Sunday, February 07, 2016
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LETTER TO Superintendent Nelson and Board of Trustees

LETTER TO Superintendent Nelson and Board of Trustees
Melody Wilhelm Brooks (class of 1986)

Please sign the online petition by clicking here!

Dear Superintendent Nelson and Board of Trustees:

We were shocked and dismayed to read about the school board’s decision against the “No Place for Hate” banners. As graduates of Wheatland High School, we have always been proud of the excellent education we received. However, after this short-sighted decision by the school board, we have serious doubts about the elected leadership of PCSD #1.

Let us say that Wheatland is full of decent, fair-minded people. They need to stand up to intolerance, because nothing positive will come about until they do. This is not about liberal vs. conservative or Republican vs. Democrat. This is a fair vs. unfair and right vs. wrong issue.

The four members of the school board who voted against the banners are not promoting the district’s vision of “Empowerment through learning so students can be successful now and in the future.” Nor are they “Preparing children for the 21st Century”, as noted on the district’s website. In fact, they are actively working against and discouraging both.

What these Trustees appear to be saying is that the only students they wish to empower and be successful are those who fit their idea of ‘normal.’ It is extremely disappointing to hear that Mr. Lee Dunham was a proponent of this terrible decision, given his lifelong dedication to education.
Further, just like any other district, PCSD #1 has policies against discrimination of any kind, hate, and bullying, as well as others that mandate tolerance of differences, good character, and a safe learning environment. With this decision, the school board just sent a message that they are going to violate their own policies, plus expect faculty and staff to promote this violation.

It wasn’t long ago that Matthew Shepard’s murder thrust the good people of Wyoming into negative limelight. While “No Place for Hate” is an inclusive program that teaches tolerance of all differences—physical, mental, racial, religious (the list goes on), the main reason given for not allowing the banners singled out sexual differences, which unfortunately brought negative publicity yet again.

If they had an issue with a sponsor, why couldn’t they have reached a compromise such as trimming that part of the poster (though it is proper to name all program sponsors, no matter who they are) or making posters without sponsor names? Those might not have been options, but surely there was a way to make this work and hold on to a program that not only helped raise awareness and tolerance of others, but appears to have been supported by the students themselves.
Instead, they chose to broadcast ignorance and narrow-mindedness and ensure that this inclusive, multi-faceted program could not continue. These Trustees should reverse their decision, then attend board training on diversity and make a formal apology, or else resign their seats. One shudders to think of the public relations nightmare these elected officials have created. 

Schools and parents owe it to children to give them the tools to be successful adults—which includes working and playing among a diverse group of people with all types of differences. Those who supported the “No Place for Hate” effort are doing just that. Others are doing a tremendous disservice to these kids and are in essence telling them it’s OK to treat others who don’t look, think, or act like them as second-class citizens.

Our question to them is, “Do you realize you likely have at least one of these ‘second-class citizens’ in your own family?”

Melody (Wilhelm) Brooks, Class of 1986
Leven Moore, Class of 1983
Tina (Bowman) Gnauden, Class of 1984
Katrina Crossland, Class of 2005
Heidi Wilhelm, Class of 1982
Cheryl Lynn (O'Connell) Herman, Class of 1986
Larry D. Herman, Class of 1986
Leslie (Cox) Crossland, Class of 1985
Chuck Cox, Class of 1988
Thahn Nygen, Class of 2007
Linnea Jonnsson, Class of 2008
Tristiny Clausen, Class of 2009
Briana Sheeley, Class of 2005
Tammie (Roberts) Kennedy, Class of 1988
Emma (Bray) Myers, Class of 1986
Stacy (Prewitt) Fernandes, Class of 1986
Carri Weber, Class of 1985
Terri (Weber) Lenz, Class of 1985
James Weber, Class of 1988
Lynn (Hazaleus) Kober, Class of 1989
Will Nolan, Class of 1984
Steven R. Freund [former student], Class of 2006
Scott C. Freund [former student], Class of 2006
Sean Patrick Freund [former resident], Class of 2007
Trevor D. Herman [former resident], Class of 2008
Jeremy Bredeson, Class of 1991
Rebecca (Hattan) Motley, Class of 1988
Rebecca (Lee) Maxwell, Class of 1987
Terri (Williams) Yeadon, Class of 1984 - left Wheatland due to unfair treatment of her mixed-race child
Wade Yeadon, Class of 1981
Michelle (Sorensen) George, Class of 1984
Kelly (Beidleman) Storebo, Class of 1989
Andrew Morrell, Class of 1989
Marlo (Laatsch) Miller, Class of 1987
Cory (Fluharty) Meyer, Cass of 1994
Joe Grotts, Class of 1990
Janelle (Stauffer)Wade, Class of 1990 
Teresa Minear, Class of 1991 and parent of current WHS junior
Britnee Bayne, Class of 1984
Paula (Turner) Flynn, Class of 1985
Deborah (Maston) Coffey, Class of 1990
Brenda (Helgelien) Herring, Class of 1987
Andrea (Stacy) Kirk, Class of 1983
Nancy (Portwood) Taylor, Class of 1989
Anthony Morelli, Class of 1984
Beth (Shepard) Hendon, Class of 1987
Jill (Archbold) Surrell, Class of 1994
Wendi Scholten, Class of 1996
Dona (Smith) Winger, Class of 1994
Craig Kittelson, taught in Wheatland from 1970-91 and had two kids graduate from WHS
Erin Grady, Class of 1997
Shane Durland, Class of 1986
Marne Durland
Jenny (Elliott) Wells, Class of 1995
Janice (Greer) Smith, Class of 1992
Will Smith, Class of 1991
Lee Morrison, Class of 1984
Dani Thompson, Class of 1995
Kristen Wagner, Class of 1983
Malina King, Class of 1983
Patrick Moore, Class of 1986
Lacey (Ward) Lynch, Class of 1994
Bill Smith, Class of 1994
Tami (Cordonier) Mascarenas, Class of 1984
Ronda (Blake) Stumbough, Cheyenne East High Class of 1981, parent of current student
Justin Herdt, Class of 1998
Thelma (Lucero) Kopejtka, Class of 1991
Robin (Lucas) Kuss, Class of 1982
Kelly (Reynolds) LaFayette, former resident with five children who attended Wheatland schools; one graduated from Wheatland
Felicia Messimer, Class of 1997
Mike Wilhelm, Class of 1984
Gabe Fernandez, Class of 1985
Gina (Zeppetella) Thorne, Class of 1985
Richie Thorne, Class of 1985
Wesley Wimber, Class of 1984
Deborah (Spaid) Anderson, Class of 1989
Daniel E. Williams, Class of 1987
Tammy (Koster) Wells, Class of 1987 
Curtis Cook, Class of 1998
Jenifer Cook, Class of 2001
Kelly Cook, Grandfather of current student
Jeanette Cook, Grandmother of current student
Gregory Slagle, Class of 1983
Jodi Freeman-Fuentes, Class of 1994
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10/22/15 1:06 AM

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2/2/10 6:32 PM
yeah right.: 
"So now all homophobic people have to keep their mouths shut. Very interesting."

The day that happens is the day the world explodes. Homophobes don't know how to shut up.
2/2/10 2:29 PM
Not sure: 
So now all homophobic people have to keep their mouths shut. Very interesting.
1/31/10 7:32 PM
Messimer, 1997 grad: 

A comment for 2006 Grad:

"First of all, the board members at the Platte County schools are there for a reason. They were voted/hired into those positions to lead this district in whatever way they see fit."

Actually, no. Board members are elected officials. They should set their prejudices aside and vote in a way that benefits all the students in WHS. Their actions put their agenda in play. Had they simply kept their homophobic mouths shut and mentioned that they didn’t like any “sponsorships” on the banners, this would most likely be a non-issue.

Some of these comments really make me sick. It takes a lot of energy to hate. I wish people could learn simply learn to accept that “different” is normal.

Lish Messimer, class of 1997

1/30/10 7:31 PM
Rose Blumer: 
I have always realized that there are a lot of small minded people in this town, and it is true that if you have a different relgious orientation than christian you are told to go back where you came from. Guess, what I came from here!! The good old USA, the country of all freedoms. Now our Board members seem to be condoning hate. I have contacted the ACLU and I am proud that I did!
1/30/10 3:45 PM
The word in my last post was suppose to be can't
1/30/10 3:42 PM
You have misread my sarcasim. As far as the Rec Center issue I do believe the town would support building one not sure if it could support to run it afterwards as per a survey that was done a few years back. Does it make sense to build something that you can afford to keep open after you build it.
1/30/10 12:09 PM
Matthew Shephard: 
If you had evidence that his death was because of a drug deal gone bad, you should have been coming forward with this information before the trial, since it was materially important information. If you did not do so, you were possibly enabling a miscarriage of justice, and you are in no position to lecture anybody on anything. 
1/30/10 11:43 AM
to: eqauality: 
Um, yeah that is partially true because most of the people ARE the same.. bigoted, homophobic,  racist, and predominately Christian.  those people usually treat each other the same.  but if you have a different opinion you get kicked around like a dog.  I've lived here 15 years; I'm pretty sure I would know.  no offense but you obviously don't seem to have a clue about the ignorant mentality of a town of 3,500 who won't even let a rec center here because they think it costs too much, and want everything left as it is.  I am a moderate/conservative but some of the idealogy here is ridiculous..
1/30/10 6:01 AM
Wheatland is not a hateful community they treat everybody the same that does not agree with them including Pastors
1/29/10 9:44 PM
No, I didn't. They have their own copies with my email address if they wish to contact or correct me. At least one also knows how to get in touch with me through family. I would love to have to write a retraction or correction. So far, no replies. Part of the reason for writing it was to see if we would get more of the story. But I don't expect to hear anything. IMO they have handled this poorly from the start, and I don't see anything changing.
1/29/10 8:47 PM
Stupid is as stupid does
1/29/10 8:45 PM
Go talk: 
Melody did you go talk to the 4 members that voted to remove the banners. Maybe we are not getting the whole story.
1/29/10 6:31 PM
To the Grads of WHS: 
You did get a good education, and you learned well not to just "take it" when "it" is crap. Great letter, and great coming together for the cause. In honor of JACK, maybe everyone should find ONE PERSON tonite and get that new person to sign the petition. Send a note to media, Rachel Maddow? Any one of those horrible liberal media people. We should make this national.
1/29/10 3:17 PM
It doesn't matter: 
confused your name says it all I said a Hurricane in Florida not wheatland put the weed down go back to Arby's and keep making food to keep people fat..  
1/29/10 9:45 AM
I give tours of the area; we will no longer stop in this county.  That means no local business will get our dollars and the county will not get any revenue. There is no place in this nation for a community comfortable in its prejudices.
1/28/10 11:10 PM
REALLY?? REALLY??  A hurricane in wheatland how dumb can you get?? It's like having an ocean around denver Colorado.
1/28/10 8:38 PM
Looks Like the PETITION will hit 500 soon!:

1/28/10 7:55 PM
You are kidding: 
Murder is Murder know matter of race, sexual orientation, color, religion or hate. We have laws in this country enforce what we have and love one another regardless of the other crap.
1/28/10 5:53 PM

Dear It Doesn’t Matter:

I live in Wyoming just south of you and taught in one of our High Schools. At least we had a LBGT club in that school and the students there for the most part seemed tolerant of what were of very open members of this community. If I’d had some of these same students in Torrington I would have feared for their safety. This board’s attitude puts students at risk.  

On top of that dear It Doesn’t Matter I would have sent your letter back for resubmission as failing to meet district standards. Maybe it meets the standards at Torrington however.

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