next board meeting is 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at Laffayette.The agenda will be posted four days prior to the meeting.