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Establish ground rules for decorum before the meeting begins. Ask for a zero-tolerance policy for name calling (e.g. “Nazi”, “commie”, “racist’, etc.) and agree on appropriate consequences for violations.

Firmly but politely insist that the school board define and write down exactly what they mean by “equity”.

Keep in mind that the purpose of school is to educate children. Political advocacy, is not acceptable in the classroom.

If the school board is proposing changes to existing policies and procedures, it is reasonable to ask why the changes are necessary. If statistics are mentioned, ask for the underlying data. If the board is unwilling to answer questions, do not allow the changes to occur.

If the proposed changes seem warranted, make sure to have a clear definition for what constitutes success. If appropriate, consider asking for well-defined milestones and/or some method for tracking the effects of the changes over time.

Reject any policy that involves or requires segregation based on race. This is absolutely unacceptable and is illegal in many jurisdictions.

Be wary of policies that limit freedom of expression. Of course, regulating the speech of school children is a necessary part of basic discipline, but otherwise children should be encouraged to speak their minds as long as they do so respectfully and at appropriate times.

Good luck with your meeting.

Elizabeth Hanke