Chimacum Schools forced to address adult misbehavior

Laura Jean Schneider
ljschneider@ptleader.com
Posted 10/5/21

 

The Chimacum School district will be adopting a civility policy to their community relations protocol.

At a school board meeting held Wednesday, Sept. 22, Superintendent Scott Mauk …

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Chimacum Schools forced to address adult misbehavior

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The Chimacum School district will be adopting a civility policy to their community relations protocol.

At a school board meeting held Wednesday, Sept. 22, Superintendent Scott Mauk proposed implementing policy on the topic.

The suggestion follows media reports from across the country of outbursts at school board meetings by members of the public angry about COVID mask mandates.

“My opinion is that our volunteer, elected board members deserve to be safe doing the public’s business, just like any other elected official,” he wrote in an email to The Leader the following morning.

The example draft provided stated, “In the interest of providing positive role models to the children of this district, as well as the community, Chimacum School District No. 49 encourages positive communication and discourages volatile, hostile, or aggressive speech and/or actions.”

Mauk wrote, “Our staff are pretty comfortable and good at working with heated situations, but those can get out of control and get really unsafe. We see that in our neighboring districts and communities regularly.”

Before signing on at Chimacum Schools, Mauk was the principal at Edmonds Heights K-12, an Alternative Learning Experience in the Edmonds School District. His draft of the new civility policy is actually from the Edmonds School District.

“I felt it was a really good policy to bring to the board for consideration,” Mauk added. “It gives us a way to work with adults, not necessarily employees, who are not articulated in the Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying policy or procedure.”

Proposed action steps include a series of de-escalating techniques, from “politely admonish[ing] the speaker to communicate civilly,” to terminating a heated meeting, phone call, or visit, to calling law enforcement.

Copies of the policy will be given to those in violation.

The timing of the policy is relevant, Mauk added.

“We want to do it now to give more guidance to staff and board members in the eventuality that a situation with an adult escalates.”

He also emphasized that addressing parental concerns is a priority of the Chimacum School District.

“Having clear policy guidance ensures that the public has appropriate access to public schools and a voice in our processes,” he wrote, but the policy will offer protections for staff and ensure “that our interactions are civil, safe, and respectful and ensure all are treated with dignity.”

The policy will undergo a second reading by the board on Wednesday, Oct. 27, followed by a vote from the board.

Following the vote, Mauk will write the official procedure, which doesn’t need school board approval, and present it as information-only to the board afterward.

“Although not perfect, this is one more layer of policy that enables that safety,” he said.

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