California equity director blasts the parent 'resisters' to district's agenda in leaked meeting notes

The Poway Unified District equity director said that equity is a 'lense with which we look at everything'

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A California director for equity and inclusion director in the Poway Unified School District blasted the parents who disagree with her agenda as "resisters," according to meeting summary notes obtained by Fox News Digital. 

The meeting was held by JEDI – which stands for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. According to the group's chair, Casey Doan, it's organized by the Palomar Council PTA in the Poway Unified School District. Additionally, on the group's website, they claim to work directly with the district.  

The meeting notes, which detailed a rare glimpse of the conversations that occur behind closed doors, were found in a private Facebook group called "PUSD Parents 4 JEDI" and were posted by Doan.

"[H]ere are the Meeting Notes (more a summary than precise minutes). I'll continue to add to these, so this is a living document," she said. 

During a meeting dated Sept. 13., 2021, the district's equity director Dr. Shawntanet Jara was asked about her agenda. "What will be your approach to push-back from parents?" 

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Casey Doan, the chair of JEDI, posted the meeting summary notes in a private group called "PUSD Parents for JEDI (Palomar Council PTA)."

Casey Doan, the chair of JEDI, posted the meeting summary notes in a private group called "PUSD Parents for JEDI (Palomar Council PTA)." (Fox News )

Dr. Jara said, according to the meeting summary, "Push back is nothing new. It's loud but few… [L]ook at Org[anization] Change Theory: 20% resist, 20% wish you’d started 5 years ago, 60% just floating in the middle. I put my attention on the folks who were ready to move. There is a price to pay for that. But so be it. I have to sleep at night and need to know what I did was in service of children. My goal/ job is not to change their minds. I’m clear on that and ready to articulate that to resisters. Doesn’t have to be argumentative. It’s just factual. We can disagree and still be ok."

Fox News Digital reached out to Dr. Jara but did not receive a response. 

Then, the director was asked whether the associate superintendent for the district, Carol Osborne, supports this approach. 

She said, according to the meeting summary, "There does seem to be enough courage around now to take this on. Carol is very open and direct on her position with equity - a lens with which we look at everything. She too as a child didn’t feel she belonged. It’s so important for her that no other child feels that way. It makes me secure in moving forward. I’m not a check box. That’s the current feeling. Superintendent feels equity is non-negotiable." 

The director for equity and inclusion at the Poway Unified School District, Dr. Shawntanet Jara, discusses how equity is a ‘lens with which we look at everything.’

The director for equity and inclusion at the Poway Unified School District, Dr. Shawntanet Jara, discusses how equity is a ‘lens with which we look at everything.’ (Twitter/Screenshot)

Fox News Digital previously reported on Dr. Jara's and Osborne's emails with a parent who expressed concerns about the equity curriculum. Dr. Jara responded by refusing to debate the parent and resorted to making "statements" instead.

"I respect your perspective… One thing I have learned is that to ‘debate’ or ‘argue’ is futile so I'll just make a few statements," she said.

"I’ve been hired because this district is committed to equity and inclusion," she said. "True healing, progress, and equality cannot happen without truth and equity. There is nothing but supporting data available so you can rest assured that our high school students have access to back up any facts about systemic racism and inequality in our country.  You are welcome to share your concerns any time, but we remain invested in doing everything we can to make PUSD a district full of equitable learning environments… I want that for my two children and I want that for yours too."

The associate superintendent, Osborne, then followed up in an email, blasting the parent for criticizing the experiences of Dr. Jara.

(The Poway Unified District in California has come under scrutiny for the way it responds to parents who express grievances on the equity curricula. )

She said, "I was shocked that you questioned oppression to Dr. Jara, a Black woman. Her life experiences provide examples of oppression as do the experiences of thousands of African Americans and other people of color.  I am confident your life experiences have been very different from Dr. Jara and would not reflect the oppression she has experienced."

Fox News Digital reached out to Osborne but did not receive a response. 

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Those comments became the subject of an administrative complaint that was filed by the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, which accused the district of discrimination. The executive director, Wenyuan Wu, told Fox News Digital that the district "does not treat dissent and dissenters with an open mind or even minimal tolerance."

She added, "Parents and community members disagreeing with its teaching paradigms and social initiatives are often given the bureaucratic run-around. In some cases, parents were ridiculed and their concerns dismissed."

The district previously released a statement that said, "We welcome parent feedback and provide many opportunities for engagement for parents to express their perspectives as we all work toward the common goal of ensuring that all of our students feel included, safe, and a sense of belonging at our schools. Staff conducts all meetings and interactions with parents respectfully and according to professional standards."