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Devon Updegraff-Day 

Peoria Unified School District provides voter education and does not endorse candidates.

1. Are you a precinct committeeman? If yes, for how long? 

Yes, 2 years 

2. Tell us a bit about yourself. What made you run for school board? 

I am a dermatology physician assistant for almost 14 years, and I co-own a dermatology medical practice. I also a BA degree in sociology with a minor in anthropology and will be receiving a doctorate in health sciences later this year. My frustration and reason for running is centered around student performance, parental rights and district accountability and transparency. Fellow candidate Heather Rooks and I have been working together fighting for parental rights for over 2 years. If both elected, things would change for the better! Otherwise, it’s just more of the same. Same poor student behavior, same wasteful spending, and the same disregard for parental rights mentality. 

3. Do you support sexual education of children in the classroom? At what age do you believe this is appropriate, and do you believe that a parent should have the opportunity to opt out? 

I was recently informed by my 12 year-old son that one of his classmate walked in on two 8th graders having sex in bathroom last school year. Since kids today, clearly have early access to pornography through social media and smartphones, I do believe sex education is necessary in schools. However, I believe sex education must focus on protection and prevention only. I am also comfortable if the topic of appropriate versus inappropriate behavior is included in sex education. I believe the appropriate time is between 6th and 7th grade but no later than 8th grade. Sex education should be opt-in rather than opt-out and parents should be given the material to be taught prior, giving them the necessary information make an informed decision. 

4. Do you support the idea of parents being the sole stakeholders in their children’s lives? 

100%, anything less is a violation in parental rights. 

5. What is your position on critical race theory, social-emotional learning, LGBTQ inclusion, and equity issues in the classroom? What do you know of Bloom365 and Corwin Press and what are your opinions? 

Heather Rooks and I have been on the front line of the battle against CRT, SEL, LGBTQ inclusion, and equity in the classroom. I am very familiar with both Bloom365 and Corwin Press and well as Casel and every behavior modification program being implemented in schools today. SEL is an attempt to operate the child from their family, their community and their church. 

6. Based on the limitations and powers of a school board member, what’s your platform? 

My campaign platform focuses on parental rights, student behavior and student performance 

7. What do you believe to be the biggest issue impacting K-12 students in Arizona? 

Each district faces its own challenges, but I believe the biggest issue impacting K-12 students is their complete lack of a solid foundation of core subjects. One’s freedom is an extraordinarily precious gift, but without a solid education that freedom will always be threatened by authority. 

8. How do you think the state should support public education? Do you believe in expanding school vouchers? 

I love that AZ recently allowed all AZ students to take advantage of school vouchers. I think public schools do have a place in our education system but they need to be held accountable for student abuse, manipulation and the violation of parental rights. 

9. Do you have a plan to fund renovations of schools in your area that are run down? 

Like any budget, difficult choices must be made. As it stands now, the board often treats taxpayer money as if it were monopoly money. Their financial advisor, Michelle Meyers, must do more than just report district spending and grants received. If building renovations are necessary, then the board should be asking Mrs. Meyers where expenses can be reduced and filtered toward improvements. It doesn’t matter if you are managing a 400-million-dollar budget or a $400,000 budget, the concept is the same. If new spending is necessary, but not included in the established budget, then cuts must be made to cover additional expenses. 

10. Do you have a plan to address the shortage of teachers? 

The rise of aggressive behavior among students, the lack of authority in the classroom along with a lack of administrable support are important factors affecting teacher satisfaction. Thanks to the incorporation of various student behavior modification programs that include restorative practice, multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) and positive behavior interventions and support (PBIS), student discipline has become a time consuming, complicated process that results in no level of true accountability for one’s actions. These methods are complicated and require excessive amounts of expensive teacher training only to be replaced after a few years with a new behavior modification method. Administrative support and the incorporation of in-school suspension that require the student to clean their school campus cafeteria, bathrooms or repairing vandalism are easy ways to help teachers gain back control of their classrooms. If districts are able to provide an enjoyable work environment that staff turnover becomes less of an issue and local schools become a desirable place to work. 

11. Do you support allowing retired military or police officers, who pass background checks, to work or volunteer in our schools to prevent mass shootings? 

I love the idea of retired military working together with schools to keep our children safe. The current police staff shortages definitely plays a role in accessibility to RFOs. In an ideal world, I believe there should be two RFO at every elementary (one patrolling inside, and one outside) and 4 at every high school (2 inside, 2 outside patrolling). Including retired military could help meet that goal. 

12. Please feel free to add any additional information you would like voters to know about your candidacy. 

I was once told by a mentor that; one must only count to the number 3 for change to happen on a school board. For this reason, I have chosen to run alongside my fellow candidate and friend Heather Rooks. Together we give the PUSD board a new voice and a new direction. If both elected, the dismissal of parental rights, excusing poor student performance and refusing to accept accountability will no longer tolerated .

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