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January 19, 2007

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DAWGOregon

What follows is some correspondence with the MESD board regarding these ignorant words Ron Chinn was quoted as saying.
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Dear MESD Board Members,
While watching the morning news on KGW this morning I heard a brief report pertaining to something a Multnomah ESD board member was quoted as saying last month at a MESD board meeting. Apparently Ron Chinn stated that students requiring special education services are “a bunch of slabs - slow, low and belows”. Aside from the use of poor grammar to state his belief, Ron has come out with what he’s likely privately thought for some time. I’m writing to express the Disability Activists Work Group’s (DAWG Oregon) official position on his words and obvious mindset. I am also requesting a response from the rest of the board.

DAWG believes there is no room for such blatant bigotry toward students with developmental disabilities ANYWHERE in our community. In the last state legislature the Respectful Language bill was passed, making law what is really common sense anyway. For someone in a position of being a board member charged with oversight of programs that support these students to come out with such language is appalling, disturbing, and intolerable.

We believe that if similar derogatory words were used to describe his feelings about African Americans, Latinos, women, or the gay and lesbian communities, much more than censure would be happening.

We believe that the Multnomah ESD must take immediate measures to remove Ron from the board, effectively demonstrating a zero tolerance for bigotry among all of its administration, employees, staff, and volunteers.

Sincerely,

Members of the Disability Activists Work Group
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Dear DAWG members:

On January 16, 2007, the Board of MESD voted to censure Mr. Chinn and publicly repudiate his remarks. The Board and this agency find his views to be repugnant. Mr. Chinn is an elected official and the Board has no legal authority to force his resignation or require him to make amends for his thoughtless and cruel remarks.

In this instance the Board, MESD's unions, employees and mangement joined with the general public to express our lack of tolerance for such remarks. It is now up to Mr. Chinn to make the honorable decision to step down.

Your email dated 1/16/07 was read aloud at the Board meeting as part of the official record.
If members of your group would like an opportunity to address the Board or Mr. Chinn in person, the next board meeting is on February 20, 2007 at 7 p.m. I believe Mr. Chinn's email address is published at the MESD website.

Thank you for expressing your concerns in such a timely fashion.


Harry Ainsworth
Vice Chair MESD


NYC Educator

Isn't it incredible how such blatant ignorance finds its way to places like school boards?

I've met a lot of teachers who hate kids. I've never understood exactly what drew them to the profession, but I suspect they have much in common with Mr. Chinn.

Kathryn

That is just so profoundly awful. There is so much misunderstanding and fear of the disabled. It's sad that society cannot embrace those who are different and might have a lot to give back. I read in another blog by a disabled person that if there was true access for the disabled to every public sector that able bodied people have there would not be any disability. People like Mr. Chinn ensure that never happens by propogating ignorance and callousness.

Advocate

Mr. Chinn, take the advice of the Multnomah ESD Board and RESIGN! Our children deserve better. Children need people to encourage and empower them, not tear them down and discourage them. Your comment saddens me so.

I can't believe school board member in Oregon, Ron Chinn, referred to students with special needs as "slabs -slow,low and belows. He really has no place in the education field. I would guess he has also never struggle to learn something because if he had then I am sure he wouldn't be making comments like that infact many sped students are rather talented. Dionne

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