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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Candidates on the issues: Kata Dean and Riley Smith

  • Do you agree with the mask mandate for children in schools?

    • Riley Smith I will trust and follow the science, and the research is clear: masks help reduce the spread of the Delta variant, which has put children and their families at more risk than previous strains.
    • Kata Dean Children need to be in school, full time and feel safe as we follow accurate science and data, but I do not agree with mandates from Olympia making our local decisions.
  • Do you believe critical race theory is currently being taught in schools?

    • Riley Smith I've read our curricula and spoken with teachers: our schools are not teaching "critical race theory," which is a graduate-level legal framework people pay to learn.
    • Kata Dean Yes. I have experienced it first hand with my daughter. I have also met with community members along the campaign trail with similar experiences.
  • What’s your stance on the state’s comprehensive sex education program?

    • Riley Smith The voters in our district and I agree: our state should provide age-appropriate sexual health education to keep our children safe and healthy.
    • Kata Dean As sex ed relates to health, the human body and its biology, yes. However the curriculum goes too far in certain aspects and strips parents of their position and responsibility to frame the topic with their children.
  • Should schools have armed security personnel in buildings?

    • Riley Smith No. I believe students would be better served by mental health and substance abuse resources, not weapons, to keep them safe and healthy.
    • Kata Dean Yes. It should be a priority to facilitate training for our School Safety and Security Specialists in the best ways to deescalate and problem-solve for students with behavioral and emotional problems along with providing with proper resources.
  • What does equity in schools mean to you?

    • Riley Smith Equity is about removing barriers to success and expanding opportunity for every student in our system.
    • Kata Dean Each child individually will need help achieving their full potential. I am concerned about the term “equity” as to ensure all children have the same outcomes.
  • Do you believe all board members should be allowed to speak to the media, instead of just the board president?

    • Riley Smith Yes, I believe board members should be able to speak to the press to better engage with our families and communities.
    • Kata Dean I do think other board members should be allowed to speak to the media and represent a variety of community member voices and opinions, and I don’t see how one person can do that fairly.