Citizens Denied Public Comment by the Wicomico County Board of Education at Monthly Meeting
January 12, 2021
Several Wicomico County parents and teachers intended to make a public comment at the Wicomico County Board of Education's monthly meeting to express their concerns before their elected officials. When citizens requested to make a public comment in advance, they were all notified that the Board would not be receiving public comments during its January 12 meeting. Citizens were upset that they were being denied the opportunity to make any comment in person or by Zoom.
In response, a random group of parents decided to show up at the WCBOE meeting at 101 Long Avenue in Salisbury, MD in hopes to have an opportunity to express their concerns to a Board member or two. In addition, a couple of representatives from both the Wicomico County Back To School/ Stay in School group as well as the Delmarva Parent Teacher Coalition were also in line to express their concerns.
Although they did not have an opportunity to speak to officials, citizens were met at the locked door by a staff person and deputy to be verbally denied access to the meeting. Despite being denied, multiple like-minded parents and teachers had the opportunity to meet each other for the first time. They productively shared their various concerns amongst each other, including the reopening of schools, virtual learning, curriculum, benchmarks, assessments, grading, IEPs, equity, equality, and school policy. Everyone soon realized that they weren't alone. Each personal experience was not an isolated incident after all, which the school system makes them all out to be.
In the end, parents feel as though WCBOE is putting administrative measures in place in order to prevent, avoid, restrict, and intimidate parents from having a voice or involvement in their child's education. Parents who are aware of WCBOE's Family Engagement Policy see a contradiction. Many citizens have lost confidence in their officials and school administration, and believe that nobody is interested in hearing them. Through the many efforts of local parent groups, parents remain optimistic that their elected officials will wake up to the fact they work for the citizens of Wicomico County and not for the Superintendent, school administration, Maryland State Department of Education, or the MEA. The citizens expect them to get their act together, and fast.
Moving forward this week, the Wicomico County Back To School/ Stay in School representatives will be joining other Maryland counties at Governor Hogan's office to ask the Governor to mandate a state-wide initiative for an in-person option.
Just so families are aware, there are local groups that are working overtime to fight for a quality and equal education for all. Right now, that's not happening in our schools. The many concerns and conversations are not over, and we have a lot of work to do. Please contact our officials below to express your concerns and opinion of their conduct.
WCBOE Board Members
Donald Fitzgerald - firstname.lastname@example.org
Gene Malone - email@example.com
Allen Brown - firstname.lastname@example.org
John Palmer - email@example.com
Tonya Lewis - firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Murray - email@example.com
Ann Suthowski - firstname.lastname@example.org
Fellows & Editors
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