The September 28 meeting of the Nazareth School Board opened with a warning about proper mask wearing for the people in attendance by Board President Dr. Linda Stubits. She also outlined a policy that if any board member feels that attendees aren’t following appropriate guidelines for behavior during public comment they could make a motion to immediately adjourn the meeting.
After a roll call and an approval of minutes from prior meetings, some residents expressed concern about the resignation of solicitor Gary Brienza and questioned if it was appropriate to continue the meeting with an acting solicitor from the law firm of Sweet, Stevens, Katz and Williams who hasn’t been officially appointed by the board or advertised in the paper. The Superintendent, Dr. Dennis Riker, clarified that the firm was often used by the district for special and acting legal counsel. Riker said the position would be advertised tomorrow and encouraged any legal counsel or firm to apply.
As has become routine at school board meetings throughout the country, many parents and grandparents spoke out about masks and vaccine mandates during the Community Corner portion of the meeting agenda. Alison Warner, Nazareth resident, said she sent e-mails asking for the voting records of board members and demanding great data transparency when it comes to Covid-19 cases in the schools. Warner explained that they don’t want any identifying information about the students, but would like to know their vaccination status and if they contracted the virus while wearing a mask.
James Cunningham, a regular at the Nazareth Board meetings, asked the board to put compulsory recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance on their agenda. He asked them to make a motion to require it in all the schools in the district every morning.
“I think this is step one to show our children what our country is all about,” Cunningham said.
Another parent, Nick Caruso, said that he knows there are no easy answers right now regarding health safety measures.
“The narrative says we only have two choices, but this dualistic thinking is not mature thinking. You can choose to oppress, segregate and discriminate, but we will keep showing up,” he said.
After more comments about the dangers of a vaccine mandate for children, which has not been announced, some of the other parents expressed support for mask wearing.
“It is sad that wearing a mask has been made a political statement when it should be a civic duty,” one supporter said.
The next Nazareth School Board meeting will be on October 12 at 7 p.m.