Giant Turnout for Lander School Board

By Jeff Rebitski, Staff Writer

Tuesday Night was like a rock concert in the Lander School Board chambers as people from Lander and the surrounding area showed up to speak to the board. First to the plate was the middle school computer science club who have been working all semester on their programming skills and have produced a number of pieces of work that needed to be shown off to the board. 14 students demonstrated and presented their projects that ranged from video games to web pages. Each student then shared their investment in the program while sharing their takeaways from the program.

The impressive group of middle school students were for the most part, articulate and proud to share their accomplishments. The public was also impressed with the demonstrations and shared their enthusiasm with rounds of applause and cheers. 

The other delicate issue at hand, according to what was heard in the public comment portion of the meeting was the apparent dissatisfaction with the changing of language in the Office of Civil Rights document that the School District currently uses to identify protected classes within the district. 

A few years ago, according to the information presented at a previous meeting, there were designations added to the language in the document that were intended to be more inclusive to protected groups. I.e. LGTBQ, Pregnancy status, veteran Status, etc… 

The concern that was raised was that the language is superfluous and unnecessary as the document already includes all protected classes according to the state and federal government. 

The group gathered in chambers Tuesday night appeared to disagree with changing the language back and spoke emotionally and almost all in favor of leaving it alone. 

Later in the discussion, the changes were explained by the board and the research was shared from District legal counsel and from the Office of Civil Rights. The determination by the board members was that changing the language would not eliminate any protections under the law and would be compliant with federal and state requirements. 

The decision was made to amend the wording in the document according to the motion made. Then the board approved the changes.  

The group at large were peaceful, respectful and included members of the veteran community, the Episcopal church, business owners, parents and grandparents including two 90+ year old grandparents. Each person was relatively well prepared and followed the time restriction of 2 minutes.