On Monday, the Scottsdale Unified School District’s cowardly school board members held a virtual meeting so that they would not have to answer to their constituents.
This comes after their last meeting on May 18, where they walked out on the parents before the meeting got underway.
Concerned parents in Scottsdale decided to hold their own meeting and press briefing outside of Coronado High School, where the in-person meeting would have taken place.
Amy Carney led the charge and spoke on behalf of Scottsdale’s parents.
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Carney: I just want to thank everyone for being here tonight. I know that we would all rather be at home or doing something different but this is important and so I appreciate you showing up tonight. My name is Amy Carney, I’m a mom of 6 and we’ve been in SUSD for 19 years. I’ve got a child in high school, no school, and elementary school right now. And we the parents felt it was important that concerned parents and community members showed up tonight, despite the board members not showing up in person for tonight’s meeting.
We have been touted as a “belligerent mob” and many untrue narratives have been spread over the last several days. So we’re here to tell you who we really are. In reality, we are SUSD parents, grandparents, community members, and tax-paying citizens who care about education and how our kids are being educated, or not being educated.
We believe as parents that it is our right to guide the education and medical health decisions for our children and right now we’re not liking the direction that we see our leadership headed and we’re seeking transparency from our elected officials. No one expected such a huge turnout at SUSD’s board meeting last week. Despite what has been said by the administration or the media or on social media, let me be clear, in no way was there any premeditated intent by us to purposely disrupt that meeting with anything more than our presence and our public comments.
It is unfortunate that there were agitators in the crowd but you cannot blame parents for being upset right now. We also will not be held responsible for any organized groups that come to our school board meetings to purposely cause disruption. That is not who we are. Dr. Menzel voiced that he was disappointed in those in attendance at the May 18th board meeting. Yet does he and the governing board understand that we the parents are disappointed? That many people don’t just show up here on a Monday or Tuesday night unless they care and they’re concerned. If our district leadership would be more transparent and maybe make better choices, we would not even have to be here doing this right now. But we are here and we won’t be silenced. These are our kids and these are our schools.
You should also know that parents across the state of Arizona have been meeting. This past week, we’ve been hosting meetings in our homes to organize a parent-led movement to reclaim our Arizona schools. Parents are uniting together to create support teams in every region of the state to create a system of support for each other. Parents have been speaking out at board meetings but we’re being lied to, ignored, and even harassed. Myself harassed by the Scottsdale Board President on social media.
We the Arizona Parent Coalition officially launched on Wednesday, a campaign to actively recruit, train, and support parents to run for our school boards.
Parents know their children best and we need more parents on our school board that will respect and protect our parental rights all while offering our children a quality education without tainted political bias. Together we parents are a strong voice and we must unite to reclaim our schools by replacing unresponsive school board members one seat at a time.
Amy Carney then took questions from the press after comments from a few more parents.
Arizona Republic: There is a push in some school districts to recall some board members. Is that something that you’re thinking of doing?
Carney: No. We discussed it but that’s not where we’re going to put our energy. Our energy is going into like I said before, finding parents and helping develop them into strong candidates for 2022
Arizona Republic: You also said you started organizing at each other’s homes. How was that process of organizing? How did that happen? How did you join forces with one another?
Carney: Well it’s pretty easy. There’s a lot of parents and groups we’re already starting during Covid. I started AZ Parents Rights and Education, it’s a national group. There are several right now so we’re trying to come together because we all want the same things. It’s amazing… and you know that parents are busy. We don’t have time for this type of thing but we know we have to make the time we are making the time and we’re ready to put in the effort to make change.
Arizona Republic: How do you get funding?
Carney: We’re grassroots.
Fox 10: So it was the Scottsdale Police Department who said it was outside groups that were organizing and I believe you directed a lot of the criticism towards the board, but again it was the chief of police who said it so do you think the police are making that up?
Carney: No I don’t believe that but I can only speak for us the parents… We can’t stop tax-paying citizens from coming to our meetings. We just want to do this today to let you know that is not who we are. We are not some mob, we are parents.
Fox 10: well fair enough at least one of you claim to be that… but I guess that leads me to my next question. You are well aware that these groups are saying “we need strength in numbers here at this district” but if you’re a parent in that district and you know what’s best for your kids, why does somebody else from another district know what’s best for your kids if they don’t have any in that district.
Guy: Here’s a better question, why are there people on the school board who don’t have kids?
TGP’s Jordan Conradson: Do you think the school board members are doing the job that the taxpayers of Arizona pay them to do?
Issues such as critical race theory and medical freedom are at the top of these parents’ concerns. Parents want their kids to learn subjects like math, English, history, science, etc. Not learning that they’re racist solely because they’re white or that students of color are destined to fail.
Parents also do not understand why masks must be worn in the classroom, even though Gov. Ducey lifted the school mask mandate over a month ago.
Last Thursday, Carney started Arizona’s BEST Coalition to recruit, train, and mobilize parent activists to run for school board in Arizona. Amy told Conradson that “it’s for the kids to stand up for the kids” and it’s about building a grassroots support system to fix our education.
For more about Arizona’s BEST, visit the link below!
Best. – Building Education for Students Together (parentsknowbest.com)