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The Monarch Times

The Monarch Times

Ramos’ Remarks Spark Controversy

On February 4, Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) board member Clerk Joe Ramos made derogatory comments to speaker Sandra Escobedo: “Some of what you’re saying here is alarming. Some of these parents here, they should take a rope and string you up.”

Ramos’s remarks led to widespread backlash. “Hostile language and disrespectful behavior are contrary to the values we hold as an organization and how we expect to be treated,” said Superintendent Jason Reimann. According to Reimann, HUSD has received several complaints that Ramos has created a hostile work environment. Ramos has  made controversial statements before, leading to outrage. In a June 2023 board meeting, Ramos used inflammatory language against LGBTQ+ people and accused teachers of “grooming”  students.

In response to Ramos’s actions, HUSD censured him with a 4 to 1 vote. “This means that he cannot be at any school sites, he can’t speak to any district employees except the superintendent, and the only time he can be on school property is for board meetings,” clarified HUSD board member Trustee Ken Rawdon. “The one thing we can’t do is kick him off the board. The only way we can do that is through the election process or a recall effort by the community,” Rawdon added.

Ramos’s statements were motivated by his opposition to Woke Kindergarten, an educational program HUSD has partnered with at Glassbrook Elementary School. The program aims to challenge bias in schools and create a more inclusive learning environment. 

Woke Kindergarten has received criticism from some teachers. They assert that the program uncritically promotes anti-police and anti-Israel values, viewing that the district should instead focus on raising student test scores. However, district officials argue that the program has reduced chronic student absenteeism and allowed students of color to feel safe. 

Ramos’s inflammatory political remarks reflect the larger reality of the U.S.’s ongoing culture war. Fierce debates have occurred over what role politics should play in the classroom. In the most extreme cases, school districts have resorted to actions like book bans on texts discussing topics like race and LGBTQ+ rights, leading to controversy. The Monarch Times reached out to Ramos for an interview. However, he did not respond.

Other school board members have largely condemned Ramos’ statements. “It was awful. Just awful. This is something that should show all of us that elections have consequences,” said Trustee Ken Rawdon. Despite Ramos’ rhetoric, Rawdon has an optimistic view of HUSD’s future. “Going forward, we will conduct business as we’ve done. We’ve done very good things like our ABAR and VAPA policy, and we’ll continue to do good things for the students of Hayward,” he said.

 

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About the Contributor
Elisandra Hampton, Copy Editor, Formatting Editor
My name is Elisandra Hampton and I am the Copy Editor and Formatting Editor of The Monarch Times for the 2023-24 school year. I joined The Monarch Times last year and I am dedicated to writing quality articles. I was born in Hayward, raised in Hayward, and plan to die in Hayward. My hobbies include drawing, reading, and spending hours on Instagram Reels. I hope I can continue creating informative content this year.  
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