Two members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity for the Hart district were disappointed that they did not get to distribute the report they had worked on for a year at Wednesday’s school board meeting.
Gloria Mercado-Fortine and Steven Herskovitz said they wanted to present the committee’s recommendations to the board on Nov. 2, but they were told one member of the William S. Hart Union High School District board, Dennis King, would be out of town and unable to attend. The ad hoc committee decided it wanted to get the report on the agenda anyway.
“Then (Hart superintendent) Jaime (Castellanos) told us that Mrs. (board member Patricia) Hanrion would be out of town,” Mercado-Fortine said. “That made it difficult. We sometimes continue when one board member is out, but with something this important, to have two board members out, (we decided not to present the report).
But at the Wednesday night meeting both King and Hanrion came in late. Hanrion came in at 8:50 p.m. and King came in after 9 p.m.
“I was shocked when Pat came in because we really could have presented it,” Mercado-Fortine said. The report, now scheduled to be presented Nov. 16, contains recommendations that the board would need to discuss and possibly take votes.
Hanrion and King are running for re-election in the Nov. 8 special election.
Among the recommendations in the report are that the board consider establishing a school calendar that is sensitive to religious holidays, that districtwide training be established so that a “culture of respect” is present on school campuses, and that all school personnel be familiar with state policies on hate-motivated behavior and discrimination.
“These two people are running for re-election,” Mercado-Fortine said. “Why would they take off? I would hate to believe this would be used as a political ploy so that they would not have to address the recommendation.”
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