Opinion: School Board needs to remember its place

Members of the 2020 Fayette County Board of Education pose wearing masks after being recognized as “Exemplary” by the Georgia School Boards Association. Recent mandates imposed in Fayette County schools have caused quite a stir due to the complete disregard for parents’ and students concerns and thoughts.

Photo used with permission from Fayette County School Board of Education

Members of the 2020 Fayette County Board of Education pose wearing masks after being recognized as “Exemplary” by the Georgia School Boards Association. Recent mandates imposed in Fayette County schools have caused quite a stir due to the complete disregard for parents’ and students’ concerns and thoughts.

The Fayette County Board of Education has come under harsh criticism for its actions. 

On August 23, the Board met to discuss the new mask mandate enforced across all schools in the county. The implementation of the mandate came with little warning. An email was sent out on August 18 indicating the mandate would go into effect immediately.

This prompted outrage from multiple parents and even students, who voiced their concerns on social media and expressed their intent to show up at the August 23 meeting. The anticipated attendance was enough for the school board to hire eleven officers in response.  

The meeting was plagued with a multitude of issues before it even started. The Board, citing Covid concerns, limited seating. 

Speakers had to line up outside the building in order to get a turn at speaking. The Board should have simply moved the meeting to a new, bigger, more Covid-friendly location that was big enough to accommodate everyone who went to the meeting.  

If limiting the seating to the meeting somehow helped prevent Covid, Fayette County schools should not be continuing to operate at full capacity. Fayette County schools, despite the new mandates, have not restricted how many people are allowed in the schools. The restriction in place at the meeting was not necessary.

It shows they are going to continue to implement whatever policies they want to without regard for the feelings of the people impacted by the policies. ”

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

Furthermore, just before the meeting the Board issued new Covid guidelines that extended the newfound mask mandate

With these new changes the Board implemented before the meeting, even if someone were in prolonged close contact with a known infected person, they now don’t have to quarantine. In the words of Fayette County, “Starting Tuesday, August 31, students deemed a close contact due to exposure at school will be allowed to continue to attend school in person as long as they are not having symptoms of Covid-19.”

The choice by the Board to change how quarantining worked was done outside of any consideration on behalf of the parents. It shows they are going to continue to implement whatever policies they want to without regard for the feelings of the people impacted by the policies. 

“Symptoms of Covid-19” is vague. Anything from a cough to the sniffles could be a symptom of Covid-19. Thus, the strict parent scenario as an example.

Imagine a student that wakes up one day and is not feeling that good. The student is coughing, and even has a headache. Even if that student attempts to stay home from school due to having symptoms of Covid-19, it is unlikely that their parents would allow them to play hooky and skip school that day over such a minor symptom.

Even if they somehow managed to stay home, Zoom meetings, to be present in the classroom virtually, are only for people who have been quarantined officially through close contact or have been diagnosed with Covid. If someone does come down with Covid-19 like symptoms and decides to stay home to help prevent possible spread, that will go on the student’s absence record.

The Board of Education has forgotten its place as the servants of the people’s will.”

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

Students do not have the option to stay home and temporarily do virtual learning through periods when Covid numbers are high, despite the Board thinking schools are deadly enough to warrant another extension of the mask mandate through October 25.

There is no feasible way to make sure everyone in the school building is properly wearing a face covering at all times, especially when a large part of the student body does not want to be wearing them or does not wear them properly.

Nevertheless, this whole situation gets even worse considering the fact that one of the school board members, openly mocked speakers on Facebook while they were voicing their concerns.

What does it tell parents when the Board, instead of acknowledging their worries as concerned parents, decides to attack them on social media? 

The Board of Education has forgotten its place as the servants of the people’s will.

They should re-evaluate their policies to be more in line with what the parents and students want, and put aside their own opinions when creating policies that affect others. 

The next meeting is scheduled for September 27, 2021 at 7 p.m. Board meetings are held in Building A of the Lafayette Education Center in Fayetteville.

Opinions expressed in editorials are those of the writer(s).  These views may not represent the adviser, The Prowler, advertisers/sponsors, the Starr’s Mill High School administration or staff , or Fayette County Public Schools as a whole.  Please see our FAQs for more information pertaining to the rights of The Prowler’s staff members.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email