There's a buzz, perhaps a growing issue, in Richland over a controversial political cartoon posted by the Vice-President of the Richland School Board. Last Thursday, this cartoon was posted on the Facebook page of RSD Board Vice President Jill Oldson. Reports say the page is allegedly private, but you can see her personal page if you go there. As of Monday, Oct. 18th, we did not see the cartoon anymore. The cartoon shows two children discussing school. One child says "I have a bully problem at school."   The other child says, "Did you tell your Mom?"   The first child says "It IS  my Mom!"   It shows a picture of a raging angry woman with a torch and a pitchfork heading towards a school board meeting. Her shirt says "No vax, no Mask, no CRT!"   CRT refers to Critical Race Theory, which is the controversial equity-social justice program being implemented in some schools across the country. Here is a screenshot of the cartoon:

RSD Board member cartoon (Facebook)
RSD Board member cartoon (Facebook)

Curious as to whether there have actually been issues with Richland School Board meetings, we reached out to Public Information Office Ty Beaver and asked if any kind of disturbances or threats during meetings, either in person or virtual. This was his reply:  "The district has not cut off any speakers at public meetings other than to let them know when they have gone past the allotted time or they hear a buzzer noting when they have reached the end of their allotted time. The district has not reported any behavior from anyone attending a board meeting, whether in-person or remotely, to law enforcement." So, we wondered what her views were of the parents and guardians in the Richland School District who object to policies and procedures.  We submitted an email asking some questions about this matter, and Mr. Beaver informed us it had been forwarded to Ms. Oldson.  That was Friday (Oct. 15th)  midday.

We purposefully held off on doing this story that day, to allow time for a response. Same for this weekend. As of this writing, we have not had a response from her on this. Response on social media from Richland parents has been strong, many saying this kind of cartoon is at least inappropriate for an official responsible for representing parents and students, being responsible for decisions that affect their children. According to PIO Ty Beaver, the District does have a social media policy for employees. An initial check of the policy doesn't appear to show any blatant concrete policy breaking by her cartoon, but there is one guideline that this appears to ignore: "Respect and Responsibility Employees, parents, and students reflect a diverse set of customs, values and points of view. Be respectful of others’ opinions in your posts or comments. You are responsible for the content you post. Do your tags, descriptions, and image portray you and RSD in a professional manner?" While the cartoon may not have specifically violated this policy, it does not paint parents who oppose board decisions and district decisions-policies in a positive light.

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