Bethel School Board clash over LGBTQ+ resolution ends in sheriff complaint

Tensions rose at a Bethel School District board meeting last week when a proposal for a resolution supporting the LGBTQ+ community was not placed on the agenda, failing to pass in split vote among the board members. A public spat between two board members spiraled off camera, ending in complaints filed with a Pierce County Sheriff's deputy. 

Board member Roseanna Camacho publicly criticized Superintendent Tom Seigel and fellow board members for an alleged lack of follow-through on commitments to include the resolution on the June 11 agenda. 

"You break a promise, and you just take the LGBTQ resolution off of our agenda for today and don’t communicate it with anybody," remarked Camacho. "You are not kings in this district, and you need to communicate with the rest of us board members what’s happening." 

The meeting, marked by vigorous discussion and varying viewpoints on the issue, hinted at deeper discord within the board. Responding to the criticism, Vice President Board Member, Terrance Mayers Sr. said, "For the good will of our district, we have to look out for what’s most important and what's most important is why we are here and that’s to represent our students, all our students."

A comment that sparked outrage in Camacho, retorted, "Not just Black students." 

Camcho proceeded to accuse Mayers of pushing an agenda favoring Black students. Stunned by the response, Mayers replied, "Wow. That is offensive beyond all means." 

Pierce County Sheriff's Sergeant Darren Moss acknowledged the presence of a school resource officer at the meeting. The officer gathered reports of the incident, including one that stated: "Camacho reported that she was threatened by Vice President Board Member Terrance Mayers. The comment made was ‘be prepared for what comes next.’ When asked how it made her feel, she said ‘threatened - violence.’"

Mayers told the deputy he did indeed make the comment. However, it was not his intention to intimate, rather provide commentary on her "unacceptable behavior."


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Doug Boyles, Director of Communications for the Bethel School District, declined to comment specifically on the inner workings of the board's relationships. Instead, he emphasized the district's dedication to sustaining an inclusive, equitable environment for all students.

"We want to reassure our community about our dedication and commitment to fostering a healthy, inclusive, and equitable learning environment for all Bethel School District students," said Boyles. "District leadership is committed to working alongside the School Board to ensure that Bethel remains a place where all students can develop and apply the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values needed to realize their maximum potential."

This incident has brought to light the challenges faced in ensuring representation and support for all students within the educational system. As the board navigates these complex issues, community members look on with the expectation that their elected officials will find a path that honors both commitment and policy, while fostering an atmosphere of understanding and support for every student.

The district will likely address the situation in future meetings as they work to bridge gaps and honor their commitment to a fair and accepting educational community.


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