LEWISTON — The School Committee on Monday introduced Geneva Laurita, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Bates College, as the new school committee representative for Ward 3.

Former representative Kiernan Majerus-Collins resigned at the end of August.

The committee also voted 9-0 to approve the nomination of Kirsten Crafts, an assistant principal at Lewiston High School, as the new special education director for the district. She also has experience as a special education teacher and special education supervisor, according to Superintendent Jake Langlais.

Alisa Roman, director of nutrition and transportation, was invited to the meeting to give an update on the district’s busing challenges. She said the district has 29 driver positions budgeted and 27 are filled. Two buses take students to St. Dominic’s Academy under a 1980s city charter.

Roman explained that if four bus drivers are absent on any given day, the district would be hard-pressed to provide transportation for all children to school.

Langlais also invited Ayesha Hall, the social emotional learning and equity resource coordinator for Lewiston Public Schools, to give the School Committee a presentation on gender and sexual identity.

Tensions rose following the presentation after Ward 6 representative Ronald Potvin expressed his disapproval of teaching students about different sexualities and gender identities in school.

This is “nothing more than school districts attempting to indoctrinate students,” Potvin said, explaining that he believes these discussions should be left to parents.

In response, Hall explained that the presentation was to educate the committee, and there are presently no plans to introduce discussions about sexual and gender identity into school curriculums.

Langlais made a recommendation to the committee to remove two Jewish holidays from the school calendar, which were approved by a unanimous vote in March. He cited district surveys which indicated a “strong community push” to return to the previous calendar.

The motion passed 5-4 to approve Langlais’ recommendation.


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