Tahoe/Truckee school board adopts Speak Your Peace civility campaign | SierraSun.com

Tahoe/Truckee school board adopts Speak Your Peace civility campaign

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; After more than a yearand#8217;s postponement, school district trustees have unanimously approved the regional Speak Your Peace civility campaign.

At the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District board meeting on Feb. 2, board President Kirsten Livak said Speak Your Peace and#8212; a public discourse campaign launched by the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation in October 2009 encouraging positive communication and#8212; was appropriate for adoption in light of its use in classrooms and among elected boards across the Tahoe/Truckee community.

and#8220;What I see happening in the classrooms is that the messages of Speak your Peace are already taking on a huge amount of impetus and movement in the classroom setting,and#8221; Livak said.

She added that after seeing it in action, the campaign would serve as a valuable tool for positive discussion within the school district.

The resolution to adopt the campaign was presented to the board in November 2009, when it was tabled after a long and controversial discussion.

During this monthand#8217;s meeting, Livak recalled the atmosphere at the time, describing the early conversations as and#8220;very robust.and#8221;

and#8220;We decided not to adopt it because we felt that there was too much tension and that the community was in a place that was very polarized at that point,and#8221; she said.

During the November 2009 meeting, the school board was confronted with highly controversial topics, including the districtand#8217;s English Language Learner instruction programs and its initial reconfiguration plan that changed Kings Beach Elementary into a Spanish K-3 two-way immersion-only school and Tahoe Lake Elementary into a K-3 English only school. The reconfiguration placed students in grades 4-5 at North Tahoe School.

At that meeting, Area 5 Trustee Bev Ducey made the motion to adopt Speak Your Peace and was supported by former Area 3 Trustee Kristy Olk, who said the campaign would serve as a visual reminder on how to comport oneself in public.

Livak and former Area 4 Trustee Lisa Mohun opposed; former Area 1 Trustee Bill Kraus was absent.

At the time, Livak said she was concerned about the way the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation created the campaignand#8217;s nine tools for civility and said it didnand#8217;t follow the campaignand#8217;s third rule of being inclusive when composing Speak Your Peace.

and#8220;They didnand#8217;t ask for community input on it,and#8221; Livak said in a previous Sun story. and#8220;The organization (TTCF) itself wasnand#8217;t inclusive.and#8221;

Though Mohun encouraged the campaignand#8217;s use outside the district, she said Speak Your Peace was redundant with the statewide Brown Act, the open meeting and public policy law the district already follows.

and#8220;I donand#8217;t think this motion belongs at the board level,and#8221; said Mohun at the Nov. 3, 2009, meeting.

During the Feb. 2 meeting, Area 4 Trustee Gaylan Larson brought up similar concerns.

Larson, though expressing his support for Speak Your Peace, questioned what precedent it would set for future public comment campaign adoptions.

and#8220;I just want to make sure we go into this with our eyes open,and#8221; Larson said.

Area 3 Trustee Randy Hill said the boardand#8217;s adoption is more about support for peaceful dialogue.

and#8220;I think the spirit and intent of this is all about decorum and mutual respect and some are going to follow it and some arenand#8217;t, but as a board I think weand#8217;re simply saying that we endorse the principles,and#8221; Hill said.