Listen and Learn | Local News | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Pin It

Listen and Learn 

Board members at Bend La-Pine Schools to meet with community members after hearing dissenting voices at its first meeting

After a return to in-person meetings, school board directors from Bend-La Pine Schools will host listening sessions to meet with the community members in a less formal setting than a typical board meeting, where public comment must be directly related to an agenda item. The first will take place on Thursday, July 29 from 5:30-7:30 pm in the Silver Rail Elementary School gymnasium, and will be hosted by Board Chair Melissa Barnes Dholakia and Vice-Chair Marcus LeGrand.

The first regular meeting was more contentious than what's typical for a school board. Over 100 protestors attended to oppose the selective masking of non-vaccinated students, masking students in general and the teaching of critical race theory. The audience was at times rambunctious, often applauding speakers who shared their beliefs and at one point demanding board members remove their masks. The board decided to continue fully masking students during summer school but the policy for the fall semester is still being determined.

  • Courtesy Bend La Pine School District

Local Republicans cried foul after the board's first meeting, when most of the school board was pictured without masks at an outdoor party.

"July 13 marked our return to in-person board meetings, following more than a year of virtual engagement," Dholakia said in a statement. "The volume of interest by our stakeholders to share their thoughts, concerns, and kudos—in person—is remarkable. It is our hope that this listening session, which includes a large venue, evening start and opportunity for conversation, will be convenient for potential participants and provide an environment for us to learn more from our parents, staff, students and community members."

Several board members echoed this sentiment at the board meeting, where they spoke about their willingness to hear criticism but stressed that arguments need to be formed in good faith and that both sides need to be willing to compromise.

"We are all sitting here at this table to listen to voices that are in the room and sometimes that can conflict with our own personal belief and our own personal identification of who we are, what our moral ground stands on," Zone 7 board member Janet Sarai Llerandi Gonzalez said. "My advice to all of you folks who continue to show up in support of your passions is to come in with an open mind and come in with the spirit of engaging rather than telling so that we can have honest conversations and that we can discuss the actual issues at hand."

People can sign up to speak at the forum on the BLP Schools website. The listening sessions are intended to be a continuing program, though only the one is scheduled at this time.

About The Author

Jack Harvel

Jack is originally from Kansas City, Missouri and has been making his way west since graduating from the University of Missouri, working a year and a half in Northeast Colorado before moving to Bend in the Spring of 2021. When not reporting he’s either playing folk songs (poorly) or grand strategy video games,...
Pin It

Speaking of...


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • My Marvelous Mentors

    My Marvelous Mentors

    Jim Anderson pens a farewell to readers
    • Aug 26, 2020
  • Make Masks Cool

    Make Masks Cool

    Bend nurses dole out PPE for fellow workers, after an angel donation falls in their laps
    • Mar 31, 2020
Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
2021 Les Schwab Lines for Life Golf Classic

2021 Les Schwab Lines for Life Golf Classic - Pronghorn Resort

Mon., Sept. 27
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social

Latest in Local News

  • Charges Pending, Payment Received

    • Sep 23, 2021
    Locals express outrage over the charges and release of Ian Cranston, who officials say shot and killed Barry Washington Sunday More »
  • Source Weekly Update 9/23/21

    • Sep 23, 2021
    The death of Barry Washington and an effort to make Bend's streets safer More »
  • The Invisible Audit

    • Sep 22, 2021
    A small but dedicated chatroom is coordinating a grassroots "audit" of Oregon's elections, with help from local Republican officials More »
  • More »

More by Jack Harvel

  • Charges Pending, Payment Received

    Charges Pending, Payment Received

    Locals express outrage over the charges and release of Ian Cranston, who officials say shot and killed Barry Washington Sunday
    • Sep 23, 2021
  • The Invisible Audit

    The Invisible Audit

    A small but dedicated chatroom is coordinating a grassroots "audit" of Oregon's elections, with help from local Republican officials
    • Sep 22, 2021
  • Not So Fast

    Not So Fast

    The first Safe Travel Summit seeks survey participants to address perplexing 2020 data on fatal car accidents
    • Sep 22, 2021
  • More »

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2021 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation