School board member censured

A packed room greeted the school board on Monday evening for their regular meeting. After approving the agenda, with amendments, and the minutes of the last meetings, two censure resolutions were read by Tim Hunter.

The first one was censuring another board member for using the term "wetback" in February 2012, according to the resolution. It stated that it "is a derogatory term that is insulting to all members of the community, and is discriminatory toward immigrants from Mexico and their relatives." She was censured and admonished "for such conduct." The motion to accept the resolution was carried, with Wesley Rivera abstaining.

The second resolution censured the same board member for conduct in January 2013 for which, according to the resolution, she "disclosed confidential information to unauthorized third parties". In this one, Superintendent Brian Hanson is "hereby directed not to provide any confidential employee information" to her ... "pending reasonable assurance that she will comply with confidentiality requirements in the future". The motion to accept the resolution was carried, with Rivera abstaining again.

The board member asked for proof of these allegations, and President Monty Guiles said it was not hearsay. She read a letter that she had received from members of the school board, in which she was asked to resign her position on the board. The letter cited three reasons for her resignation: her hostile actions, use of caustic language at the meetings, and refusal to comply with confidentiality agreements. "When I asked what I had done, I wasn't given any specifics," she said. "I was told that if I didn't resign quietly, it would become ugly tonight." She also said that she didn't feel all the board members were notified of the letter.

During public participation, Queenie Barz said that she was surprised when she looked at the agenda and saw the censure resolution. "I was curious how this comes about and wonder if you talk with the person," she asked. "As an employer, we have to do that . we have to give them a warming before we ask for a resignation." Guiles told her that there were a number of complaints brought to us by employees who had felt intimidated and complaints from other schools in regard to inappropriate behavior. "In my opinion, to bring it to the person who did the action is doing a disservice to the person who is making the complaint," he said.

The board recognized the robotics team, coached by Brady Archer. He said they placed 22nd in the qualifying round, got to the finals and then lost. "But slowly we've gotten better. We're the only school on the Western slope who participates in the robotics program," Archer said. The team consists of Justin Burton, Zane Willburn and Ty Koppenhafer.

The board also recognized Tia Imel, 10, who was invited to the National Junior Olympics Team for her shooting.

School safety was the subject of a crisis team that Heath Showalter is putting together. In addition to Bill Knauer, Mancos Marshal and Kathy Morris (with the Board of Cooperative Educational Services [BOCES] and Durango 9R), there will be other law enforcement, fire department and school personnel on the team. "Schools are taking a hard look at how we can secure our campuses when these buildings were built, when these things weren't an issue," said Hanson. The team will be looking at campus safety, staff access to buildings and bus safety.

The board approved the following items:

Grant Hobbs as wrestling coach;

Brady Archer as head middle school and assistant high school track coach;

The resignation of Alan Mathews as high school track coach;

The termination of Mike Glover as basketball coach.

The next school board meeting is on Monday, March 18.