Why School Kids Need Good, Safe Ways To Walk And Bike To School

This 30-minute video of the Eugene School District 4J​ School Board Candidate Forum at the Amazon Neighbors meeting provides some great insights into transportation and traffic safety issues in our community and in to the candidates’ perspectives. Great to hear school board candidates discuss this important issue!

Resources

Eugene Springfield Safe Routes to School serves a diverse community of parents, students, and organizations: advocating for and promoting the practice of safe bicycling and walking to and from schools throughout the Eugene Springfield area. More about Eugene Springfield SRTS.

Suggested Walking Route MapsThese maps are intended to be used as a guide to help parents/guardians select a route for their student to walk to school where feasible. Recommended routes typically have sidewalks and protected street crossings, or use low-traffic neighborhood streets. The maps were created in partnership with point2point Solutions, local SRTS coordinators, and school staff and parents.

Resources for Walk+Roll Challenge Organizers:
This May, help promote your Walk+Roll Challenge activities and events using these communication documents.

Email to Parents
Backpack Stuffer Full-Page Letter
Backpack Stuffer 1/2 Page English & Spanish
Backpack Stuffer Tear Off
Email to Teachers and Staff
Letter for Teachers’ Boxes
Morning Announcement Scripts
Classroom Tally Sheet
Individual Tally Sheet Options

Carpool/Walking School Bus/Bike Trains: For free, local transportation matching services for families with students in grades K-12 you can use LTD’s great SchoolPool program! By signing up you can find other families with children that attend your child’s school to share in carpool, biking, or walking duties. Any family can participate regardless of how they get to school now and incorporate these benefits into your daily school commute!

Getting started is easy:

  1. Contact your districts SRTS Coordinator or your child’s school and ask for the password to join your SchoolPool.
  2. Go to DrivelessConnect.com and register for an account.
  3. Search for your SchoolPool network and enter your password.
  4. Enter your commute and connect with other students who want to walk, bike, and carpool to school.

If you need any help, please contact Carolyn Chase at 541-682-6112 or Carolyn.chase@ltd.org.

Bike Safety Education:

Bike Safety Education Curriculum. The 9-10 hour on-bike curriculum we use in our regional SRTS program
Bicycle Safer Journey series. A good overview video series
Bike Safety Quiz (for adults, kids, and drivers) via Ride Illinois

Bike Parking Analysis: Visit bit.ly/BikeParkingTemplate to obtain our regional bike parking analysis tool. This tool can be used to assess bike parking facilities at one school or to compare and contrast the quantity and quality of bike parking facilities at different schools. You can read the full Eugene-Springfield Bike Parking Report here (pdf).

General SRTS Info: Visit the Oregon Safe Routes to School and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership websites for more SRTS resources and statewide and national information.

Responding to Hate and Bias Incidents

Reports of white supremacist graffiti continue to increase around the community. We need to be proactive and stop hate from spreading. There are things we can do.

  • Report all graffiti promptly so that it can be tracked by local law enforcement. Call Eugene Police Department at 541-682-5111 (Non-Emergency Line) if the graffiti is hate speech.
  • Familiarize ourselves with hate graffiti symbols. The Anti-Defamation League maintains a current database.
  • Encourage your friends and family to share incidents of discrimination, hate and bias over the phone with the Equity and Human Rights Center at 541-682-5177 or online.
  • Share information below with your parent teacher organization.

It is the policy of the City of Eugene to commit all available resources to investigate all reports of hate, bias, harassment, and violence. These crimes and activities have no place in our community.

Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement Staff are available to assist with or coordinate community meetings to respond if incidents take place. Contact your neighborhood association for more information.

Additional Resources in the Community

  • Stop Hate Campaign:  541-607-8077
  • Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crimes: 503-725-8502

How Can I Help: Supporting Transgender Students and Families

Parents of transgender children across the country and their allies are fighting for equal rights in light of the President Trump and key administration officials decision to withdraw federal guidance explaining what the nation’s public schools must do to protect transgender students. These are the words of a 4J parent with a trans child who has tackled the question of “how can I help?”

How Can I Help?

I’ve received some messages over the past week from friends asking, “We want to show our love and support, what can we do to be strong allies?” The truth is, you can do a lot. Many parents of trans kids choose to remain anonymous or do advocacy quietly because the hatred against trans folks is some of the most evil stuff I’ve ever seen. Did you know there are ferociously active groups committed to trolling trans people online with the sole intention of getting them to hurt or kill themselves? That those who are open about having trans children or being trans regularly receive death threats?

So, yes, as parents we walk the line between fighting openly on behalf of our children and wanting to protect our privacy/keep our kids safe. Which is too bad, because the misinformation about trans issues is enormous and there is great need for more people speaking out and teaching that trans is NOTHING to fear.

Our family is surrounded by wonderful people who love and affirm our child, but we’ve still been removed from holiday card lists, told our family and our child is going to hell, and given more well-intentioned but horribly mis-informed advice than I can even begin to tell you about. And we live in about the safest little progressive bubble in the U.S.

But I think about my home state of Missouri, where proposed anti-trans laws like bathroom bills are really, as Laverne Cox says, about erasing trans people’s right to exist in public spaces. I think about kids living in communities where school board members tell trans kids they are abominations, that they don’t deserve to exist, much less to have equal access. Where kids are rejected by their families and kicked out on the street because of their gender identity. Where being outed as trans puts you at great risk of being hurt or killed.

So, friends and family who want to support kids like ours, what can you do? First, look to your community: your family, your friends, your church, your schools, your city, your state. Where can you can offer support locally? How can you educate others? Are you speaking up when you hear hateful/misinformed talk? What are the policies and doctrines at your workplace or place of worship? Your state laws? Are they supportive of LGBTQ issues? If they aren’t, what are you doing to change them? If you need to educate yourself more, look to resources like genderspectrum.com and read, read read. Watch videos like the National Geographic special Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric

Give money to organizations like the ACLU, Gender Spectrum, and the National Center for Transgender Equality. The ACLU in Virginia is representing a true American hero, high-schooler Gavin Grimm, who is fighting for the right to use the bathroom at school that matches his gender identity.

[This is for those in the I-just-don’t-get-it category] Are you still uncertain about the bathroom thing? Send me a message and I am happy to talk with you. Then you will understand that supporting keeping trans people out of the bathroom that matches their gender identity is akin to supporting racially segregated restrooms. Are you uncomfortable with the idea of people being transgender or how children can really know if they are? Read and educate yourself (see above), maybe have a friendly (non-prying) conversation with a trans person or two, and then just steer clear of supporting policies or politicians hell-bent on making life harder for people who are trans.

Finally, if you stand up and speak out and use the resources available to you (be it advocacy, your privilege, your $, your influence) when you hear hate talk (yes, jokes count) or to change discriminatory policies and practices at your school or workplace or place of worship—then you are an ally. And as an ally you are working to change our country so that as the cutest little first-grader I know grows up, he can be as safe as any cisgender person is—just being who he is. This mama thanks you.

Read More

What Kids Bring to School

How educators can address poverty, domestic violence, and other issues affecting their students

A panel discussion hosted by Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics about how schools, teachers, and parents can effectively address the challenges in family and community life that kids bring with them to school.

Featuring Marsha Kline Pruett of Smith College School for Social Work; Alicia Hays, Director, Lane County Department of Health and Human Services; Elizabeth Stormshak, Director of the UO Prevention Science Institute and Knight Professor of Counseling Psychology and Human Services in the College Education; Carmen Urbina, Co-Director, Oregon Center for Educational Equity

  • Tuesday, March 14 at 4 PM – 6 PM
  • 1515 Agate St, Eugene, Oregon 97403
  • Free and open to the public

More: http://waynemorsecenter.uoregon.edu/event/what-kids-bring-to-school-how-educators-can-address-poverty-domestic-violence-and-other-issues-affecting-their-students/

Free discussion about racial diversity in Oregon: Wednesday, January 18

Although census data show Oregon’s population becoming more racially diverse, the perception persists that we are one of the whitest states in the nation. Many Oregonians value racial diversity and the dimension and depth it adds to our lives, yet we remain largely isolated from one another and have yet to fulfill the vision of a racially integrated society.

On Wednesday, January 18 at 5:30pm in the Library Meeting Room at Springfield City Hall, Willamette University professor Emily Drew will lead participants in a conversation on Power, Privilege, and Racial Diversity in Oregon. This free event offers a place to explore some of the causes of continued isolation and the differences of experience between Oregonians of different races—such as institutional racism, white privilege, and unconscious bias. What systems are in place to prevent the racial integration and equity many of us strive for? Knowing what we do, how do we act—as individuals and communities—to embrace the opportunity presented by a more diverse Oregon?

Drew is an associate professor of sociology at Willamette University, where she teaches courses on racism, race and ethnicity, urban sociology, mass media, and social change. She earned her doctorate from Loyola University Chicago and has published articles in Critical Studies in Media Communication, Television & New Media, and Tourism & Cultural Change.

Through the Conversation Project, Oregon Humanities offers free programs that engage community members in thoughtful, challenging conversations about ideas critical to our daily lives and our state’s future. A series of Conversation Project events will be hosted by the City of Springfield’s Committee for Diversity and Inclusion and Springfield Library the third Wednesday of the month January through April 2017 in the Library Meeting Room. Free and open to the public.

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Homelessness on the rise for local students

Numbers reported statewide in 2015-16 are higher than those recorded during the Great Recession

NOV. 26, 2016

Seven-year-old Luke Perrin and his father, Robert Perrin, 35, slept Tuesday night in the bushes behind the Walmart Supercenter on West 11th Ave­nue in Eugene.

It rained “pretty much the whole night,” Perrin said.

He and Luke had only a blanket and a tarp for warmth and shelter.

On Wednesday, sitting in the office of his son’s school counselor, Perrin said his “happy-go-lucky kid” didn’t mind.

“He slept through the night, and he was fine,” Perrin said. “He thought we were camping.”

Luke is one of more than 21,000 homeless students in Oregon, a number that has continued to grow during the past three years.

In fact, the 2015-16 school year yielded a higher count of K-12 homeless students across the state than numbers recorded during the Great Recession, according to data from the Oregon Department of Education.

Last school year, 21,340 homeless students were enrolled in K-12 public schools, or about 3.7 percent of Oregon’s public school population.

The ODE reported the number of homeless pre-­kindergarten students in Ore­gon as 1,929.

Student homelessness is defined under the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act as children and youth who “lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.”

That definition includes those who live in homeless shelters and transitional housing units; share housing with others because of economic hardship; or reside in motels or live in tents or trailers for a lack of alternative, adequate housing, according to the ODE.

The majority of homeless Ore­gon students — 16,163 during 2015-16 — are in the “shared housing” category. Of those, 2,377 had no adequate shelter, 1,926 homeless students lived in homeless shelters and 1,210 were living in hotels or motels, the ODE reported.

The Bethel district has the highest local percentage of students who are considered homeless under ODE’s standards.

More than 9 percent of the Bethel district’s student body — 524 students — were homeless in the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area during the 2015-16 school year. The 9.21 percent is just shy of a 2 percent jump from the 2014-15 school year.

The Eugene district saw less than a 1 percent increase since the last school year, with 900 homeless students enrolling during the 2015-16 school year. In the Eugene district’s 2014-15 school year, 810 students — nearly 5 percent of the district’s K-12 student population — were considered homeless.

In the Springfield district, the number of homeless students for 2015-16 was 480, a slight decrease of 11 students from the 2014-15 school year.

But although the state data shows that there seemed to be fewer homeless students in the district, Springfield district homeless-student liaison Janet Thorn said that the reported number likely isn’t accurate.

“I don’t think the number went down because there were fewer homeless students; it went down because we had fewer staff on board the whole year to identify students. The numbers are down because the workload was not what I could keep up with.”

In addition to a lack of district resources, Thorn said families often don’t come forward to self-identify as homeless.

“If they’re not in need of services, we don’t hear about the families living in a doubled up situation,” Thorn said.

Housing costs and other factors

So why does the number of homeless students in Oregon continue to grow, despite an improving economy?

The No. 1 answer in Lane County, according to the homeless-student liaisons at the Bethel, Eugene and Springfield districts: housing costs.

“There’s not enough affordable housing,” said Deborah Daily, the Eugene district’s homeless-student liaison. “There’s an increase in families living in their cars, and owners in the area are choosing to do no-cause evictions … the rental market is very competitive. People don’t have the means to move in, even if they have jobs. They don’t have the money for a down payment or a deposit, and they just can’t find housing.”

Donna Butera, the homeless-student liaison for the Bethel district, said shelters are strained by the demand.

“All of our shelters are full right now, and there’s nowhere for (homeless families) to go,” Butera said. “A lot of families are camping out later in the year, staying in motels and hotels, but then they don’t have rental history and are told they can’t rent a home.”

Unemployment, a lack of good-paying jobs and not enough affordable housing also are factors that contribute to the increasing number of homeless Oregon students, Tricia Yates, the spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Education, said in a press release Tuesday.

Perrin and Luke faced some of these tribulations at the Eugene Mission after the trailer they were living in was impounded last week. The duo stayed with friends for a couple of nights but then were forced to seek shelter at the mission.

“They said we could stay if I slept in one room and my son stayed in another,” Perrin said, tears in his eyes. “That doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not going to leave my son with someone I don’t know. I’ve never left my kid with anyone, ever.”

Children younger than age 18 are not permitted to stay on the men’s side of the Eugene Mission, but they are allowed to stay with their mothers on the women’s side of the facility, according to the mission’s website.

School districts step up to help

The good news for students is that public schools are required to provide a certain amount of assistance to homeless youth younger than age 18, and many districts are strongly committed to doing so.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, enacted by Congress in 1987, established the right of homeless youth to have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education provided to other children, Dailey said. The law requires that every district designate a liaison and collect data about the homeless children who are enrolled in K-12 public schools.

Reauthorized under the No Child Left Behind Act, the program works to ensure that homeless children are provided with immediate access to education services, despite the lack of a permanent residence, a supervising parent or legal guardian or records from a previous school.

Luke, who attends McCornack Elementary School in west Eugene, is one of several students there who receive such services.

“This is a really nice school,” Perrin said. “The first school (Luke) went to (in Eugene) … so many people called DHS on me because we didn’t have anything like school supplies and clothes and food. But everyone here (at McCornack) wants to help — not call anyone — just help; they’ve been amazing.”

Although Perrin said that Luke very much enjoys his classmates and teacher, he was forced to say goodbye to the group on Wednesday before catching a bus to Corvallis, where he and his dad hope to gain entry to Community Outreach Inc., a shelter where they could stay together.

But as he entered school counselor Brinda Narayan-Wold’s office on Wednesday and saw his father’s expression, the smile on Luke’s face quickly disappeared.

“Dad, why are you crying?” he asked. “Where are we going?”

As he began to cry, Perrin, who stood in soaking wet clothing from a night spent outside in the bushes, explained to his son that they would be taking a bus to Corvallis that evening.

“OK, that’s fine,” Luke said as his face turned to the ground. “Are we coming back?” he asked.

“I don’t know yet,” Perrin said, and he kissed his son on the head.

Email Alisha at alisha.­roemeling@registerguard.com .

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