When I got on, I knew it would be difficult. But I wasn't ready or prepared for the vitriolic response that would occur, especially now that the pandemic seemed to just bring everything out in a very, very harsh way. It made it impossible to really do any kind of meaningful work. — Rick Grothaus, a retired educator
When I got on, I knew it would be difficult. But I wasn't ready or prepared for the vitriolic response that would occur, especially now that the pandemic seemed to just bring everything out in a very, very harsh way. It made it impossible to really do any kind of meaningful work. — Rick Grothaus, a retired educator
As School Board Meetings Get Hostile, Some Members Are Calling It Quits
A Nevada school board member said he had thoughts of suicide before stepping down amid threats and harassment. In Virginia, a board member resigned over what she saw as politics driving decisions on masks. The vitriol at board meetings in Wisconsin had one member fearing he would find his tires slashed.

School board members are largely unpaid volunteers, traditionally former educators and parents who step forward to shape school policy, choose a superintendent and review the budget. But a growing number are resigning or questioning their willingness to serve as meetings have devolved into shouting contests between deeply political constituencies over how racial issues are taught, masks in schools, and COVID-19 vaccines and testing requirements.

In his letter of resignation from Wisconsin's Oconomowoc Area School Board, Rick Grothaus said its work had become "toxic and impossible to do."

"When I got on, I knew it would be difficult," Grothaus, a retired educator, said by phone. "But I wasn't ready or prepared for the vitriolic response that would occur, especially now that the pandemic seemed to just bring everything out in a very, very harsh way. It made it impossible to really do any kind of meaningful work."

He resigned Aug. 15 along with two other members, including Dan Raasch, who wondered if his car and windshield would be intact after meetings.

The National School Boards Association's interim executive director, Chip Slaven, said there isn't evidence of widespread departures, but he and several board members reached by The Associated Press said the charged political climate that has seeped from the national stage into their meetings has made a difficult job even more challenging, if not impossible.


... Even so, Slaven said many sitting board members are more enthusiastic than ever because their work, amid a public health crisis, has taken on new importance.

"You actually now know what you do is important. The decisions you make as an elected official have ramifications," he said.
Read the full article: https://www.npr.org/sections/back-to-school-live-updates/2021/08/30/1032417970/school-board-members-hostile-meetings-mask-mandates-politicized