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Delaware Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats statement on disruptions at school board meetings

August 18, 2021

Delaware State Senate Majority Caucus
Contact: Scott Goss (302) 744-4180

Democrats on the Senate Education Committee, including Chair Laura Sturgeon, Majority Whip Elizabeth Lockman, Senate President Pro Tempore Dave Sokola, and Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend have issued the following statement regarding this week’s disruptive protests at the Brandywine, Caesar Rodney, and Red Clay Consolidated school board meetings:

“Over the last week, the immature and irresponsible behavior that has become a hallmark of the COVID-19 pandemic was on full display in school board meetings across our state, resulting in one meeting being halted, another delayed and a third interrupted by chants and an overall lack of decorum.

Adults who claim to have the best interest of children at heart have repeatedly disrupted – or halted entirely – the functions of local school boards at a time when they are diligently preparing for a return to full, in-person instruction.

During the height of the pandemic, many of these same parents protested remote learning, in which children virtually participated in school from home where no mask was needed. They were adamant then that students belong in classrooms with their teachers. Now that our school districts are preparing for a return to in-person instruction with straightforward public health precautions in place, masks have suddenly become the focus of their outrage.

We agree that our students learn best in the classroom, and that’s why we support the prudent public health choices that will allow that to occur this fall. This pandemic is weighing heavily on all of us, but the reality is no amount of protest and disruption at school board meetings will end it any sooner. The more people refuse to do what is necessary to protect their neighbors and their communities, the longer it will take for us to emerge from this public health crisis.

We expect disagreement and dissent over the guidelines put in place to protect our school personnel, their families, and their communities from COVID-19. We also expect those divergent viewpoints to be shared respectfully during the focused, structured public comment portion of local school board meetings. And we expect adults to work together to address individual cases where exceptions may be needed.

But our schools and our children’s education should not be held hostage by a vocal minority who expect their frustrations to trump science, data, and our shared responsibility to one another.”