Have you ever tried something and failed? I have. Were you then also publicly shamed, bullied and threatened for failing? Well, I have been.
Mr. Mcfeely calls me a bully for taking a stand about something I believe in, while literally being a bully himself in his op-ed. The Fargo School Board has been a jumbled mess for years. Many of the board members don’t listen to or engage with parents, they are failing to give our educators the support they deserve and then you add in the declining rate of success in our schools, and you get frustrated parents.
Many of us parents reached our frustration points with the Fargo School Board last spring, when we found out that no matter what the issue was, most of them wouldn’t engage with parents for input, and some still don’t. So, what can we do about it? We decided to recall them.
While some in this community have taken to their keyboards and used their opinion columns to bully and shame me and fellow parents, we actually went out and did something about it. We wanted to hold those in elected positions accountable to the people who elected them. I don’t know about you, but I have never run a recall before or circulated a petition. We read the rules and we did our due diligence and, guess what, we made honest mistakes. We went through each petition and crossed out signatures that we knew were not valid, checked addresses and made sure we had more than enough for the recall. Unfortunately, a small error makes an entire petition packet invalid, and thus an entire packet full of valid signatures is thrown out.
We, unlike the School Board, are willing to take accountability for our actions and our faults. We are not perfect, and we have learned a lot from this experience. I personally have learned that we have an amazing community that came out to sign these petitions. Over 4,500 signed and did so legally, and I would like to thank them. I would also like to personally apologize to them for not succeeding with our desired outcome. Many people stopped us and thanked us for standing up to support the education of children in our community. As a result of our efforts we now have a bunch of parents and taxpayers alike taking notice to what is going on in our education system and that is never a bad thing.
As for myself and the rest of the parents, we will continue to advocate for the education of our children, the support of our teachers, and the accountability of our elected School Board members. We will continue to volunteer and work with those willing to put the politics aside and focus on our kids.
Allie “Karen” Ollenburger lives in Fargo.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.