Monroe school district races could reshape board
Corrections - 9:55 p.m. Oct. 5:
The printed version of this article incorrectly reported that candidate Sarah Johnson supports Critical Race Theory in the classroom, incorrectly reported that Brian Saulsman currently works for the Monroe School District and incorrectly reported Jeremiah Campbell is running for re-election.This is the first time Campbell has run for election. The updates to this article corrects Johnson's points on curriculum and fully fleshes out Saulsman's material sent by email. The Tribune has updated the article online below. The Tribune regrets the errors.
MONROE — The Monroe School board elections are beginning soon and each candidate brings something to the table.
Johnson said curriculum should be anti-racist. During a Zoom call, Johnson said that “our curriculum should be anti-racist and that we should all commit to being anti-racist as well.”
For district 1, candidate Jeremiah Campbell, an appointee, is running for election with Brian Saulsman running against him. In district 3, Mary Reule and Molly Barnes are competing for a seat being vacated by Darcy Cheesman, while in district 4, Janine Burkhardt and Sarah Johnson hope to secure the seat being vacated by Jim Langston.
One aspect of this race is that Campbell, Barnes and Burkhardt have decided to support each other and essentially run as a bloc. While Johnson, Reule, and Saulsman are not running together, they have stated that they support each other’s policies and campaigns.
COVID-19 has been one of the main topics surrounding the school board and each candidate gave ways to tackle the problem.
Saulsman, who is a teacher in the Lake Stevens School District*, said in an email that “ COVID has created many challenges for schools, but it has also offered an amazing opportunity. It forced us to shift to a different delivery of instruction in a very short time. While this shift had lots of issues, it gave educators the opportunity to experience and consider new ways of teaching and learning.”
The pandemic has been a huge talking point for each candidate and all of them address it in their plans. For example Sarah Johnson is a strong supporter of masks, and vaccine checks being done in schools as told over a Zoom call.
Molly Barnes and Mary Reule are both strong supporters of minimizing adverse childhood experiences.
“I would advocate for the district to expand their work with Restorative Practices in addition to other research-based trauma informed practices,” Reule stated in an email. In a meeting hosted in Skykomish Park in Monroe, Barnes has also taken a similar stance; she wants to raise awareness for traumatic childhood experiences, and thinks this area is not widely known among parents and teachers.
Jeremiah Campbell said in a rally that took place in Skykomish River Park in Monroe that the children’s safety from bullying has been one of his top priorities and hopes to better discuss ways to address help groups for students in need of support. This has been a common sentiment between all candidates who all agree that bullying has no place in the school district.
At the same rally in Monroe candidate Janine Burkhardt has gone on record by stating that Critical Race Theory teaches “divisiveness and hate towards each other.”
All candidates have one common issue, and that is the well-being and safety of these students.
The League of Women Voters of Washington will be holding a Monroe School Board forum where all candidates will answer questions. The recording will air on KSER 90.7 FM at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 12.
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