To our friends and colleagues

However fallacious they may be, we feel compelled to respond to the accusations leveled against us by Kiera Morgan and Leslie Brown in the article posted on the morning of Nov. 19. 

The most glaring inaccuracy in the “facts” represented is that we wanted to “change the direction of Lincoln County schools.” Here are the real facts: 

  • We did reach out to Principal Moore, Dr. Karen Gray, Dr. Katie Barrett, Susan Van Liew, the members of the school board and Colt Gill of ODE. We did express our concerns about Edmentum — not about the hybrid program- in a letter to the above people. 
  • We were contacted by Dr. Barrett and Principal Moore, as well as ODE, who invited us to a Zoom meeting with Jennifer Patterson. 
  • We did speak with Jennifer Patterson on Friday, Nov. 13. 
  • We did not discuss whether the district should be returning to the classrooms. In fact, the first thing we said was that we do not want to talk about the district’s decision to return children to the classroom in a hybrid model, because what concerns us is the insufficiency of the Edmentum option. 
  • We did discuss our hesitancy as parents to send our own children back to the classroom, and our concerns about Edmentum being the only other option available. We feel that Edmentum is not sufficient in meeting the educational standards set out by ODE. 

The second inaccuracy is the “loss of revenue they will see as their students return to public school.” This is predicated on the assumption that we protested the district’s decision to return all students to the classroom in a hybrid model, which we did not (see above).

We are concerned parents, as are all of you, who want what is best for our children. As such, we reached out to the district and ODE. Other parents were offered similar opportunities to meet with Dr. Gray and Jennifer Patterson; we were not singled out or given any preferential treatment, nor was the district’s decision in any way related to our conversation with ODE on Friday (again, please see above). 

We know people are upset and angry. We understand their feelings and can relate. The truth (fact) is, we support all parents in making the best choices for their children and looking out for the welfare and education of their kids, including those who are ready to accept a hybrid education model. That is, after all, the only thing we were doing as concerned parents. Our concern is that the alternative for those of us who are not at that stage of readiness is not commensurate with the state standards as put forth in RSSL (Ready Schools, Safe Learners). 

These are not easy times we are navigating; attacking each other and spreading inaccuracies labeled as “facts” will do nothing but tear us further apart in a time that calls for more cooperation and communal partnership than ever. We stand firmly beside all parents and educators as we work together to discern what is best for our community, our families and our children. 

Written and submitted by Gavin and Amy Shumate, of Newport.


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