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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Far-right candidates running in WA school board races

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Thursday, October 12, 2023   

Extreme candidates are running for school boards across Washington state, and if they win, opponents warned they could threaten the safety of some students.

The far-right group Moms for Liberty has 10 chapters in Washington and has been influential in school board races across the country.

Amy Nylen, vice president of the Ferndale Education Association, said the candidates running in her district are aligned with Moms for Liberty, although there is not a local chapter. She argued the candidates could change policies so teachers are not allowed to be safe and affirming for LGBTQ students.

"Having leadership that is affirming for LGBTQ students saves lives," Nylen asserted.

Moms for Liberty members have pushed policies including eliminating sex education and banning books covering LGBTQ topics.

Candidates with similar views are running across the state, including in Central Valley, Edmonds and Medicine Valley. Supporters of the candidates said they are backing parents' rights in schools.

Far-right groups have also pushed back against diversity, equity and inclusion in schools, including education about slavery and racism.

Nylen emphasized community members have expressed their support for educators and academic freedom.

"When we know we're trusted with making all of our students seen and heard and part of the curriculum and we can teach true history, it makes a huge difference for all of the students in our classroom," Nylen contended.

Off-year elections often have lower voter turnout than others, and Nylen is worried extreme candidates could use this and hot-button issues to their advantage this year. However, she noted she senses a lot of potential right now for students and teachers to make a positive difference in their communities.

"We need leaders who are prepared to do that, and I'm really glad that we're fortunate in Ferndale to have those," Nylen stressed. "I hope that other places will see that too, that we can offer people a really positive, strong alternative to these divisive choices."


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