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Community commentary: Twin Rivers USD Board meeting on 5/10

Updated: Jul 2, 2022

Thanks to Earlina Humphre for submitting notes on this important meeting!

Let's go over what went down at the Twin Rivers Unified School District Board meeting on 5/10. Specifically we're gonna be taking a look at the discussion surrounding agenda item B3.

What happened?

First on the agenda was time dedicated to folx who were at the meeting to speak on behalf of two teachers of color that had been removed from their duties. The teachers being Dr. Raja, who was removed from Oakdale, and Mr. Akbar who was removed from Grant.

Read more about Dr. Raja's story from this article published in the Sac Observer

Read more about both Dr. Raja & Mr. Akbar's struggles in this Newsbreak article

Watch the meeting recording by clicking here

Dr. Raja pictured below

Many students, as well as colleagues of the Dr. Raja and Mr. Akbar, showed up to support these beloved teachers. Mr. Akbar also spoke on behalf of Dr. Raja and himself. Folx gave testimony on the integrity of these two teachers, and also highlighted their contributions to the community. The following quote from Dr. Raja was recited during public comment:

Every child is a gift that we can't afford to lose

People spoke to the fact that Hands-On Mentoring, a mentoring program written, designed, and funded with money raised by Dr. Raja himself, is now suffering without the guidance and support from its creator. Folx also discussed success stories from students who had been blessed to have these two men in their lives. They described how Dr. Raja and Mr. Akbar had been able to help troubled students succeed, and how they have served as counselors, mentors, teachers, shelters and so much more for both their students and the broader community.

The big question was voiced by Mr. James Vanburen, who said:

If the TRUSD mission statement is to 'inspire each student to extraordinary achievements every day' - is the removal of these impactful teachers inspiring the students these teachers were involved with each and every day? Vanburen also mentioned the concerning lack of staffing diversity within TRUSD.

Why is this important for social justice?

The educators that are with our children everyday should have a passion for working with children, especially, but for other human beings as well. There are not enough minorities in the field of education, and the ones that are, who care passionately about their students, are being let go. Decisions to deny students access teachers who will inspire and empower them flies in the face of building any kind of educational equity within our County.

Parents and community members are holding a rally at the TRUSD Board meeting on Tuesday, June 14th @5:30pm.

Show up for this meeting. Continue to sit in on future board meetings. We must let our voice be heard.

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