Vote Bobby Hawk on April 5, 2022
To those who support me and to those who oppose me, I say the following unapologetically…
For the past three years, I have had the opportunity to support students and staff as a board member in the Blue Springs School District. I have chosen to run for the school board again because I believe that BSSD has great potential to continue to be the flagship school district in the state of Missouri. Our district is not without problems and we have many challenges to face in our future, but I believe we have some of the best administrators, teachers, staff members, and students in the entire country.
With that said, I will not be running on a single issue like masks or no masks. BSSD has bigger challenges than fighting over our personal beliefs on Covid. At this point, I am more concerned about part two of this pandemic, which is the mental and emotional health of our staff and students. While other people may choose to argue about mask efficacy, I plan to focus on the support we need to provide teachers who have reached a mental and emotional breaking point. I’d like to find ways we can support students who have experienced the mental and emotional toll that covid has brought into the educational process. My focus will be on finding ways to bridge the learning gaps that have resulted from quarantines and virtual learning.
Additionally, making sure we are doing everything we can to keep our schools safe so that learning can be achieved without disruptions that result from threats and violent behavior, is also at the top of the list. We learned years ago that it is difficult to educate a hungry child, so we addressed the physical need to make sure the stomach was fed so that we could teach the mind. In a similar way, a student who does not feel safe is a student that will not learn effectively. We need parents, students, staff, administrators, and board members to partner together to find ways to promote safety and protect our schools.
There are many more challenges that we will face. Some of them are known issues like the retention and recruitment of teachers, and some of them are unknown issues that will arise over the next few years. We will most likely face legislative decisions that may impact school districts financially and make it more difficult to accomplish our goals. It is imperative that you have board members who are willing to work together to meet these known and unknown challenges and not board members who have personal platforms or single-issue agendas.
Any school board candidate who runs on a single issue or personal platform is missing the greater challenges that we face as a school district. Anyone who runs and tries to further divide teachers and parents, or staff and students, is only exacerbating the problems we already face in school districts like BSSD. The focus needs to be on creating safe and healthy environments for all learners and for those who facilitate that learning.
I will not run a campaign focused on making promises that a single board member does not have the power to deliver. I have worked hard and will continue if re-elected, to partner together with the other six elected board members to do what is best for nearly 17,000 students and staff that make up BSSD. We cannot afford to have board members who are focused on solos or duets, but instead, we need an ensemble of seven members made up of unique, yet unified voices.
I have also learned that I will not attend every argument that I am invited to attend. Social media has created a platform of “keyboard warriors”, “arm-chair medical doctors”, and “google search scientists” who desire an audience. The audience that many of them seek is not the school board but an audience where they can bash the school board. For example, while Covid has been an ongoing disagreement in our community since it began I can think of two people who have signed up to speak at a work session where the audience is the decision-making school board. Instead, many individuals take pot shots on social media about the school board instead of coming to the school board with their concerns.
I think most of us can agree that the school district is an environment where bullying should not be tolerated. This is a constant challenge for a school district to tackle, especially because of the cyberbullying that has taken place in recent years. However, the same bullying that we stand against in the school district is being perpetuated by many of the parents who claim to stand against it too. Bullying board members, administrators, teachers, and other parents who do not agree with you are only reinforcing that behavior with your children. Hateful tones, false accusations, and harsh rhetoric only take away from the conversation that many parents claim to want to have with board members, administrators, teachers, and other parents.
We can agree to disagree without being disagreeable. It is important to understand that just because someone does not agree with you does not mean they have not listened to you. Throwing a Facebook temper tantrum draws attention to you but takes attention away from the issue you claim to care about most. I desire to keep the focus and attention on the issues that matter and to keep the dialogue open with those who can be respectful even when we do not agree on all the issues.
Over the past three years, we have finished the construction projects of a previous bond campaign and started a new bond campaign that was approved by the voters this past August. We have transitioned from one Superintendent who has retired to a new Superintendent who has taken the reins. We have continued to tackle challenges like trauma-informed care, student diversity, legislative issues that impact our district, all while dealing with a global pandemic. All of this is in addition to the normal responsibilities of the school board. It has not been easy, but the current Board of Education has faced each challenge and will continue to fight for the success of our students and staff as we move forward in the uncharted waters of public education.
In the coming months, we will have more conversations and forums as we approach the April 5th election. I will continue to share thoughts on ways we can support our students and staff. I will engage in healthy dialogue that brings forth the best ideas and approaches to public education. I will focus on what I am running for and not who I am running against. I will fight for what I believe in but I will not fight with others on social media who do not share the same beliefs. I will serve this district to the best of my ability over the next few months, and hopefully, over the next few years.
As a board member, my purpose is to help students and staff fulfill theirs.
Thank you for your support!