Jake Rodstrom, father of a kindergarten student at Bayfield Primary School, said when his son acted up at home earlier this year, his mother told him to calm down. The boy sat down, crossed his legs and started humming.
“He didn’t learn that at home,” Rodstrom said.
Later that night, at a parent-teacher conference, they asked their son’s teacher about his behavior, and they were told it was part of his mindfulness instruction from a school counselor.
If students are ringing bells and chanting in school, Rodstrom said that equates with teaching religion in school – in this case, Buddhism – and other religions need to be taught as well.
It was one of several complains voiced Tuesday night at the Bayfield School District board meeting, which drew more than 40 parents and staff members.
Rodstrom also expressed concerns about the Timely Wolverine, the student newspaper at Bayfield Middle School.
“I do not agree with a lot of the articles in the Timely Wolverine,” he said. About half of the issues have articles that have mentioned homosexuality, he said.
While he does support freedom of the press, he asked if student journalists are also asked to discuss and present conservative viewpoints.
Rodstrom also said a teaching position is needed at Bayfield Middle School for gifted and talented students, instead of having them work on their own on computers. Gifted students are at a risk for dropping out because they’re often bored at school, he said.
“Our kids deserve better than that,” and should have a full-time teacher.
Another parent, Wendy Crane, said discipline needs to be handled more consistently at Bayfield Middle School, with students required to read the student handbook on the first day of school. She thanked Principal Tod Lokey and staffers for meeting with her and other parents and listening to their concerns.
The school dress code, eligibility for sports and communication with parents need to be more consistently handled across the board, she added.
School Board President Janie Hoover thanked the parents for attending the meeting and said all of those concerns will be shared with the new superintendent, Kevin Aten, who is coming to Bayfield from Estes Park next month. The transition period during this time has been challenging, she said.
Mary Rubadeau, the interim superintendent, also thanked parents and students for attending, and added that more public comment will be accepted at the board’s next meeting on May 22.