portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article portland metro

imperialism & war

UNANIMOUS!! Teach-ins on Iraq in Oakland

The Oakland School Board Unanimously (with one
abstention) passed a resolution to plan teach-ins
throughout the School District on the war on Iraq

Here is the FRONT PAGE! Oakland Tribune article and
below is the School Board Resolution, cosponsored by
Board Member Dan Siegel and Oakland Education
Association president Sheila Quintana.
The Oakland School Board Unanimously (with one
abstention) passed a resolution to plan teach-ins
throughout the School District on the war on Iraq

Here is the FRONT PAGE! Oakland Tribune article and
below is the School Board Resolution, cosponsored by
Board Member Dan Siegel and Oakland Education
Association president Sheila Quintana.

Anti-war school board plans teach-ins
By Alex Katz, STAFF WRITER
OAKLAND -- Students in kindergarten through 12th grade
will learn about the proposed war in Iraq at
1960s-style "teach-ins," a vocally anti-war school
board decided Wednesday.
School board member Dan Siegel proposed the resolution
encouraging schools to set aside time to teach about
the planned conflict to rid Iraq of what President
Bush calls "weapons of mass destruction."
"I think the pending war with Iraq is a matter that
has the most serious consequences for people in this
country," Siegel said, citing the inevitable deaths of
Iraqi civilians and U.S. military personnel, as well
as the allocation of resources away from schools and
toward war.
The teach-ins will be voluntary and open to parents.
Each school site will determine when, or if, the
events will happen.

Despite vocal opposition to an Iraq war expressed at
school board meetings by board members, schools
Superintendent Dennis Chaconas, teachers and students,
Siegel said information will be presented in an
impartial manner by teachers of all political stripes.

"We ask teachers to do that all the time," said
Siegel, who led anti-Vietnam War protests as student
body president at the University of California,
Berkeley, in 1969. "We have enough integrity and
respect for the students to provide them the
information and let them make up their own minds."
Fifth-graders from Sequoia Elementary School spoke in
favor of the teach-in at Wednesday's board meeting and
read letters they had written to Bush opposing an Iraq
war.
"When you go to war, you are setting a bad example for
all the kids in the U.S.A.," one letter stated. "Wars
and fights are not right, and bombing beautiful things
is not right either."
Teacher Betty Olson-Jones said the students came up
with the idea on their own.
The students invited Bush to come to a weekly class at
Sequoia that teaches youngsters how to resolve
problems without fighting.
"It's not fair for other people (if) they get killed,
because they haven't done anything to George Bush,"
said student Jennifer, whose parents did not want her
last name published.
Bush "is only mad at one person (Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein)," Jennifer said. "We think (Bush)
should come to our class on Wednesday to learn some
(conflict resolution) skills."
The fifth-graders showed they understood that the
United States once supported Iraq militarily.
"We think it's strange to go to war with a country you
taught war to," student Emma Styles-Swaim said. "We
think it's strange because, well, it's weird."
A White House spokesperson was not available to
comment Thursday. One official said the students could
probably expect some kind of response from the White
House.
School board member Bruce Kariya voiced concern about
exposing children below fourth grade to "the ravages
of war."
Other board members disagreed. As school board member
Greg Hodge put it, Iraqi children below the fourth
grade will lose their lives in any U.S. attack, so why
shouldn't children here at least know about it?
"At the end of the day, it's not going to be Bush and
it's not going to be (Vice President Dick) Cheney
going off to war," board member Jason Hodge said.
"They make the decision and then send our young people
to war."



RESOLUTION CALLING FOR A DAY OF PUBLIC EDUCATION
ON WAR AGAINST IRAQ
Cosponsored by School Board Member Dan Siegel, and
President of the Oakland Education Association, Sheila
Quintana

WHEREAS, the United States government states that
it is preparing to initiate a war against the nation
of Iraq; and
WHEREAS, an attack on Iraq by the United States
would have enormous human, financial and political
consequences in the United States and the world
community; and
WHEREAS, it is essential that the people of the
United States be well-informed on the causes and
consequences of military action by their government,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of
Education of the Oakland Unified School District
decrees that there shall be citywide public education
at the school level concerning the background of the
current crisis concerning Iraq, the options available
to the United States government for attempting to
resolve that crisis, and the likely consequences of a
United States military attack on Iraq;
FURTHER, that the District's Division of
Student Achievement shall work with the Oakland
Education Association to develop a list of available
resources and lessons that are appropriate for the
classroom;
FURTHER, that schools may invite parents and
other members of the public to participate in the
educational programs; and
FURTHER, that no student or teacher who objects
to participation in such educational programs shall be
required to do so.