Dear ASBA Members,
We have two very important messages we wanted to ensure you received today.
FAQs on School Board Safety, Open Meeting Law and Parental Rights
Last week we sent a message regarding school board meetings being canceled due to concerns that the meetings could not be conducted safely for members of the board or the public.
Considering these events in which opposition to school mask policies have been discussed and debated, and recent assertions regarding Arizona’s Open Meeting Law (OML) and the parental rights of parents made at these meetings, ASBA has created an FAQ document as guidance to boards and their communities.
This document provides guidance on canceling a meeting without 24-hour notice if there is a concern, law enforcement presence at a board meeting, parental rights found in Arizona Revised Statutes 1-602 and more. View it here.
ASBA Condemns Racism and Stands Committed to Equity
Public schools have a responsibility to ensure the highest ideals of justice, citizenship and human dignity are demonstrated and upheld, from the governing board table to the classroom. They must stand committed to leading toward and advocating for more equitable and inclusive educational environments, free of racism, where every student, teacher, staff, parent and community member is treated with dignity and respect. As an association, we have that responsibility, too, and we take it seriously.
In fact, in June 2020, the ASBA Board of Directors passed a resolution condemning racism and affirming the association’s commitment to equity – the opportunity, access and inclusion necessary for every student to succeed. The resolution affirmed that “purposeful action against all forms of racism, both individual and organizational, is necessary to dismantle racism.”
Today, an Arizona talk radio host singled out two of our speakers who spoke at our invitation at the ASBA Equity Event. Although the event featured 30 speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds and races, and tackled the difficult but important subjects of culture, race and ethnicity and their impact on students and education, these two speakers — who are Black — were singled out, maligned and their comments were mischaracterized. As an organization committed to equity and also to being anti-racist, we believe it necessary and appropriate to condemn this.
In addition to being simply wrong, such tactics and portrayals harm all students. When concepts like equity are wrongly defined or misinterpreted, with racist intent or not, it puts up roadblocks to the school board’s essential work of building greater opportunity, access and inclusion so that every student can succeed, regardless of their culture, race, ethnicity, family income, home setting, ability, gender or any other influence or characteristic that can contribute to inequities.
We have never shied away from the fact that pursuit of greater equity is hard work. It’s part of our core beliefs. Rest assured, we will not shy away from the work itself, either. Arizona’s students are worth it – and they are counting on us.
We have said it before and will continue to say it again. School board members should never feel that they are placing themselves or their families at risk by serving their communities or doing what is right for kids. Remember, ASBA is here to serve you and will always be your association.