Area school board in need of guidance
The Menomonie school board is in need of adult supervision, or group therapy. Its most recent flap involves the board voting 5-4 to censure Jim Swanson for his “profanity laced outburst toward Board President David Styer.”
According to a news report, Swanson’s anger was in reaction to Styer’s attempt to silence his criticism of the board’s lowering of the social distancing standard for COVID-19 from 6 feet to 4. Jim’s reaction included, “I’m not going to let him distort the facts and lie about what I’m saying.” He continued with expletives.
Subsequently, Jim gave what I consider an honest apology for the strong language he had used. He still held his belief that Styer and Superintendent Joe Zydowsky had distorted the important issue of social distancing, or worse, were enabling a health policy change that could have harmful consequences for students and their families. Perhaps the folks who recommend the 4 foot distance can explain how their knowledge of viral transmission is superior to the CDC’s standard of 6.
Two board members who did not vote for censure offered compelling testimony that reflected poorly on the board’s leadership and general performance. Tricia Thompson stated, “I’m just appalled and absolutely disgusted by this.” She continued, “that the people who are parading these kinds of documents are going to continue to make decisions for my children seriously makes me question whether my kids should be going to this school. It breaks my heart.”
Chris Freeman was especially critical of the process the board followed. “This is not a legislative act, it is directly an action and contains information that is not even true. So if you people want to censure Jim, do it, but this is not a censure. The way you’ve done it is inappropriate.”