Community members speak out against school board member

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During a school board meeting, concerned teachers, parents and community members voiced their concerns.

The controversy started when Lois Kaneshiki, a school board member for the Hollidaysburg School District, voted down the proposal for a substitute kindergarten teacher position because she believes resources are best put towards higher learning.

About a month later, the school board gathered to vote again for that position, but this time frustrated teachers and parents came to speak out against Kaneshiki.

At the podium Tom McCaffrey, a Hollidaysburg resident, said Kaneshiki relies on data not relevant to public school.

Kaneshiki she she has researched the value of early learning from homeschooling sources.

But McCaffrey said that doesn’t benefit the school district.

Kaneshiki said she’s only doing her duty as a board member.

“My personal agenda is try to represent the children and the needs and wants of the parents,” Kaneshiki said.

Heather DeStefano, President of the POT at Foot of Ten Elementary, said questioning the value of early learning and associating kindergarten teachers and baby sitters is unacceptable.

“for this reason I would ask the remaining school board members to determine if there is a bylaw that exists to allow for the removal of Lois Kaneshiki,” DeStefano said.

Kaneshiki said she was only speaking on behalf of parents who may have that perspective, and that her statements were misinterpreted.

And at the end of the meeting she took a moment to address the crowd.

“If I could turn the clock back and restate it I would probably use the phrase, instead of babysitting, I would’ve said something like child management, which other people have used also,” Kaneshiki said.

The school board president addressed Kaneshiki, urging her to be more aware of her statements and to understand that her words do affect the board overall.

With a 7-1 vote the school board approved the substitute kindergarten teacher position for Foot of Ten Elementary.

Kaneshiki remained opposed to the position for the second time.

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