Letter to the Editor: The ESD Four — Common sense or red flags?

Voter Karen Ingalls believes much of the language being used by Vivan Cadematori, Jimmy Stewar, Ben Stouffer and Tonya Pettit is similar to Mom’s for Liberty talking points.

When considering all the ESD candidates, I have a sense that this “flight” of four candidates running under the same banner espousing “Common Sense” may be a red flag. My attempts to establish dialog and to better understand their positions on issues has raised concerns.

Though Cadematori and Stewart were willing to engage in dialog, Cadematori used alarming code phrases very similar to the national hate group, Mothers For Liberty, which is an organization targeting school districts nation-wide. Her platform focuses on “Parents Rights”, which perpetuates a false assertion that parents currently do not have rights. Cadematori states that parents she had heard from want to rid schools of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Critical Race Theory (CRT), but seems unconcerned with representing parents who have no interest in ridding their schools of Diversity Equity and Inclusion.

The DEI lens is used to ensure that schools fairly, compassionately, and adequately educate all of our students including minorities. SEL is lessons schools use to teach conflict resolution and emotional management skills students need to work with each other. Public means equitably for all and with our United States diversity, conflicts can arise from differing perspectives and backgrounds. DEI and SEL became needed tools to help teachers create the highest standard learning environment for ALL. That DEI, SEL and CRT are an issue for Cadematori is concerning as only SEL is taught in schools and is personal skills based, not about “morals.”

Stewart seemed at first to state that he would fairly represent all constituents and acknowledged that this race was not partisan. Stewart posted that morals should be left out of education, leaving me wondering what he means. As a SPD officer, his platform of school safety does not demonstrate essential skills needed to address the financial planning of needed school repairs, upgrades and new construction facing the district.

Extremist school board attacks are occurring throughout our nation, here in Washington and right next door in Tahoma’s election with Patrick Peacock, who stated he is, “the only conservative” candidate and has the “chance of taking over this school board.” Is an attempt to “take over” the ESD school board happening as well?

Voters deserve to know all ESD members will be represented without bias and with equity, dignity and respect. I am ready to vote for the knowledge, skill sets and genuine clarity that Gamblin and Mason bring to the table. I am disappointed and disturbed there was no public forum with all candidates present. I sure hoped that Lori Metschan had won the primary. Anyone want to file as a write-in candidate for the Stouffer/Pettit seat?

Karen Ingalls