PAE President: “White Privelege” Behind Parents Demand for Hybrid
Dozens, if not hundreds, of Pasco school district parents and even a few students were left bewildered, dismayed and even furious over comments made by Pasco teachers union President Scott Wilson during the Tuesday night board meeting. He is the president of the Pasco Association of Educators.
The Zoom meeting (also carried on YouTube Live) featured at least 30-35 minutes of public comments from a variety of parents, teachers, and Wilson.
At the 18:49 mark of the video (we have it shared starting at that point) Wilson tried to tie in the Washington D.C. and Olympia protests-marches as well as old 1960's Kennewick 'sundown' discrimination laws, to parents desire for implementing hybrid in person education. His comments included this:
"We must not ignore the culture of white supremacy and white privelege."
He claimed that phenomenon is behind "rodeos" and the "reopen everything" mentality supported by "our county commissioners" who also serve on the health board.
Wilson DID say "nobody wants remote learning", emphasizing it twice, but said given the rising number of cases and the 'new' strain of COVID, it's the best way.
He claimed everyone is only listening to the re-open people and that effort is fueled by the white privelege.
He also lashed out at the emails received by the District critical of teachers and alleged reluctance to return to class. Regarding concerns from parents about the mental health and state of their children, he said this:
"They (parents) complain their children are suicidal without their school and sports... as a father daily surviving the suicide of my son, I find these statements IGNORANT and another expresson of white privelege."
He did not elaborate on the circumstances surrounding that personal tragedy.
We were watching the event in real time, and the stunned silence from the school board was clearly noticeable. The board proceeded to hear a number of other comments, and devoted a large amount of time to them before moving to their regular business.
Several local Facebook-social media education pages exploded with hundreds comments. Some of them included: (names withheld for privacy and security)
- "...it’s DISGUSTING! The comparison is egregious. He is in a Position of power and cannot be making comments like this. His “speech” was prepared if you listen to the commentary- he should answer for this!"
- "Raise your hand if you're tired of people blaming everything on white privilege! Holy crap."
- "As a “President of the PAE” it was very disturbing to repeatedly hear him state “white privilege” throughout his statement tonight,"
- "that is disgusting. I would write Superintendent Whitney. His statement offended lots of people."
- "I had to go find it and listen for myself. Comparing bringing back the students to racial injustice and the Capitol riot is not ok at all..."
- "Anyone else listening to the psd board meeting and disgusted by PAE president Scott Wilson's public comment? So so so unprofessional as PAE president!!"
Meanwhile, while the board too no specific date action, they did discuss three options for returning to school for middle and high school students. They will ask elemtary parents to choose with hybrid-blended, independent study, or at home learning 2.0.
As for middle and high school students, fall sports seasons are slated to start February 1st. with transitions for students around March 1st for the upper levels. Parents will be asked to return their preferences by the end of January.
This story is rapidly going viral, and has already been picked up by MyNorthwest.com and AM 770 KTTH Radio in Seattle.