Menomonie School Board meeting 10/11/2021 to discuss masking and gender support | WisCommunity

Menomonie School Board meeting 10/11/2021 to discuss masking and gender support

October 8, 2021 - 11:15am
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Menomonie School Board Meeting for 10/11/2021

 This evening's agenda includes three items introduced by board member Angela Skillings.  The first is an action item to change the masking policy in the district to be fully optional for all students and to force the board not to re-consider that policy but to depend on the Superintendent of Schools to stop instruction  as necessary if COVID-19 is out of control.

The second item is a discussion item about gender support plan in the district.

The third is to discuss the fact that some teachers in the district have been segregating their classes betwen masked and un-masked students. 

Items 5c, 5d,  and 5e were tabled at the beginning of the meeting by vote of the board.

DISTRICT OF THE MENOMONIE AREA
NOTICE OF A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM
1715 5TH STREET W., MENOMONIE, WISCONSIN
MONDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2021, 5:30 P.M.

This meeting will be live-streamed at: https://ensemble.cesa10.k12.wi.us/Watch/j2TAb89N .

Members of the public are welcome to provide comments to the Board during the Community Communications item listed on the agenda. In-person community communications will be allowed at Monday’s meeting, but comments may also be provided in writing. Please submit your written comments or your request to be placed on the schedule for providing virtual comments by emailing janet_quinn@msd.k12.wi.us by 3:00 p.m. on Monday, October 11, 2021.

AGENDA

I. OPENING ITEMS

A. Call to Order

B. Roll Call and Quorum

C. Pledge of Allegiance Reading of Mission Statement

D. Agenda Order and Approval/Revision

E. Recommendations and Commendations

F. Highlight on Youth - Middle School

G. Student Representative Communications

H. Community Communications

I. Revenue and Expenditure Reports for the Month Ended September 2021

J. Monthly Employment Report (September 2021)

II. CONSENT AGENDA

A. Action to Approve Consent Agenda

1. Minutes of Regular Meeting of September 13, 2021 and Special Meeting of September 27, 2021

2. Financial Reports for September 2021 3. Donations Exceeding $1,000 for September 2021 III. PERSONNEL CONSENT AGENDA

A. Action to Approve Personnel Consent Agenda

1. Resignations/Retirements

2. Requests to Hire

IV. ACTION AGENDA

A. Approve Optional Masking Policy for Grades 4K-12

Note that the following statement is attached to this item in the board agenda - the proposal itself is attached below:

The attached agenda request was made by Angie Skillings.

 It is not recommended that the Board approve this proposal.

 This proposal is not aligned with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Dunn County Health Department, the SDMA Medical Advisors, the SDMA District Adminidstrator, the SDMA Administrative Team, the district's liability insurance carrier, and the advice of SDMA legal counsel.

B. Approve 2022 Health Insurance Renewal

C. Approve Final Budget Revisions for 2020-2021

V. DISCUSSION ITEMS/POLICY REVIEW

A. Discuss and Review Early College Credit Requests for Spring 2022

B. Discuss and Review 2021-2022 Budget Timeline

C. Segregation in Classrooms

Note that the following is attached in the agenda to this discussion item:

The attached agenda request was made by Angie Skillings.

 Earlier this school year, the district advised teachers on the very difficult task of trying to be creative to meet as many student/parent requests as possible when developing seating charts. Unlike most years, many of the requests this year had to do with masking preferences. While teachers were encouraged to consider these requests, teachers were also instructed to be careful when creating seating charts so that no group of students received an advantage over the other. For instance, teachers were told not to seat all masked or unmasked students at the front of the classroom.

 According to the school district's attorney, no law is being violated with how teachers in the SDMA have created seating charts. Separating students into masked and unmasked groups cannot be viewed as “segregation” as that term has generally been used throughout history.  Unlike students of a certain race, sex, religion, etc., “students who prefer to mask” and “students who prefer not to mask” are not classes that are protected by law.  Classes that are protected by law are usually based on immutable characteristics.  One cannot change one’s race—but it is relatively easy to change one's masking preference. 

 This issue about classroom seating should not be a surprise to any school board member.  It was discussed previously and was also included in Dr. Zydowsky's message to families, staff and Board members on August 27.

D. Gender Support Plan

The following is attached to this agenda item in the agenda listing

The attached agenda request was made by Angie Skillings.

 On April 23, 2018, the Board reviewed administrative guidelines that included a  in the SDMA.  The guidelines were created through a collaborative effort with the Pupil Services team. It was also reviewed and suggestions were given by the high school SAGA group, the SDMA diversity committee, and the administrative team. 

 A number of public comments have been made by one particular individual over the past few months at Board meetings in opposition to the SDMA Gender Support Plan. It has been made clear to this person that the administrative team has no intention of changing the plan to only recognize a student's biological gender, refer students to clergy, etc. 

E. District Communications

F. WASB Regional Election

G. Items Related to Next Meeting Dates, Board Committees, and Reports

VI. CLOSED SESSION

A. Action to move into closed session, for the purpose of conferring with legal counsel for the governmental body who is rendering oral or written advice concerning strategy to be adopted by the body with respect to litigation in which it is or is likely to become involved, pursuant to Section 19.85(1)(g), Wisconsin Statutes

B. Action to Approve Minutes of Closed Session on August 23, 2021.

C. Review Legal Advice Related to a Request for a Due Process Hearing

VII. ADJOURNMENT

A. Action to Adjourn

The agenda as noted above was posted more than twenty-four hours prior to the meeting date; therefore, this agenda and the agenda as published in the Dunn County News may have since been revised. The most up-to-date agenda information is available on the district website. This agenda is posted at the Menomonie Area School District Administrative Services Center, and on the district website at www.sdmanonline.com under the School Board link.

Steve Hanson
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