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Members of the Cloverdale community brought forth a petition to object to the appointment of Brandon Axell to the Cloverdale school board. This appointment was highly scrutinized by people from within the Teachers Association of Cloverdale (TAC), community members and even people outside our community. The Cloverdale Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Trustees made the appointment as permitted by their bylaws. However, the objection to the appointment is also permitted by law, and is a normal part of the democratic process.

TAC encourages our fellow community members to recognize that even if they do not agree with the petition, it is well within the right of our community members to object. TAC vehemently opposes assumptions about the character of our CUSD board members. Assumptions, like ones seen on Facebook over the weekend are divisive, and in no way reflect the democratic process that TAC supports.

California Teachers Association (CTA) board member, Jerry Eaton, who leads the district that TAC falls under, took it upon himself to make a post on Facebook about the petition and tagged members of our local union without their expressed consent. When these members realized this to be the case, they all removed themselves from the post and called on Eaton to remove the post as well.

TAC does not believe race or gender to be the issue at hand and regret that the community has had to grapple with these statements during a time where our community, state and nation are already divided. Instead, TAC urges you to consider the statement made by Mr. Eaton as one that reflects his understanding and views of the appointment.

TAC leadership are not signatories on the petition, and based on our knowledge, each signatory has done so to advance what they perceive to be a more fair approach to deciding a position that directly impacts our students and community. However, if the petition is submitted with the required amount of supporting signatures, we hope that the community of Cloverdale will be able to understand that it is a legal process, just as the appointment of Mr. Axell by the CUSD school board was legal.

Beyond the matter of the appointment and the petition, TAC would like to reaffirm our commitment to the success of CUSD and the unity of our community. After the inflammatory, demeaning and unfounded claims made about our members and our union in response to the petition, and Mr.Eaton’s post, TAC refrained from commenting. Emotions are high, democracy is work and there will always be a winner and a loser. Regardless of politics, Cloverdale is our home. We are all each other’s neighbors, friends and ultimately — family. TAC looks forward to continuing to serve our students, teachers and the community.

The Teachers Association of Cloverdale is made up of teachers in the Cloverdale Unified School District. It can be reached at tac.cloverdale@gmail.com.

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