JCPS is having a board meeting tonight, starting at 6 PM.
Meanwhile, the folks who have been using JCPS Board meetings and dogwhistles to recruit and mobilize for their hate group continue to put pressure on board members.
This is not hyperbole.
They’ve already tried and failed a couple of times. Following the August 2 Board Meeting, where a hate group organized an anti-mask rally outside of district headquarters, we heard rumblings that one of the board members was trying to call for an emergency board meeting, but there must not have been enough appetite for it because that window came and went. The next time the board met was the August 16 work session and James Craig and Sarah McIntosh signaled their intentions to flip flop on the board’s recent unanimous vote.
Not everyone who opposes the mask mandate is tied to white nationalists. Not knowingly, anyway. But the lead organizer at the August 2 anti-mask rally was Dr. Frank Simon. You may already know his name and reputation. His group, American Family Association of Kentucky is a known anti-LGBTQ+, pro charter, “stop the steal” hate group. Their national organization is a designated hate group on the SPLC website.
Regardless of one’s position on masks, the district’s masking policy that is now in effect is a continuation of a policy that was in effect at the end of last school year and was unanimously reconfirmed as part of the district’s “back to school” protocols at the July 19 board meeting. It’s not new. What changed is the community COVID levels went back into the red right before school started. The biggest reason this policy is being placed in jeopardy RIGHT NOW is because a vocal minority of mostly white people, organized by hate groups, election deniers and white nationalists, have been putting pressure on board members to reverse their decision, not based on science or concern for our most vulnerable, but because dogwhistles, hate and fear make a great recruiting tool for their base. Unfortunately, the teachers union president has been adding fuel to the fire by conducting unwanted mask surveys of questionable validity, which James Craig further promoted as justification for his (so far) failed attempts to add the item to the board’s agenda.
All this back and forth on asked-and-answered issues takes time away from REAL issues, such as the teacher shortages, busing challenges, opportunity gaps, and back to school plans, not to mention all the neglected issues that were only exacerbated by the pandemic. It sets a dangerous precedent to allow a board policy to be put in jeopardy because if they can overturn an issue as important as this, which could negatively impact the health and safety of our most vulnerable (the board vote to deny James’ motion to amend the agenda on August 16 was along racially divided lines), what’s to stop them from overturning the new student assignment plan next month? What else could be placed at risk?
It is dereliction of duty for a member of our school board to give in to these demands and try to overturn a popular and recent JCPS Board decision simply because dark-money funded domestic terrorists (the same folks who have been storming board meetings, not just in Jefferson County, but nationwide, wanting to ban books and historically accurate curriculum) are now making demands about masks. Especially since these are the same armed and dangerous people who are believers of the “big lie,” representing the same ideology that has been referred to by President Biden as “Semi-fascism”. And especially since the teacher and staffing shortage means we need to take every precaution to keep as many adults healthy and safe for as long as possible. The masks are a simple thing to ask people to wear, and a much more dangerous thing to take away. The imbalance in the attention that is given to this issue is indicative of the intent to distract and recruit for a group that aligns with the destruction of public education. After everything we’ve seen and learned, elected leaders who can’t recognize these tactics or worse, agree with them, are not fit to govern a public school board.
Until those leading the insurrectionists are held accountable for their actions, there is no reason to assume they’re not preparing for and capable of doing worse if they are allowed to continue to spread disinformation in order to recruit and radicalize their base. Because we see them organizing in our own back yards, there is no reason to assume they’re not planning something similar here following the mid terms. Especially if the Constitutional Amendment to ban abortions fails.
But yesterday, Lindsey Graham warned of “riots in the streets” if Trump is indicted. Mid term elections may not be the only milestone they are monitoring.
I don’t know what to expect at tonight’s JCPS Board meeting. Hopefully it’s a non-issue, but considering what’s at stake, it’s important to stay vigilant. Better safe than sorry. I just want to encourage #AllEyesOnJCPS.
If anyone wishes to email board members to encourage them to continue to stand firm against these bullies and domestic terrorists, you can easily find a one click link to all of their email addresses at www.dearjcps.com/advocate.
You may watch the board meeting on the district’s You Tube Channel here: