The woman featured on the Aug. 27 front page who moved her family from Bend to Crook County to avoid mask mandates in schools may have inadvertently solved some problems. She’s decided to homeschool her children.

We’ve read that some teachers/ staff in schools may leave because of mask mandates thus creating a shortage in schools. If all parents opposed to mask mandates decided to homeschool, then there possibly would not be a shortage of teachers and staff in schools. Seems like a win-win for Central Oregon school systems.

— Bonnie Kenner, Redmond

The problem with teaching critical race theory in public schools is that it is teaching racism, meaning judging everybody by their race and not by their character or their culture.

The Bend-La Pine school district has, as The Bulletin stated, “embraced initiatives promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.” All of these focus on race. The problem is that race is a construct while character and culture are meaningful individual qualities.

Parents are upset because the public schools are teaching their children that they are oppressive racists because of their race and teaching other children that they are oppressed victims because of their race. We Americans have endeavored over the past six or seven decades to eliminate judging people on the basis of race, yet public schools are teaching the precise opposite.

The Bulletin also compared objections to critical race theory to century-old objections to teaching evolution. The critical difference is that evolution is undeniable science, while critical race theory is merely race-based politics. Bend-La Pine Schools promoting racial diversity, racial equity and racial inclusion is teaching critical race theory. Parents of Bend-La Pine students and residents of the Bend-La Pine school district should vehemently object to that. It’s just wrong!

— Dennis Sienko, Bend

I was recently summoned to serve a four-week term on a Deschutes County grand jury panel. What an eye-opening experience! Serving alongside six other citizens, I discovered a slice of life in Deschutes County very different from my own, learned so much about our laws, and interacted with highly professional law enforcement people.

I came away with a greater appreciation of the Oregon State Police, Redmond Police Department, Bend Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and all the people involved such as 911 operators and dispatchers. In addition, I’m grateful for citizens who report crimes, be they victims, neighbors or passersby.

The district attorneys who presented cases to our grand jury were knowledgeable, professional, thorough and compassionate with their questioning.

I have so much respect for these professionals with a huge caseload, seeking justice for our community. They patiently explained Oregon laws and associated charges to us so we made good decisions.

My respect and gratitude for all who work to keep us safe in Deschutes County was strengthened during my grand jury experience. They deal with crime every day while I was only exposed for four weeks. When you receive a summons to serve on grand jury, I encourage you to do your part as a Deschutes County citizen and answer the call to serve.

— Nancy Miller, Bend

I am the parent of a Redmond student, and, like so many others right now, I am tired and stressed.

After witnessing several chaotic school board meetings, I made the decision to remove my child from the school district. It was a difficult decision, but one I made out of concern for the safety of my child — safety that I cannot rely on the school district to provide.

We have now heard the professional opinions of countless medical experts who support the mask mandate, but most of the Redmond School Board continues to push back and instead give their attention to the loud few demanding respect for their “personal freedom.”

We have been handed the tools to address this pandemic, and they are being scoffed at. This is not leadership; it is ignorance.

For me, the hardest part of raising children during a pandemic has not been having them wear masks in public (which they do frequently, without complaint), rather it has been having to explain to them why some adults insist on behaving so selfishly. I hope the school board starts making better decisions, but, for now, my trust in them is gone.

— Jordan Portier, Redmond

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(8) comments


Skittish, a good critique of CRT can be found in Wikipedia. Enjoy.


For nearly 40 years, I have taught social studies, history, and civics in the pubic schools. My students have never judged people on the basis of race. Coming to grips with history is difficult for adults, it is extremely uncomfortable for teenagers and younger. Let’s look at Mr Sienko’s observation that Americans have “endeavored over the past six or seven decades to eliminate judging people on the basis of race.” It is currently 2021. 7 decades ago takes us back to the 1950s. Black veterans of World War II could not purchase housing using a federally insured mortgage. Most of the people making those decisions were white. In the 1960s, The Portland City Council, a predominately white body, sited Interstate 5 right through the middle of a historically black neighborhood. In the 1970s, the Oregon Legislature, again, a predominately white body, had to re-ratify the 14th Amendment to the Constitution since a previous legislature had rescinded ratification. In the 1980s, athletes of color were the victims of racist taunts from both white students and their parents during a high school football playoff game. In the 1990s, racist skinheads beat an Ethiopian student to death. The skinheads belonged to the White Aryan Resistance. in the Aughts, basketball athletes of color were subjected to racial slurs at the state basketball tournament. Skipping the Teens for the sake of expediency, in the 2020s, the white Redmond City Council voted to allow Confederate flags to be displayed in parades. Clearly, whatever Americans, including Oregonians, have endeavored to achieve in terms of race over the past 70 years is still a long way off.


First, no, learning history isn't as painful as you state. Boring sometimes, yes. White people do horrible things, black people do horrible things, Asians etc.. In other words, people do horrible things to other people. But mostly, people are nice to each other, and these comment boards do not represent the public at large. Learning history is indeed very helpful for correcting the wrongs of the past, which is what most people believe and aren't trying to hide or ignore racism. We have all learned, decades ago how slaves came to America, how Chinese were used to build railroads, and how Japanese were put into internment camps out of fear. One example I never hear of is indentured servants who were white were brought to this country and taken gross advantage of. Many if not the majority died and those that didn't were treated harshly, almost like slaves. Catholics, Jews, Italians and Irish also have a history of poor treatment in this country, but they are never mentioned, which seems strange if one is truly concerned about the negative effects of bias. Perhaps if persons such as yourself presented a more balanced and credible accounting of history, instead of being completely biased, people would listen? You can't read minds to know if someone is "extremely uncomfortable". Perhaps consider it is your approach and condescension that irks people?

But we haven’t even begun to discuss black prejudice and racism, which is quite apparent. If you want to talk about racism, then all racism must be included. If some racism is okay and justified, then all of it is. I know, I am being “black and white” about it.

Nick Sandman wins suit against CNN for false reporting of incident with racist “indigenous man”


Black men plot attacking white employee by falsely accusing him of using racial slur and yet release video of them plotting the attack:


A black pastor who interferes with police and yells white slurs.


Black man attacking 4 white people


The New Black Panthers are rejected by the original Black Panthers



Mr. Sienko, much of your argument against Critical Race Theory is based on the fact that for decades our country has worked to reduce differences in how our citizens are treated because of what we look like. You are right. However, you profoundly misunderstand what CRT is. May I suggest an article on the American Bar Association’s website? The ABA does not have a reputation as a left wing organization. The article’s title is “A Lesson on Critical Race Theory” dated January 11, 2021.




I have read the ABA's positions on CRT previously and still agree with Mr. Sienko. The ABA is absolutely has left leaning politics and this has been known for decades. To say they don't lean decidedly to the left is beyond me. While they may have a position that is neutral or maybe even conservative, I am very aware they go left with many positions, eg guns, abortion, immigration, appointing judges, criminal law, same sex marriage, death penalty affirmative action etc. How do you say they are neutral? The overall pattern of their positions clearly fall on one side of the political spectrum.


Skittish, the ABA article isn’t a position paper. It’s a description of what CRT is by lawyers. And I said that Mr. Sienko is right that there’s been progress. His description of CRT however is off base. The citation, thank you MF, is an effort to move this ball forward.


True the ABA article isn’t a position paper, but is a “lesson” to us uneducated. I was thinking of all the position papers I could think of and thus used the word incorrectly.

CRT is never defined by those who supposedly know what it is and support it. They only say “That’s not what CRT is.” If you want it to succeed and for the rest of society to believe in it, why be so opaque? If it's so important, then it should be presented clearly and transparently.

CRT in legal theory is the belief that racism is baked into the law, is assumed to pervade other areas of society, and can perpetuate racism inadvertantly, for example Brown. More has to be done and the concept of racism has to be taken to whites wherever they are, as it is believed that whites only act in their self interest, to the detriment of non-whites. It is correct to say that CRT is not a curriculum, and thus can’t be taught, as it can cover a multitude of subjects, with varying material, involving discrimination. CRT is a praxis or practice of constantly examining life through a racial lens as racism is subtle, hiding everywhere throughout many different social institutions. Racism is identified by any discrepany between the races. Do you have anything to add?

Second, do you have any critiques of why CRT might be racist and destructive? Now it’s my turn to be opaque and see if you have any insight into CRT. Can you criticize CRT in any way? Here’s a clue: CRT was developed as a theory by lawyers and is now being applied in schools. If you can’t identify the obvious flaws in CRT and its implementation, you aren’t a true believer, but more an ideologue.

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