Wahluke School Board member receives flak over social media posts

by RACHAL PINKERTON
Staff Writer | June 30, 2020 8:47 PM

MATTAWA — Three Wahluke School District employees and one high school teacher from western Washington participated in public comment during the Wahluke School Board meeting on Tuesday, June 23. All four spoke about some comments that Wahluke Board Member Seth Weeks has made on social media.

While they acknowledged that Weeks does a lot for the Mattawa community, they claimed that some of his social media posts were racist, while others were non-scientific. Some of the commenters called for Weeks’ resignation from the board.

Wahluke Interim Superintendent Andy Harlow replied that he is addressing the issue of equity in the school district. Harlow defined equity as ensuring that personal or social circumstances, such as family background, gender or ethnicity, are not obstacles to achieving educational potential. He said that he hopes when the new superintendent takes over next year, there will have been progress made in this area.

Wahluke School Board president Lorraine Jenne said that it is hard to achieve equity when only one opinion is allowed to be presented.

Also on Tuesday, a current and a former student of Wahluke High School started a petition on Change.org calling for Weeks’ resignation.

In an interview a few days after the meeting, Weeks said he was not trying to be racist in his comments.

“As a citizen, I am entitled to my beliefs like others are entitled to theirs,” Weeks said. “There are lots of things that people don’t agree on in life.”

Weeks said that the people who know him know that he is not racist. He also said that he loves the students he mentors and coaches like they were his own.

“I am sorry that my posts have been taken offensively,” Weeks said. “I never meant it that way. My beliefs and feelings were not stated well enough for others to understand the intent of the posts. I never meant to do any harm. I am going to continue to work for my community, provide opportunities for all kids like I always have and help our community grow.”

Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at rpinkerton@suntribunenews.com.