Commentary on the SHAC meeting Nov. 1, 2017
The SHAC meetings begin at 6 PM every first Wednesday of the month except for the month of July at the main office downtown.
Members give monthly reports and unless you are member you are NOT (and will be told so) allowed to speak except for 2 minutes at the very end of the meeting - and that's only if it hasn't reached 8 o’clock, when the meeting officially ends. I’ve only been attending for a few months, but the meetings I have attended have all finished within 10 minutes or so to 8 PM. The chair has been giving time to a few people to make comments. So, if any of you are planning to attend and want to express your thoughts, plan your remarks by writing them down and make sure you don’t go past 2 minutes. Also, be aware that only a few people are allowed to speak, so turn in your comment early.
So, here’s a quick rundown of some of tonight’s topics and questions that crossed my mind.
Mindfulness – a program modeled after YOGA and meditation, 8 schools have classrooms.
What’s happening in those classrooms? Do they have a pulsating ball on a screen that speaks to kids, like the CALM app teachers can use on their phones?
Why would a school promote the religious practice of Buddhism and Hinduism? Christians pray too, but I am not aware of any chapels or prayer rooms on any campuses. Is my child allowed to pray during lunch, before a test, for a friend, etc? And why is the moment of silence now called a moment of mindfulness?
There are 14 Mental Health Clinics on campuses around Austin. A few of the campuses include LBJ, Akins, and Lanier. Students are assessed and prescribed therapies.
Are parents given reports of topics discussed? Do any of these sessions include sexual topics, and if so, do therapists demonstrate condom usage and does Planned Parenthood or any of their affiliates participate? Are parents notified before therapy sessions are conducted?
Red Ribbon Week – This emphasis teaches children to refrain from smoking, drinking, and taking illicit drugs. Anti-bullying is also emphasized. Before Welcoming Schools, and its special emphasis on LGBTQ families, anti-bullying meant everyone, no exceptions.
Adolescent sex can be just as dangerous, even with condoms. Why not refrain from that?
Will my child now be bullied because he or she does not participate in celebrating LGBTQ lifestyles and behaviors? On the Day of Silence in middle and high school, will my child be bullied if they speak?
Nurses on campuses – It turns out that parents are very distressed about their children with special health concerns and the lack of professional care. Some the campuses are north of a 1,000 students and have been using student health aides and virtual care via a Seton program instead of nurses or even LVNs.
Parents have questions, too:
"When will my child’s campus get a nurse to help with his intravenous treatments? Why is AISD saying they are in compliance when I have consulted with an attorney and he clearly says AISD is not? Why won’t anyone talk to me?"
In no way do I want to minimize the hard work that any of the SHAC members have done or are doing. Education can be a thankless job. I know because I taught school for many years.
For the kids,