Wake Up D99 attends school board meeting


Faith Nelson

The board held a meeting on Aug. 16 with many vocal participants.

A group of individuals by the name of Wake Up D99 attended the Aug. 16 school board meeting to speak about concerns with the mask mandate and equity report that was released in June of 2020.

Wake up D99’s mission goes beyond the masks as leader Laura Hois talks about the group’s mission and their concerns of including “radical”l elements in District 99’s curriculum.

“Last school year’s equity report was published with five strands of recommendations of what to implement in [District 99] toward increased equity. . . Throughout the equity report are the tenets of critical race theory,” she said.

Superintendent Hank Thiele talked about the concerns that were brought up in the meeting and how these issues have already been addressed.

“There’s a group in the community that is encouraging people to attend board meetings to raise concerns about what they believe is related to critical race theory and how that might be impacting the work we do here in school. I have tried to explain to the group that we don’t teach critical race theory in District 99, however, they have blended in our diversity work and equity work to be the same as critical race theory, which has caused them to continue to come out and address the board,” Thiele said.

During the meeting, spectators were heard yelling at the board. (example) School Board President Nancy Kupka asked the crowd to respect the guidelines listed before the reception of visitors

“I think it’s an important distinction when you have people come to the board about anything, they represent a segment of the community, but they don’t necessarily represent the entire community, and sometimes it’s very easy to lose that perspective when there is a hot issue that many people feel very strongly about. Some people can be very vocal, but we have to listen to everybody in the community. We get input in a lot of ways [such as] the board meetings, written letters, people who come to us at the grocery store; it’s not just during that reception,” Kupka said.

Despite the push against masks, one parent spoke about her perspective with the pandemic and where we are now. District 99 Kylie Sprang talked about what she has gone through, and where we are now entering the new school year.

“Every parent who has spoken to the board over the last year about remote learning and mental health have all wanted their children back in the classroom full time with sports and activities, and here we have it. . . All we have to do to keep the kids in person is to wear a mask,” she said.

Wake Up D99 plans to attend the next meeting on Sept. 20. In the coming weeks, they plan to “highlight students’ stories that contradict” the board’s statements from this meeting