Superintendent Hinojosa is never short on anecdotes, metaphors, or jokes, but as someone attending to get some facts and clarity, I found the meeting lacking. Here’s what I mean:
A parent concerned about teen pregnancy asked what could be done in school to better combat teen pregnancy, especially at places like L.G Pinkston where it is commonplace to see pregnant students walking around and attending classes.
Hinojosa’s response was essentially “I had a kid young and wasn’t ready, so I understand” followed up by someone from the district assuring the parent that “health is part of the state curriculum.” The superintendent also said single gender choice schools will help reduce the risk for “8 hours during the day” which got a laugh from the crowd.
Both of you miss the point.
Her question is rooted in the belief that what is currently being done isn’t working and she’s right. Try listening to the parent instead of deflecting. Kids at Pinkston are routinely caught in bathrooms, closets, and on the sparsely populated 3rd floor having sex. Know your school one time for me. State regulations also limit what exactly can be discussed with regard to contraception, options after conception, and post-pregnancy education. Also, many of the students get health during or after 10th grade. When we have students coming into freshman year with kids or getting pregnant in 9th grade, that’s too late. That’s what she was asking.
What would have been a good response?
- We need better supervision on our campuses to ensure that our students (and security guards) are engaging in appropriate behavior and focused on academic success.
- We need to expand our health programs to younger students and provide counseling for students that are sexually active so they are fully aware of the implications of their actions.
- We want to create programs to help parents have these tough conversations with their students and education everyone on how to be successful after the baby is born.
Marquis Hawkins, the person challenging Dr. Lew Blackburn in the District 5 race (Pinkston’s Trustee), asked what opportunities there are for the community to reject some of the priorities the district has set for Pinkston and make sure that the bond funds are going where they are most needed.
Superintendent Hinojosa’s response was that there needs to be opportunities for community feedback. Yes, Superintendent, we know. That’s why the question was asked. What will those be? When? It is my hope that, like the one Dr. Blackburn put on for Roosevelt before the bond vote, there will be one at Pinkston the he and the superintendent will be present for.
You can’t charm your way to a better district and you can’t play the middle until your problems go away. South Oak Cliff has shown us where that leads. Now we are trying to move money around to make up for patchwork and the only people who are going to be hurt by all this are our students and our teachers. The ones who are in the buildings every day. If you are going to have an event, listen to the people that you are inviting to ask questions. Having the event is a step in the right direction though. Thank you for your service.
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