West Valley High School holds School Board candidate forum

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 4:17 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Wednesday, September 22, students at West Valley High School gathered at their Performing Arts Center to hear from prospective candidates for the borough School Board.

Students provided a variety of questions for the candidates.

In addition to making opening and closing statements, candidates answered lightning-round questions about mask mandates and the use of students’ preferred pronouns.

Topics under discussion at the forum included American Sign Language Education, problems with the current school bus schedule, and the use of cell phones to record teacher behavior in-class.

Candidates were also asked about teaching LGBTQ+ representation and education in schools.

In response to that question, Andrew Graham, who is running for seat A, said, “I support students being able to look into the historical figures that interest them and highlighting them in projects and things like that; but what I would not like is a curriculum, especially that tells students what to think about these movements. I’d prefer the students make up their own minds.”

Sally Gant, also running for Seat A, said, “I believe that that’s part of what’s wrong with our country is all these special interest groups have got us pulled all, you know, divide and conquer type of gig. I would like us all to get together as Alaskans. I think our country is in trouble. I’ve said that before, and we should be coming together.”

Seat A incumbent Erin Morotti said, “It is 2021. Let’s catch up with the times and celebrate such a large and beautiful part of our community. Let’s talk about the hard stuff, like how our assault and suicide rates of LGBTQ+ youth are too high to ignore, and education as a means of prevention, thereby potentially saving precious lives.”

Jeffrey Rentzel, candidate for Seat B, explained, “I personally think that everybody, period, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. My parents taught me that before I even went to Kindergarten, and that’s what we need to live by, treating each other with dignity and respect.”

Incumbent Chrya Sanderson said, “I believe that we need to honor the diversity that we have in our nation as people. None of us are by ourselves. We all come from different walks of life, different cultures and different diverse groups.”

The municipal elections are on October 5th.

The full forum is available on the school district’s Facebook page.

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