Salem-Keizer school board approves proclamation honoring parents and guardians

Salem-Keizer board members work on amendments to the parent proclamation during the Tuesday, Jan. 11 school board meeting. (Screenshot)

The Salem-Keizer school board joined with district parents at the Jan. 11 board meeting to adopt a proclamation making January the Parent and Guardian Engagement in Education Month. 

Parents and school board members had worked together for weeks to shape Tuesday’s proclamation, which stated that while November is typically National Parent Engagement Month, “the New Year provides us an opportunity to celebrate and honor our parents and guardians.”

The proclamation was unanimously approved by the seven person board after a short discussion. 

“I’m super grateful this (proclamation) is here. I’m a parent and it’s no secret that I’m pretty passionate about parent activity in our schools. I also don’t think it’s a secret, the district as a whole wants parents and guardians as a whole to participate,” said Danielle Bethell, board director for Keizer’s zone 6. 

As part of the proclamation, board members reaffirmed that “we are committed to working with all parents and guardians, families, and community in collaborative partnership as supportive adults to help our children grow in knowledge and understanding and reach their full potential.”

In anticipation of the board’s vote, over a dozen people spoke during public comments in favor of the proclamation. Kristi Tomlin, a former teacher at McNary High School, spoke first in support of the proclamation. 

“I am a trained educator, literacy expert and school volunteer but I am first and foremost the primary educator of my own children. And I deserve to be at the decision making table as the law allows,” Tomlin said during a three minute statement. 

Multiple public speakers also implored the school board and superintendent Christy Perry not to close schools as COVID cases soar in Oregon and to reverse mask and vaccine mandates. 

Masks requirements in schools and vaccine requirements for educators came from the State of Oregon and Gov. Kate Brown, not Salem-Keizer School District leadership.

News tip? Contact reporter Joey Cappelletti at [email protected] or 616-610-3093.