The Fresno Unified School Board must stop the chaos and do its job

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Another Fresno Unified School District board meeting, another round of chaos. A weary public wonders when all this will stop.

As if there wasn’t already enough for parents weary of the impacts of the pandemic on schooling, Wednesday’s board meeting was interrupted when Bullard High-area administrator Terry Slatic, started yelling at a speaker trying to address the group.

As reported by Bee editor Isabel Sophia Dieppa, Jessica Mahoney used some of her time on the podium to respond to a failed effort to recall Slatic. It was a sore point with him, so he started talking about her and board chair Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas.

slatic pose
For the second time this school year, a Fresno Unified board meeting ended in chaos and screaming Wednesday night after administrator Terry Slatic interrupted a community member who criticized him. Fresno Bee File

“Do your job,” Slatic repeatedly asked Jonasson Rosas, as he wanted her to silence Mahoney. She simultaneously tried to get him to stop being antagonistic.

But Slatic said he would continue to talk about Mahoney. “I’ll go all night,” Slatic said.

After several minutes, punctuated by Mahoney shouting “Rest, Marine!” to Slatic – he was a former Navy major who served in Iraq – Jonasson Rosas adjourned the meeting.

It was the second board meeting last year to end early due to an outburst from Slatic, the first in August when then-board chairwoman Valerie Davis called out. called for his resignation after numerous failed attempts to silence him.

Island Tweet

However, this was not the only drama of the gathering.

The vocal fireworks were preceded by speakers both against and supporting the Veva Islas trustee. The problem: a post she made on Twitter.

Genoveva Islas.jpeg
Genoveva Islas, administrator, Fresno Unified School District. Contributed

Islas is the founder and executive director of Cultiva La Salud, a non-profit organization that provides health education and other forms of assistance to agricultural workers and the Latin American community. Her group dealt with the pandemic by trying to organize vaccines for farm workers and providing older Hispanic women with groceries, personal hygiene items and household supplies.

So she naturally has a point of view when it comes to people who won’t get COVID vaccines. So, she tweeted about a recent study that indicated that short-term infertility can occur when an unvaccinated man contracts COVID.

“Although in the short term, any limitation on an anti-vaxxer’s ability to reproduce is a win!” she wrote, adding emoticons of clinking glasses, applause and a hyperdermic needle.

IslasTweet.jpg
This January 26 Tweet from FUSD Administrator Veva Islas drew furious criticism from some residents opposed to COVID-19 mandates. screenshot

This offended some who told him so at the board meeting. Fresno’s Republican Party called on Islas to step down.

Which she won’t. “I’m anti-vaccine. I’m. I’m not going to water it down,” she told Dieppa. “But I don’t mean anyone any harm.”

elected duty

Islas has the right to free speech, just like Slatic. But as elected trustees, their first duty is to the more than 70,000 children of Fresno Unified, the state’s third-largest district. It becomes difficult for the public to take them seriously when embroiled in controversies that are tangential to their chosen calling.

For Islas, the advice would be to tone down the rhetoric, as his social media is amplified by his office. She might have meant the tweet jokingly, as she claims, but that’s not how it appeared.

Slatic, meanwhile, took the criticism quietly in other meetings. He should have done that again. It’s already censored for the August explosion. He needs to stop losing his temper.

The school year is more than half over. It is high time for this school board to stay united. Focus on the kids and, to repeat Slatic, “do your job.”

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