▶️LGBTQ+ sports rights, classroom discipline, topics during Bend-La Pine forum


Literacy challenges, top needs, and changing curriculum are just a few things discussed during a Bend La-Pine Board Forum Thursday night.

Zone 6 candidates include current board chair Melissa Barnes Dhoalokia and Chet Wamboldt. Wamboldt did not participate in the forum.

Dholikia says she is a parent of two kids that attended Bend-La Pine Schools and is an educator by trade.

RELATED: Bend-La Pine School Board candidate forum tackles books, safety

One of the major topics was opinions on gender-affirming care and LGBTQ+ community members competing fairly in sports.

“I would like to talk to the person who’s going to look at seven-year-old in the eye, that transgender seven-year-old that wants to play baseball, and they know you can’t play baseball,” Barnes Dhoalokia said. “You have to play softball.”

Running for zone 7 is Kina Chadwick, Nicole Fitch, Rod Hanson and Elizabeth Justema. Fitch also did not participate.

Chadwick was appointed to the board in 2022 and is a first-generation college graduate.

Hansen says he has lived in the same house in Bend for 45 years, was a public teacher for 47 years, and is currently teaching at COCC.

Justema was a high school teacher for the last ten years and was in marketing before that. She says she is running to be the teacher’s voice

All candidates had similar views on discipline back in the classroom.

“You lose control of the classroom, you’re dead as a teacher, and discipline in the classroom would be key,” said Hanson, “Discipline. That’s the only way you can teach properly.”

Relationships are diminishing between peers, between students, and their teachers, and I would beg to differ that that could be a direct correlation to the behavior that we’re seeing right now.

“We were so worried about kids after COVID being damaged, which they were, but I think as loving adults, we need to put back in place some natural and age-appropriate consequences,” said Justema.

Nine questions were asked in total, along with opening and closing statements.

The forum was hosted by League of Women Voters of Deschutes County and the City Club of Central Oregon.

You can watch the fill forum here and vote during the May 2023 Deschutes County elections.


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