Steve Straight, the president of the Lompoc Unified School District’s board of education, has been announced as the latest nominee for the 2017 Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.
It was the LUSD board’s adoption of Resolution 2648 in February to alleviate fears of undocumented students that attracted the attention of the Peace Prize committee. The LUSD board had received reports from staff in January concerning anxiety felt by Lompoc parents and students stemming from President Donald Trump’s vows to enforce immigration laws.
“Administrators and teachers have shared the real, everyday impact that fear is having in our classrooms,” read a portion of the resolution. “Undocumented children are not alone. As teachers can attest, students who identify as LGBTQ, female, disabled, Muslim or as a person of color view the recent election through a very different lens than others.”
The board resolved district facilities to be a “safe place” for students and their families regardless of immigration status, and that the district will “keep immigration authorities off our campuses to the fullest extent provided by law.” Further, “we will protect the confidentiality of information we have about our students and families.”
Straight was nominated for the Peace Prize on behalf of the entire board of education. Resolution 2648 passed with a 5-0 vote.
“You just put a smile on my face,” Straight said upon receiving the news of his Peace Prize nomination. “That’s a decision I’m proud of.”
Straight called attention to the board’s mission statement, which commits to provide a clean, safe, respectful and cooperative learning environment.
Straight has served on the LUSD board for 21 years, from 1981 to 1995 and from 2010 to the present.
Straight is the fourth Peace Prize nominee this year. Previously nominated were Shawndel Malcolm, an advocate for local homeless people; Lompoc Library Director Sarah Bleyl; and Lompoc City Councilwoman Jenelle Osborne.
The current holder of the prize is Rev. Ronald Wiley.
Nominations may be made prior to Dec. 1 by calling committee chairperson Allie Kay Spaulding at 741-7000 or e-mailing Alliekay31@comcast.net.
The eighth annual Peace Prize ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28, at Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ.