Community protests appointment of San Marcos CISD Student Health Advisory Council member

More than 50 people attended San Marcos CISD's board meeting Monday to protest the appointment of Naomi Narvaiz to the Student Health Advisory Council.

More than 50 people attended San Marcos CISD's board meeting Monday to protest the appointment of Naomi Narvaiz to the Student Health Advisory Council.

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SHAC
Image description
SHAC
Image description
SHAC
More than 50 people attended Monday's San Marcos CISD board meeting to protest the appointment of a local community member to the school district's Student Health Advisory Council.

Naomi Narvaiz was appointed to SHAC in September by the board along with 11 other people, but community members—including the San Marcos Cinema Club and Mano Amiga, a nonprofit serving the immigrant community—and some board trustees said Narvaiz' speech on social media was considered hate speech and harmful to the school district.

According to Narvaiz's Twitter, her tweets and retweets have been on topics such as gun control, religion, illegal immigrants, current issues, health insurance, homosexuality and the military.

During the 30 minutes of public comment allotted, speakers called for a "true vetting process" for SHAC members. Currently, community members must meet the criteria and submit an application that trustees vote on for approval.

"Clearly the vetting process did not work," said Jordan Buckley, who heads the San Marcos Cinema Club.

Reading a statement, trustee Anne Halsey said she has been asking for the district to adopt a "fair and transparent" vetting system for appointments to SHAC since August.

"Unfortunately, the vetting and appointment process has been flawed. The board’s actions have allowed the appointment of someone who expresses and acts with hatred and bigotry toward many of our students and staff, and whose extreme ideology presents a tremendous liability for, and distraction from, the critical work of our school district," she said.

Following public comment, the board went to executive session for about 45 minutes to discuss the creation of a policy for appointing SHAC members.

Back from executive session, trustee Miguel Arrendondo made a motion to remove all current SHAC members and reopen the application process. That motion failed 5-2, with Arrendondo and Halsey in favor.

The board then voted—with trustee Kathy Hansen opposing—to direct the board president and legal counsel to draft a resolution disavowing any bigotry or hate speech from anyone in the district. Halsey specifically mentioned Narvaiz in her motion.

Narvaiz, who attended the meeting, said she had not spoken to any of the 22 other members of SHAC about the issue of her tweets and Facebook posts.

She won the District 1 seat for SMCISD in May 2016 but resigned a few weeks later. Danny Gonzales, was appointed in August 2016 to replace her.

Narvaiz said she submitted an application for SHAC because she enjoys volunteering in the community.

"This is something I can do that is valuable," she said, adding her social media posts should not be considered in relation to her role on SHAC.

"[Council members] don't have to agree with my politics, they don't have to agree with my faith," she said. "This is supposed to be a diverse council."

What is the Student Health Advisory Council?

The SHAC's mission is to coordinate, education and support SMCISD by promoting the physical, social and emotional well-being of students, staff and families, according to the school district's policies.

Members are appointed by the school board for two years, are required to meet at least four times each year and must report directly to the school board at least once a year with a detailed account of SHAC activities and recommendations. The SHAC meetings are public.

The Texas Legislature in 1995 made SHACs a requirement, saying the councils—made up of at least five members, a majority of which are parents of the district—were to "assist the district in ensuring that local community values are reflected in the district's health education curriculum or instruction."

The law states the council's duties include recommending:

  • The number of health education instruction hours; policies, procedures

  • Policies, procedures, strategies and curriculum designed to prevent obesity, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and mental health concerns

  • Sexual education lessons

  • Strategies for integrating health-related curriculum into school health services as well as counseling and guidance services

  • Collaboration between the school district and community organizations or agencies


According to previous agendas, topics of conversation for members included physical education, flu shots, suicide awareness and prevention, the district wellness policy, fitness testing, an employee wellness program and sex education.

An end-of-year report shows members met five times during the 2016-17 school year. Subcommittees for dental, nutrition, fitness and suicide awareness met eight times.

Since the new members' appointments, the council has met once, according to Narvaiz, who said she signed up to be on subcommittees during that meeting.

At future meetings, trustees will vote on whether to approve a policy for appointing SHAC members as well as the draft resolution disavowing bigotry and hateful speech.
By Marie Albiges
Marie Albiges was the editor for the San Marcos, Buda and Kyle edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She covered San Marcos City Council, San Marcos CISD and Hays County Commissioners Court. Marie previously reported for the Central Austin edition. Marie moved to Austin from Williamsburg, Va. in 2016 and was born in France. She has since moved on from Community Impact in May 2018.


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