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Term Expires June 30, 2026
Joe Kelley's Stance on the Issues

Do you support School Resource Officers (SRO) and Constables in schools? Please explain your position.

The safety of students should be of the highest priority. It is the schools responsibility to maintain a safe environment. Have a police officer on campus< I believe, only fosters a feeling of “police state”. SRO tell students that they are not trusted and that it is expected that students will act like a criminal.

Delaware Department of Education data shows that Black, Brown and Special Education students in Red Clay School District are disproportionately represented in discipline referrals, suspensions and arrest. What other steps, beyond existing policies, should the school district take to ensure fair and equitable treatment for all students?

Students that act out should be held accountable. I believe discipline issues stem from a growing disconnect between what students are being taught and their academic level. I believe new/alternative teaching methodologies such as Move On When Ready (MOWR), which is a self-paced learning approached, will allow students to advance at their own speed. This will allow persons to be able to get the correct level of help from the teachers, at their real needs level. Discipline issues will drop by eliminating frustration due to mismatch of teaching curriculum and actual completed grade levels. Students will be empowered to advance, and they will control their education plan.

What does equity mean to you?

In the schools, equality means education offered equals education needs. Grade levels of students need to be on completed courses, not age. Grade by age group forces slower students to move faster than they are ready for and slows quicker students down. Both of these groups may end up causing discipline issues stemming from their frustration at the system.

How would you work to improve equity in funding and resources allocations in the District?

If Laurel School District would adopt a new learning approach, the needs of all students could be met, and this would attract students that might be planning on going to other schools. More students, more money.

Do you believe implicit bias impacts students and staff? If so, how will you work to lessen the negative effects of implicit bias within the school district? How will you work to address implicit bias within yourself?

Everyone has bias, but we don’t have to let it get in our way. We already do a great job on reducing bias in Laurel. We need to continue our effort and have a stronger focus on education the course subjects of math, science, and language. It is through educated persons that walls are torn down and our community and nations grows strongest!

Describe how you would ensure quality education for a diverse student population: i.e. the gifted and talented, the “average” student, students with special educational needs, students with different abilities, English Language learners, low-income students and those with cultural differences.

Lumping students together by age and not by ability is a big problem. By allowing students to chart their own courses, to move ahead at their own pace, will eliminate time wasted. The best educational system is for each student to fe fully aware of their stage at school because the classes they are working on match their level. An effort should also be made to offer more vocational skills for those that seek it. All efforts should be made to teach the students how to leave High School with confidence on being ready to move to college or find a career that they can be enjoy.

Are there any other equity, racial justice, or funding goals not talked about above that you hope to accomplish in your term in office?

I feel very strongly that our current education system does not provide an equal challenge to all the students. Laurel has a great mix of back grounds that makes for an exciting assortment of interest. I believe the schools need to focus of teaching math, language and sciences and a health respect for all students, teachers and citizens.