Public speaks out at School Board and City Council

It was a busy night of meetings on Monday night. The QVSD board met at 5:30 in the High School Library and also on YouTube. The board heard an update on the online Insight School. Superintendent Diana Reaume said that COVID has brought more options for families. “Some try it and then come back, but it has opened the door to explore other learning options.”

In old business Bill Henderson shared information on the new stadium project. The old stadium is ready to come down in phase one of the project. Demolition is expected to start on March 14. The color scheme was also discussed as well as signage. Reaume shared that the stadium project has received donations to help with the signage.

COVID and the end of the mask mandate was discussed. Reaume said, “We need to be supportive if people still want to wear a mask.”

In new business, a motion was made and unanimously approved for Superintendent Reaume’s contract to be renewed for 2022-2025.

In the public comment period, several parents spoke regarding their and their children’s disappointment in the canceling of the High School play “Be More Chill.”

The play was canceled after being approved and after the cast had been rehearsing for two months.

Kristina Currie spoke for her two daughters. She said the play and drama, in general, are so important for kids not in sports. “Canceling the play has devastated the kids,” Currie said. “The play was about consequences, it never should have been handled this way.” The drama program lost the play Chicago to COVID last year and now this, “Currie added.

Harold Curtis spoke for his daughter. “Censorship is what it comes down to,” Curtis said. “Theater, literature, and art is never meant to be safe.” Curtis said the play did reference drugs and suicide but it never promoted them, “It dealt with them in a real way, the devastation they cause.” Curtis said the canceling of the play is heading down a slippery slope.

FHS drama teacher Tracy Gillett said, “My concern is two months of hard work got canceled.” Gillett said she was asked to make 209 changes to the play in one week. She added that trying to make these changes would need another two months of rehearsals, “This is like going back to step one, also with spring sports starting there just isn’t time.” She said, “The real world is hard, and this play referenced that.”

Eric Leverington said he was speaking out to support his daughter. Leverington said his daughter was a shy girl, after being in drama club she is now singing, “Sports is not her passion, getting on stage is, she loved this program,” he added.

“FHS has failed her,” Leverington said adding that drama builds confidence, courage, and creativity and most importantly develops friendships.

Board chairman Bill Rohde said he appreciated the parents’ words and hoped the play could go on, “This board supports the arts,” Rohde said. Gillett shared that even with an extension of the Copywrite for the play there just was not time to make the changes and some members of the cast participate in spring sports activities.

FHS Principal Cindy Feasel also spoke. She said she had received concerns from an adult and student regarding that they were not comfortable with the play and that led to her decision that changes were needed. Feasel said when she reviewed the play she was concerned over sexuality and language and thought the message was for an older audience.

City Council

The Forks City council also received a bunch of public comments on Monday night. Residents from a Forks neighborhood spoke out about their frustration with the ongoing activity at a suspected drug house. They shared they are sick of dealing with traffic day and night and garbage and junk that is accumulating on the property. “We are going nuts and I don’t feel safe” were a couple of the comments. Mayor Tim Fletcher said he understood their frustration as he had dealt with the same thing in his neighborhood. He said he would look to working with the police department and see if something could be done about the garbage. He also said the city is aware of the problem property.

Public works director Paul Hampton was given a shoutout for his participation in the water rescue on the Calawah River on Sunday.

Christi Baron