- Fellow Editors
Somerset County Board of Education Chair Penny Nicholson Unethically Shuts Down Board Meeting
On September 21, 2021, the Somerset County Board of Education scheduled their board meeting, which many concerned citizens came out to attend. After the room filled with citizens, SCBOE Chairwoman Penelope "Penny" Nicholson became unglued when she ordered a few citizens to wear a mask in the meeting and were non-compliant with her demands. Nicholson's authority was challenged, and she grew in anger when a few citizens in the back of the meeting room were exercising their civil liberties not to wear a mask or adhere to her policing of an illegal mandate.
Last week, a committee of the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive & Legislative Review in Maryland General Assembly voted on a regulation to enact a mask mandate in Maryland schools in partnership with the Maryland State Board of Education, which is an illegal regulation/rule (not law). These state offices did not follow legal protocol for its execution, and completely ignored its conflict with existing laws. These offices have no authority to create regulation on their own. Nicholson rebuked citizens and justified her demand to enforce an unofficial, illegitimate rule that is flat-out illegal, as determined by several state, federal, and constitutional attorneys, including judges. Using this rule as a means to avoid and obstruct the public's involvement, she took matters into her own hand - with her gavel. Showing the citizens the extent of her authority and muscular flex, she made her intention well-known.
"The Maryland State Board of Education (MSBOE) owns this building," shouted Nicholson. A citizen in the crowd corrected Nicholson, stating that the taxpayers of Somerset own the building. Refusing to be wrong, Nicholson pounded her gavel like a child throwing a temper tantrum in the toy isle of Walmart.
The tax record of the SCBOE building proves that it's not owned by the State Board of Education:
The citizens of Somerset County question Nicholson's fitness to even serve. She has no children, let alone any children in Somerset schools. She's never worked in the school system. She appears to have no clue as to what she's doing. Citizens are deeply concerned. If she is that clueless, then how can she oversee an entire school system? To not even know who owns the building or even her own whereabouts, then that may be signs of dementia or Alzheimer's.
Listen closely to video below. Nicholson calls for a second to motion, and the says "F*UCK IT!"
To make matters worse, there were children present a the meeting when she said it.
Nicholson's shutdown of the meeting was unethical in respect to the Maryland Open Meetings Act, her use of foul language, and the precedence she set when leading the board by her disorderly conduct. Two board members were not present when she had her temper tantrum. She ordered one board member, Caleb Shores to leave the meeting, because she could not control his personal health. According to the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE), a county board of education is without power to discipline or censure its members without a resolution. Nicholson crossed the legal line, and their own board attorney will concur.
One citizen boldly stated: "You do not penalize us for a couple of people when the majority of us are complying and wearing a mask." Nicholson yelled: "Yes I can, and I will, if I can't get order!" The same parent proclaimed: "Order in the meeting...Order in the meeting." There was silence and there was order in the room, but it was not good enough for the Chairwoman. She then motions to adjourn the meeting to another time and requests another board member to second her decision. Receiving a second by Mr. Brittingham, the Chairwoman shuts down the meeting.
The behavior of the remaining board was inappropriate. There was order in the room. The only one who was disorderly was the Penny Nicholson herself. With the citizens angered and further provoked by her style of authoritarian dictatorship, Nicholson successfully cleared the pathway for the next candidate that will take her seat by storm. "The people can't have this" and "the devil is alive" was heard in the background as people gathered their muster to return for another day.
Chairwoman Penelope "Penny" Nicholson keeps her seat warm for the next candidate.
Fellows & Editors
September 22, 2021 Copyright DelmarvaPTC.org
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