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The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views

The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

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LOHS school board rejects Unified Theater proposal

As LOHS gears up for the upcoming academic year, proposals for new courses are underway and a decision by the school to reject Unified Theater has sparked controversy among students and faculty alike.

Unified Physical Education is set to debut next year, offering an inclusive approach to physical activities; however, the rejection of Unified Theater has left many scratching their heads, questioning the school board’s commitment to inclusivity.  Faculty members closely involved with the proposal are feeling a sense of disappointment and confusion. Bobi Bergh, drama teacher and one of the proponents of Unified Theater, expressed her bewilderment at the decision, citing the inherently inclusive nature of Unified activities. Bergh said, “I am trying to create multiple opportunities for all students no matter their challenges, and to be told that my class proposal was ‘not inclusive’ is exactly the opposite of what was intended and I think we need to help others understand what it means to be ‘unified’.” 

Educational Assistant Dalton Albois echoed similar ideas, highlighting the lack of concrete reasons provided for the rejection. “Inclusivity is written into the DNA of all Unified activities, and that includes Unified Theater. To me, saying that a class designed around the pillar of inclusivity was denied because it is not inclusive enough seems like a scapegoat for not wanting to fund the class,” said Albois.

The decision, in his view, reflects a disconnect between the school board and the reality of promoting inclusive education initiatives. He expressed concern over the message this decision sends to students with special needs and the overall culture of the district towards inclusivity.

Both educators emphasized the missed opportunity the rejection represents for students, particularly those in the Pathways program, who may already face limited options for accessible and welcoming classes. The denial of Unified Theater, despite the enthusiasm of teachers and the evident alignment with the district’s goals for inclusivity, underscores the district’s misplaced priorities. The decision has sparked a broader conversation within the school community about the district’s commitment to inclusion and the transparency of decision-making processes. 

As the debate continues, the rejection of Unified Theater serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges in ensuring equitable access to education for all students, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds. Albios concluded, “It’s just a shame. There are not very many classes available on our campus that are welcoming and have a curriculum that is reachable for our student population, especially our students in Pathways. So when two classes are offered up to the district on a silver platter with two teachers who are willing and excited to teach them and one gets the ax, it is a sobering reminder that when it comes to the priorities of this district, inclusion is not very high on the list.” It remains to be seen whether the school board will reconsider its decision in light of the concerns raised by the community.

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