Ina Barks, Bakersfield.com contributing columnist is a graduate of South High School and Cal State Bakersfield. She is a radio talk show host on KNZR.
Read her article – Huerta Foundation isn’t shooting straight with us at http://www.bakersfield.com/…/article_b486acb5-15e2-55d6-b69…
Dr. Gerald Cantu, Civic Engagement Director at the Dolores Huerta Foundation and Lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Cal State University, Bakersfield responds.
Inga Barks’ recent column reads more like a social media rant rather than a well-documented and -researched newspaper essay. In falsely accusing the Dolores Huerta Foundation, her “source” turns out to be none other than Mike Williams and his Facebook posts.
Mr. Williams clearly wants to allow teachers to carry dangerous firearms in class, and he is the person who decided to use his power when he was the president of the KHSD Trustees to convene a special board meeting on Thursday, Nov. 17th at 2 p.m.—and he only gave the public 24-hour notice about the hearing. This is a fact and it isn’t just the Dolores Huerta Foundation that pointed out the rushed nature and the unusual hour of the meeting. Students, teachers and other members of the community raised their voices to protest alongside us.
The board passed a new firearms policy on only the first reading to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons at Kern high schools without any regulations. The timing was highly suspect, as Chad Vegas had already said his farewells at the last regular board meeting, and Joey O’Connell was to succeed him at the next regular board meeting in 2016. This gave Mr. Vegas a chance to vote for this dangerous policy. It was politics at its worst.
We expect more of our journalists and columnists than to substantiate their opinions through social media rants which reflect but one side of the issue. Had Barks investigated the views of Williams’ colleagues on the board, she would have discovered a totally different perspective.
What did the other trustees think about scheduling a special meeting to take a vote on such an important policy during an hour in which parents, students, and teachers would probably be at work? Trustee Jeff Flores found the meeting to be “outrageous” because trustees were going to vote outside of a regular meeting, which, given its recurring nature and hour of the day, allows for the maximization of public input.
Barks accuses the DHF of lying. As I was reading her article I was searching for the particular facts which she accused the Dolores Huerta Foundation of presenting as lies, the false statements we knew to be false but were intentionally misrepresenting as truths. My search was in vain. Instead of focusing on any particular facts, Barks focuses in on her “perception” of the facts rather than the facts themselves. The facts are as follows:
1. Williams called together a special board meeting under the said circumstances. The perception is that Trustees pushed the gun policy through during a meeting where the public would have minimal public input and effect.
2. Barks has not consistently attended board meetings. Had she been there,
she would have seen the overwhelming response from community members, parents, students, and teachers to the new firearms policies trustees passed in 2016.
3. We now have amassed 3,500 signatures from a diverse array of individuals throughout Kern County, who are demanding that KHSD Trustees repeal the new firearms policies.
We invite all residents in Kern County who disagree that teachers and parents should be allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus to sign our petition at tinyurl.com/stopKHSDguns