From the February 16, 2016 print edition
They say all great leadership starts at the top. Ferndale school board president and marijuana grower Cory Nunes should take that maxim literally. Take your hat off.
We know we’re showing our age but we would argue most would agree that our school board president should show some respect in the Mabel Lowry Library inside Ferndale High School. It’s one thing to embrace the marijuana culture that is sweeping our county; it’s another to show blatant disrespect for the common courtesy of taking one’s hat off while inside a building — especially the halls of a learning institution.
Last week at the Ferndale school board meeting, a group of young, bright and respectful Ferndale Elementary and Ferndale High School students addressed the board of trustees. They faced trustees and looked at our current school board president wearing his hat. We asked during the public comment period what the current policy was at the high school regarding hats inside the building. Nunes wouldn’t answer, defiantly telling us that he and the board are under “no obligation to answer anyone’s questions or comments” made during the public comment portion of the meeting. When we pointed out that Ferndale schools chief Jack Lakin had just answered another member of the public’s questions with a lengthy answer, Nunes said that “staff” would email us a response.
Lakin did just that later in the week, stating that the high school policy regarding hats inside is up to each individual teacher. When we asked about the policy at the elementary school, mum was the word. One look at the school’s handbook on its website and we confirmed that students are not allowed to wear hats inside school buildings.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. If you step up to be on the school board, you are held to a higher standard. You are a role model for our young citizens. Please, for pete’s sake, show them some respect.
Meanwhile, it blows our mind that school trustees or the disrict’s superintendent have not mentioned one word about the failed bond measure since it went down to defeat in November. It amazes us that trustees haven’t formed a community group and figured out what went wrong and how, perhaps, the district can return to voters with a smaller bond and a better and more transparent communication plan. Lakin has been busy placing blame in his opinion piece in the county newspaper for the bond’s failure, but doing no reflection.
There’s no doubt our schools need fixing. At the top of the list should be the boys urinals at the elementary school. The broken down and plastic-covered urinals made a great poster child for the bond, but as we’ve mentioned before they are a disgrace for our school. We’ve spent money on new surfaces for tennis courts and a playground, not to mention raises across the board. Isn’t it only fitting that we spend money on a basic need for our students? We urge the board to convene a community focus group with an electic mix of district residents to reflect on the bond measure, the failed campaign and what new transparent and honest leadership might bring to fix and preserve our schools. Time is of the essence and our children deserve better.