Member Jonas’ statement itself is full of demonstrable falsehoods, these have already been addressed in multiple news articles as well as the Advocate FHSD blog.
The 4 for Forest Hills admit Culture of Kindness Resolution was an “unnecessary distraction” and a wasteful expense
After 18 months, the Forest Hills School District board finally rescinded the controversial Culture of Kindness Resolution. In a special meeting this morning at 7 am, a unanimous vote was heard by a number of district residents in attendance to settle the lawsuit and rescind the resolution.
The Protect Diversity group has created a timeline of events to provide a retrospective look at the dates and documents that were publicly available surrounding this event for the background and accurate history, including the statement written in protest by the National Underground Freedom Center, here in Cincinnati.
The district has issued a statement, now available on the Forest Hills School District Website, claiming that the “settlement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing” and that the board “denies that the Resolution violates anyone’s legal rights.”
Interestingly, the board suggested that the decision to rescind and settle the lawsuit was due to the recognition that the document and actions to defend it were distracting from education of students. In their statement they write, “the board chose to resolve the matter to avoid the unnecessary distraction from the important business of educating children and to also cease the costs of litigation that would burden taxpayers
The district has aggressively fought to defend the Resolution since the vote to pass it in 2022. Although many signals indicated that the effort was hurting the community, the board persisted despite
For 18 months, the supporting board members Bibb, Hausfeld, Jonas and Stewart willingly and knowingly engaged in - in their own words issued today - the “unnecessary distraction from the important business of educating children” and even as late as October 27th 2023 stated that they looked forward to defending the resolution in court.
This district has always deserved a board that considers students and staff first, perhaps the members of the board finally realized that the “business” of educating children should never include acts to discriminate, silence, or oppress cultural heritage, born-in traits, selected religious affiliation or even prevent healthy self reflection in class settings.
Perhaps the 4 for Forest Hills finally acknowledged that the Resolution indicated a lack of basic understanding of the progress of society towards inclusion. Perhaps the 4 for Forest Hills learned over the last year and half that societies that demonstrate equity among diverse groups have higher economic stability than those that do not, as shown in this article by the International Monetary Fund, a global organization that works to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity and studies the impact of diversity and the acceptance of diversity on economies.
Or, perhaps Board President Linda Hausfeld, member Bibb, member Jonas and member Stewart realized that the position was always a losing one. The combination of events that occurred from the end of October and early November demonstrated they were going to have little support from their voters and limited opportunity from a legal standing.
The notable series of events in the last few weeks cemented the inevitable end
While we celebrate the outcome and speculate on the motivation, we must continue to be vigilant. The board members that remain may still make other attempts to enact the policy’s words through other existing policies and actions. Or, they may consider the chance to rely on state-level legislation currently being debated. As a community our voices tied with increased visibility to the board’s actions through public records and increased engagement at meetings, in PTO’s and PTA’s, in Booster Clubs has led us to a satisfying outcome today, but as always - we encourage the community to continue to work for a more inclusive tomorrow .
Today, NPR reported that the Forest Hills School District offered to settle the lawsuit surrounding the Culture of Kindness Resolution, a written document created in part between Sara Jonas and several local residents and implemented in a flurry of chaos over a year ago.
In June of 2022, members of the Forest Hills School District Board of Education Linda Hausfeld, Bob Bibb and Sara Jonas voted in support of a resolution that banned assignments where students would have to consider their race, socioeconomic class, religion, gender identity and sexuality. Board members Leslie Rasmussen and Katie Stewart voted against the resolution.
Soon after, a group of parents and teachers filed a federal lawsuit claiming the resolution violated their constitutional rights.
In October the judge assigned to the case issued a ruling on a motion to dismiss by the district. At that time the district issued a statement stating they intended to continue the fight to enact the language of the resolution “vigorously”.
The views and opinions expressed by individuals and entities on this blog are their own and do not reflect the views or positions of AdvocateFHSD.org.
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