School board members are typically unpaid volunteers, often parents who step forward to shape school policy, choose a superintendent, and review the budget. In most places, and during most times, it was a relatively unremarkable, yet vital position, one that few people paid attention to, or even knew who the members of the local school board were.
But times have changed, reflecting the divisiveness that exists when our country at this moment in time.
Look at some of these examples:
- A Central Bucks County (PA) School Board Vice President claimed that he received death threats on him and his family as a result of his stance on the wearing of masks in school.
- 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.
- In Vail, Arizona, speakers at a recent meeting took turns blasting school board members over masks, vaccines, and discussions of race in schools — even though the board had no plans to act on, or even discuss, any of those topics. “It’s my constitutional right to be as mean as I want to you guys,” one woman said.
- in Mesa County, Colorado, school board members were escorted to their cars by officers who had been unable to de-escalate a rowdy meeting.
- In several states, embattled board members who do not resign are facing recall efforts. Ballotpedia lists 59 school board recall efforts against 147 board members in 2021.
So I’ll ask my question again, who would want to be a member of a school board today?
My thanks go out to all school board members for your willingness to take on such a vital position, and I wish you the best as you work through these challenging times.