July 6, 2019

Opinion ~ Letter to Editor

To Whom It May Concern;

The LS R-7 district has experienced controversy over its Equity Plan. The Board met following egregious comments by its president. She has refused to step aside thus demonstrating a casual indifference to racism.

While the Board decided to move forward with equity training, they did so with caveats. First, they have only issued a one year contract. Further at least two Board members, have casually commented reassuring opposition that the contract can be revisited after the hype dies down.

Second, the Board has made no statement concerning the threats experienced by Dr. Carpenter. He continues to attempt to move the Board forward to protect students while his life is being threatened and he is the target of community hate speech on open forums. Not condemning this type of language implies tacit approval of as a tool to tone down Dr. Carpenter’s straightforward approach.

Most importantly, the Board convened on June 24 and July 1. These sessions are closed. An attempt was made to utilize MO Sunshine law to obtain the notes of the meeting inclusive of any votes taken and that attempt was rebuffed.

The Board attorney happened to serve as secretary. They argue that this fact, combined with the discussion of a “personnel issue” means that all information is privileged and not subject to community review. Given the circumstances, this lack of transparency is unacceptable.

Not only is the Board not addressing the equity plan’s content or protecting its superintendent, the community fears the board is readying itself to revisit Dr. Carpenter’s contract. We believe transparency is the only way to rebuild trust. Terminating Dr. Carpenter under opaque circumstances would be interpreted by many as approval of the threats against him and an unacceptable outrage.

While it is difficult to determine whether Board members are acting out of bias or their own financial interest, it is quite clear they are not acting on behalf of the community.

Laurie Betz
Lee’s Summit, MO