We request WCSD Board to Honor Feemster in School Naming, as Board Implied, Nov. 2019

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This petition includes the demand for WCSD to disqualify the May 12th Board meeting for the school naming agenda item 5.09. This petition includes the request to agendize the school naming of the CTE Academy at the repurposed Hug High School campus, as the Dolores Feemster CTE Academy (located at 2880 Sutro St., Reno, NV 89512).

Humanitarian's honor snubbed, after 70+ years of service in her own, once segregated community.

Justice pursued for humanitarian, Dolores Feemster, in school naming of the CTE Academy, scheduled for the repurposed Hug High site on Sutro in 2023, after Hug HS relocates to the Wildcreek location.

Through 70+ years of dedicated community service and leadership, the late humanitarian, Dolores Feemster, also known as 'Mother Hug' was a Nevada native who taught people not to give up when facing an injustice. In her honor, the pursuit of justice will continue until the matter is fully and fairly resolved.

The Snub - An Honor Rerouted; details of events:

Nov. 12th, 2019 -
Initial Board meeting for the school naming decision: The School Board President polls Trustees (7), and finds the Board (4/3) favor Dolores Feemster for school naming choice of the new CTE, Academy. In an attempt to avoid denying the late Senator Smith's family the decision, the Board Pres. (Simon-Holland), unusually, reopens public comment, and asks Smith and Feemster to share the naming. After the comments, the Board finds a name share is "watered down", and sets forth a motion to return both names to the naming committee with the intention to survey another school (Academy of Arts, Career & Technology) for Smith and "get creative" using the two names. They state the intention is to honor both women, Feemster and Smith. The late, Senator's husband, Mr. Smith enters public comment again, and warns the Board of encountering legal issues with their direction; the Board proceeds to reverse the school naming process.


Dec. 10th, 2019 -
Following Board meeting for school naming, after process reversal: Adrienne Feemster requests the Board [through public comment] to forward the sole name of Smith to the Naming Committee, to match the Boards stated intentions of reversing the naming process on Nov. 12th, 2019; there was no need to forward Feemster to the Naming Committee, based on the Boards stated intention to place Feemster at the repurposed HS. Adrienne Feemster also voices concern for the lack of transparency in the process. The Board disputes the comments and drops the consideration to share names on the new school, or name any other buildings or segments as an option. The Board concludes the agenda item by forwarding two names only, Smith and Feemster in the motion to the Naming Committee for further action.

Feb. 5th, 2020 -
Committee meeting for school naming, after process reversal: Naming Committee announces unfavorable survey response to place Smith at AACT, and communicates the Board's instruction is to vote a single name - Smith or Feemster, as a sole recommended name to go on the new school. Despite several Committee members voicing concerns about the Boards instruction - stating, "it is not the Committee's responsibility" to vote a single name, as it "is to rank" a selection of names for the Trustees to select from. The Committee Chair, urges the members to do so anyhow - passing Smith as the sole recommended name, and Feemster as the name not recommended; motion is set and forward to the Board to make the approval. 


Feb. 14th, 2020 -
Public grievance filed with WCSD:
Adrienne Feemster, granddaughter of Dolores Feemster files a grievance (4 pages), with the School District to address the misapplication of the District's School Naming policy, and formally reports open meeting law violations to the State of Nevada Office of the Attorney General (frozen due to the U.S. pandemic).


Feb. 15th, 2020 -
Internal investigation launched:
Washoe County School District launches an internal investigation in to the public complaint from Adrienne Feemster, granddaughter of Dolores Feemster.


Feb. 25th, 2019 -
Board cancels school naming item from the meeting agenda. Feemster supporters begin e-mailing the Board, and requesting Dolores Feemster is restored to the agenda for school naming consideration, as intended on Nov. 12th, 2019. Also, during public comment, supporters questioned why Feemster was removed from the School Naming agenda for consideration and forwarded to the Cold Springs school naming survey while being a finalist in the current contest for the CTE Academy, and Smith was not. Board Pres. responds; agenda will be written to allow Feemster to still be considered.
Note: heavy public actions, requesting the Board to restore Feemster to the naming process for consideration for the new high school at the old Hug site.


Mar. 18th, 2020 -
WCSD completes internal investigation and issues a formal response to Adrienne Feemster, finding "no proof" of failure in misapplication of policy and open meeting law violation. Note: State of Nevada Office of the AG, Open Meeting Law complaint pending (currently on freeze due to U.S. pandemic, 2020) 


May 12th, 2020 -
Board meeting for School Naming determination, following process reversal: the Board approves Smith based upon being the recommended name from the Committee and denies Feemster during an unusual process held with limited communication capacity through a digital media platform - Zoom share to YouTube, livestream.

Conflicts of Interest:
• Conflict: NRS/NAC Chapter 241
• Conflict: Administrative Regulation 7111, violation of Nevada, Open Meeting Law
• Conflict: Policy 7110; Governing Practice, B - naming committee selects names for ranking purposes not responsible for singular name recommendation.
• Conflict: Policy 7110; Governing Practices, A.- standard and consistent procedure; WCSD Mission/Purpose - the naming and renaming of schools and other facilities shall be done in a manner that is equitable and consistent.
• Conflict: Process and procedure was changed to benefit one constituent even though the constituent declined three (3) other offers to have a school named on behalf of their family.
• Conflict: Administrative Regulation 7111, Naming of Schools; Riley Sutton was Debbie Smith's Campaign Manager
• Conflict: Irene Payne, WCSD, Chief Communications officer is a close friend with the Smith Rep., Julia Ratti
• Conflict: Administrative Regulation 7111, C. Operating procedures.

 

ABOUT DOLORES

Although, my Grandmother wasn't awarded the naming in this contest, based upon the WCSD School Naming Policy (7110/7111), she was meritoriously deserving - and that takes nothing away from the late, Senator Smith.

This was not the right location for Smith. I wouldn't be being honest if I stated that any differently. The first school in the WC1 project, or 1 of 3 schools the Smith family had the privilege to turned down, or even a future school, as was also suggested by the Board, would have been more ideal to honor Smith's legacy.

As a native to Reno and a biracial woman, life was 'no crystal stair' - through the 40's onward... My Grandmother gave endlessly. 

70+ years of community service, 34+ years of school district service, making the Northeast home with 50+ years of property/land investments through segregation, redlining, lively racism, and discriminatory laws restricting her to live and work in that same community for a good portion of her life; aspiring to make a difference, while inspiring others to have a voice, when few cared. 

I'll briefly mention, the many volunteer programs she served in, community organizations she served on, and her 7 of 11 children reared into public service, her husband whom also was in public service and a military veteran (WWll), her community leadership, her personal home used like a community center - holding community meetings, after school landing spot for "latch key" kids, sheltered children and family's through emergencies, her food fed everyone, her personal vehicle used to transport adults and/or kids to appointments for medical, work, and after school activities in the same area that none of the Smith's have ever walk a neighborhood street, do not have neighborhood friends, or neighborhood stories, or even know the neighborhood history, like that of the instant park.

Dolores Feemster's position was not paid and she was not elected to public service. She gave because she was a humanitarian by nature and her work never ended.

Imagine that, a community matriarch with exceeding qualifications, is denied a public meritorious honor because a politician helped, along with others to enact a bill for school funding (WC1) in which the poor and middle class taxes, in that very same neighborhood, will pay the most for. That's a slap in the face.

If this isn't a "give to the rich and take from the poor" situation, what is. ...and for the record, I don't blame the Smith's. It was the Boards responsibility to lead by policy, that's what our tax dollars pay for; a transparent, equitable, public policy - that did not occur.

There, I said it.

Please know, every bit of the community's support, every kind word, and inspirational story about my Grandmother and family is so very appreciated. 

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.