For some parents, COVID-19 safety adjustments for Roaring Fork School District athletic events evoke ‘mean spirited’ comments toward athletic directors
Superintendent Rob Stein reminds community, parents of communication expectations in place
While some student families are frustrated about the COVID-19 rules limiting spectators at high school athletic competitions, Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Rob Stein said comparing this to children being put in cages at the border is going too far.
Some excerpts of parent feedback aimed at athletic directors read by Stein at Wednesday’s board meeting were as follows, “this will only prove your only intention is to be mean spirited…it’s a poor choice you made and we parents suffer as a result…it’s like the Trump border family separation policy. What’s next, parents in cages? These are our children not your children. Our school, not yours…”
In an interview after the meeting, Stein said the protocol RFSD has for dealing with these kinds of comments is to essentially call it out and then remind others of the standards the district has in place when it comes to communicating concerns or positive feedback.
“I think what we do about it is we name it and ask people to abide by our communications guidelines…we want to avoid something that can be considered as derogatory or dismissive,” Stein said.
The primary reason he read the excerpts aloud was to acknowledge the tone and make it clear the district does not condone this kind of communication, Stein said. He also said the athletic directors in the district are accustomed to discussions featuring heightened emotions and that dealing with feedback of this nature is something they’re capable of handling.
“I think they’re well-equipped as professionals to handle those comments and concerns,” Stein said.
Another complaint perhaps wider felt through the community is the challenge with streaming success for games through the NFHS network. Kelsy Been, Public Information Officer for RFSD, said the district is aware of the challenges and is actively trying to improve upon them.
“We have been working closely with the streaming provider and the network to continue to troubleshoot and understand what’s going on,” Been said.
Board member Jasmin Ramirez commented on the feedback Stein chose to share at the meeting. She said the comments were painful and shocking to hear since her parents are immigrants.
“It’s a weird thing, today I’m wearing this pin on my shirt that says ‘I’m a child of an immigrant.’ And so to hear those words…I don’t even know what that is. That just makes me feel sick in my stomach,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez agreed with Stein and said the precedent for communicating should be something district employees and students hold themselves accountable to as well as individuals who reach out to the board or faculty directly.
“All of these words matter. And they hurt sometimes…We want our kids, our staff, everyone in our district to be treated with respect and kindness. That’s what we stand for.”
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