Tuesday, October 19, 2021

SCSBA Opinion of NSBA Letter

Here's a letter sent by the Executive Director Scott Price of the South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) to school board members and superintendents. These board members are the people who are the dues-paying members (well, not their own money, of course) of SCSBA, and they should be telling Scott Price what to do and say. Are they?

Yesterday he wrote:

National School Boards Association (NSBA) Interim Executive Director Chip Slaven and NSBA President Viola Garcia sent a letter on September 29, 2021, to President Joe Biden asking for “federal assistance to stop threats and acts of violence against public school children, public school board members, and other public school district officials and educators.” SCSBA was not aware of the letter prior to it being sent.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland responded October 4, 2021, that he was directing the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to begin meeting with state and local law enforcement leaders over the next month to address threats against school board members, school and district leaders, teachers, and other school personnel. 

NSBA’s letter and the response from DOJ have been covered by national media and on social media platforms.

Since then, a significant number of state school boards associations – including neighboring Southern Region states – are reporting that the letter and the DOJ response have generated harsh negative reactions directed at them, as well as some local school boards from groups and political leaders in their states. In response, NSBA issued the attached 3-page Q&A to state associations.

As SCSBA executive director, I am very concerned about NSBA’s letter insomuch as it calls for federal intervention and I have directed these concerns to NSBA’s leadership.

SCSBA believes that most school board members in South Carolina would prefer to handle such matters – as you have been doing – through local law enforcement. As you are aware, most school board meetings in our state have a very visible law enforcement presence, whether it’s city police, deputies or school resource officers. And, yes, some of you have had to increase that presence such as having officers outside the district office before, during and after meetings. Similarly, we believe that most school board members would be most content with turning over any such matters warranting investigation to local or state law enforcement.

In South Carolina, school boards welcome and desire public input. There is no law in our state requiring it, yet every board reserves time for public comment, even when those comments from constituents, parents and even students is emotional or angry.

If incidents occur that warrant a federal investigation or otherwise federal presence, then it should be handled appropriately. Otherwise, we believe that our members would prefer to handle such matters locally.

If you receive questions regarding the letter, you are welcome to direct them to SCSBA. As a reminder, local school district boards of trustees are not members of the National School Boards Association. The South Carolina School Boards Association and other state school boards associations are the members of NSBA; however, NSBA has a separate governance structure from SCSBA and state associations. Through SCSBA’s membership, member school boards have access to national resources and training services. These include timely federal legal and legislative advocacy, reports and updates and more.

Please know that we are closely monitoring the impact of NSBA’s actions in South Carolina. If you would like to discuss this further, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

We know that you are leading in challenging times and SCSBA is here to support you. 

Scott didn't mention anything about pulling out of NSBA, which some other state school boards associations have done.

Maybe Scott Price ought to run over here to a Richland 2 School Board meeting some Tuesday night and experience the "welcome" that the public gets. Maybe he'll stick around to the end of the meeting and walk out to the parking lot with Cheryl Caution-Parker.

No comments:

Post a Comment