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Conflict Between The District & Charter Schools - School Safety

“The government closest to the people serves the people best.”

– Thomas Jefferson.

Factual Background:

Dr. Thomas Tucker, the Superintendent of the Douglas County School District, is the single employee of the Douglas County Board of Education, which is led by President David Ray, the incumbent in District F, representing the south Parker and Pinery area, who is up for possible re-election by voters from across all of Douglas County in November of 2019. On Tuesday, August 21, 2019, Dr. Tucker appeared the School Safety Committee of the Colorado General Assembly, and he made this statement: "...we will fight tooth and nail against any school, whether it’s a neighborhood school or a charter school, decides to arm its teachers. If it's a charter school, we are going to ask them to leave the Douglas County School District.”

Local control for communities and schools, when it comes to school safety, has a number of important factors for consideration, as every school and community has different needs. Some schools, like STEM Highlands Ranch School and American Academy, are in very close proximity to sheriffs or police stations and have the ability to afford SROs, while other schools are different – some small schools are in our more remote areas of the county. However, while recognizing the need to consider unique local factors there is also a need for district-wide consistency when it comes to other important factors, such as communication, response protocols, and closely integrated training with local first responders. Trusting school safety leaders and school communities (staff and parents) to decide what works best in their buildings on the matters of local concern, while meeting the standards on those matters of district-wide concern, must be a hallmark of a School Board that doesn’t micro-manage their schools.

I do NOT want to arm teachers in neighborhood schools – that is not my goal. My #1 goal is to provide tangible evidence of enhanced school safety in our neighborhood schools so that parents, students, teachers and staff can feel more secure in their district school buildings. The vast majority of school teachers do not want to carry a firearm – including my own wife – nor should they ever have to or be asked to do so. That is not their job. The school district, with my involvement as the Director from District F, would do everything possible to minimize any teachers, administrators, or staffs sense of duty or obligation to be armed, as we should have enough School Resource Officers – real law enforcement officers, District Security Officers, and Community Safety Volunteers, to address all school safety needs and desires.

I support both neighborhood schools and charter schools. Most parents, like myself, have found their neighborhood schools to be the best choice, due to the amazing principals, administrators, faculty and staff. However, parents who want a specialized emphasis, such as a STEM education, or performing arts, just to name a few, have the absolute legal right to exercise their lawful authority to pursue the issuance and renewals of charters for their own school with that emphasis – and the same is true with an emphasis on enhanced school security.

I disagree with the past actions of the district in attempting to thwart and block the legal right of a duly authorized charter school that wants to exercise their Freedom of Choice - not only in curriculum but also in enhanced safety and security for their children, teachers, staff, and parents while on their campus. While individuals may disagree as to their perception and opinion of the appropriateness of the amount of and the form of this opposition, one thing that should be crystal clear - the Douglas County School Board - led by President David Ray- set the District on this path of conflict with Ascent. David Ray should be held responsible for Dr. Tucker’s statement and the strategy of conflict. Now David Ray is joined on his unified “slate” with two other school board candidates– Susan Meeks & Elizabeth Hanson - who agree with David Ray’s strategy in keeping the district on a path of conflict with charter schools and allowing that conflict to include school safety issues.

The conclusion is just as simple: The actions of Dr. Tucker and the School District is a simple power grab by David Ray, who thinks he knows better than parents on how their children should be kept safe. I believe differently, that parents should be treated as full and equal partners in the decisions that affect their children, including school safety.

Douglas County Voters have a clear choice this November

Option #1: They can reward David Ray and his new slate of candidates for the district’s actions in the continuing conflict with charter schools, now spilling into the field of school safety, in his efforts to impose their sense of values upon charter school parents.

Option #2: They can vote for Kory Nelson in District F, as I will stop the political game-playing with school safety. I will prioritize School Safety, increasing School Resource Officers in our schools, while respecting the legal autonomy of charter schools on matters of pure local concern.

Paid for by Kory for School Board, Marge Klein registered agent
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