In The Twilight Zone At The School Board - And Response

Sunday, June 13, 2021

I have a friend who used to say, “I have been to two World’s Fairs and a hog calling contest and I have never seen the beat.” That is exactly the feeling I had after last month’s four-hour marathon School Board meeting. I have been attending school board meetings for the last 20 years and I have never seen another one quite like it.

This meeting had it all. For the first time in an open meeting, I heard a cuss word from a school board member, the sheriff disrespected, and parents being chastised for not having “anything else to do” because they were attending a meeting to object to their child wearing a face mask. I was told if I had a problem with what a board member was saying, I could leave and I was told by two board members I was just trying to score “political points” for speaking out against mask mandates for students.  

In addition to all of this, two more things happened that really made me think I was in the Twilight Zone. The Board was told we had to rescind the resolution we made in January (authorizing the superintendent to reopen schools) before we could vote on the student mask mandate. Then a board member expressed concern that 4,000 school employees might refuse to come to work if children were allowed to attend school without masks.

After a few weeks to digest some of the comments that were made, I would like to give my thoughts. It is amazing that the same school board member who shamed me for disrespecting the two doctors on the Covid Task Force because I questioned why masks were necessary for K-2 students, found it very easy to disrespect and insult Sheriff Hammond who has been a partner with HCDE for the last 13 years.

As for being accused by two Board members of trying to score “political points” because I agreed that parents should make mask decisions for their children-unless you can use “political points” for a discount on gas, I do not need them.

I am still perplexed as to why the Board was told we needed to rescind a resolution made in January before we voted on the mask mandate in May. This made no sense then and it makes no sense now. One had absolutely nothing to do with the other.

The idea that a board member expressed 4,000 employees might not show up for work if the board voted to allow parents to make mask decisions for their children, is mind numbing. Who is in charge? I have been on the Board since 2004 and all this time I thought the Board was in charge. I think school employees should be no different than any other employees. If they lay out of work, they should be fired.

I am personally glad to see parents take time to show up and address the Board respectfully with their concerns. There are many other things they could be doing. But there is nothing more important than taking time to speak up for their children and their education.

Board members cannot be in every classroom. So, with all the craziness going on in classrooms across the country, we need students, parents and teachers to be our eyes and ears. I am asking all interested parties to notify the Board if you hear any student, teacher or employee being asked to apologize for anything they are not personally responsible for. Also, if you see anything in your child’s curriculum that pits one group of students against another, please let us know. After all, these are your children and these are your schools.

We have our monthly board meeting this Thursday. I hope for one that it is not quite so amusing and tedious.

Rhonda Thurman

* * * 

Rhonda,

Your article reminds me of what a dear friend of mine once said in a sermon. “We are right side up in a upside down world”. [ Pastor Wayne Barber ] 

Keep shining and be salt in this darkened world.

Michael Burns

 

 

 


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