🏫 School Board Enthusiasts 🏫 The UnifiEd Student Voice Team's School Board Blog
During this month’s school board meeting, all the school board members met entirely in person for the first time since February. Board members socially distanced, but only some of them continued to...
wear their masks throughout the meeting. As we have returned to school, the same behaviors have been exhibited to students. Shouldn’t our school board be an example of the policies they have created and enforced? Sophie encapsulated the idea perfectly: “My question is: what is the point in taking so many precautions when they only work as well as the people abiding them?” The last time the board met, they were criticized for not meeting in person as the school reopening approached. Now, I fear that they are not taking enough precautions. If students, teachers, and school staff across the county are expected to wear their masks all day long at school (unless they are outdoors, at lunch, or alone), then why can’t the school board members wear one for an hour long meeting?
Every time I see videos of people wearing their masks in public, I am left wondering two things: Is it safe to take your mask off in an air-conditioned room, even with social distancing? Why are you touching your mask so much? The second question is much more of a pet peeve, but it is rightly rooted in coronavirus spread, so I won’t apologize for my pet peeves. Whenever I go anywhere in public lately, I generally assume that every person and surface around me can spread COVID-19, so the idea of touching my mask or my face while in public is repulsive. Since the beginning of mask enforcement, it has been a pet peeve of mine for people to say that they are muffled in them or uncomfortable. If you are muffled, then speak louder. If you are uncomfortable, imagine the discomfort of catching coronavirus, spreading it, or knowing that you could have spread it to someone who could die from it. This may sound like a touch of an exaggeration to those opposed to masks, but at the end of the day it's a piece of fabric, just wear it.
As the school year opens up and students brace for new changes in their facilities, the school board also has to adjust. As the 2014 election cycle has concluded, so has the term of District 2 Board Member Kathy Lennon. Board Member Lennon was recognized for her “commitment and service to the Hamilton County Board of Education.” All board members spoke on behalf of Kathy while they reminisced about her time on the board. Members such as Karitsa Jones and Joe Wingate shared stories of how she helped counsel them in times of need. Like so many others, Rhonda Thurman mentioned Lennon’s dedication to policy work and her commitment to students as she “(stood) up for what she believed in.” There was a clear consensus that she fought for all children in Hamilton county, not just for her district’s children. Her impact as a board member and colleague to many will last much longer than her time on the board. Another person who has had to leave their seat on the board was a student named Jeremiah Taylor. He presented student voices across the county and helped weigh in on issues to provide a student perspective. Jeremiah was recognized for his engagement and time on the board. He spoke about his plans to attend Memphis University and take the skills that he has developed from being a part of the board to what he is about to embark on. His seat will be filled with Macey Tidmore of Collegiate High School. While Jeremiah has set the bar for all students in the county, Macey’s eager attitude to be a part of the board leaves no doubt in my head that our new student representation will be in good hands.
The school board approved to move CSLA to Lakeside. The other two options for this renovation were the original CSLA grounds and the Sears Section of Northgate Mall. Parents had voiced their concerns about the location change. Windy, from Facebook, commented, “CSLA would love to stay on their land. They want the land for a zoned school, so they have to move.”
School Board Member Tucker McClendon said, “I’ve always said that I want them on their land, but I’m also realistic in knowing, you know, we don’t get everything we want, we have, we have to live within our means.” Board members Kathy Lennon and Karista Jones expressed their frustration about a county commissioner that said he could get an additional 8-10 million dollars to build a new school on their current property. Jones said, “we don’t need a county commissioner selling false hope to our parents.” This plan may not be the first choice, but after the school board discussed financials and parent concerns, the Lakeside site was approved.
With the coronavirus still heavily affecting Hamilton County, it was extremely disheartening to see that most of our representatives were more focused on discussing what would be done to the Lakeside property. However, since it was discussed, it is essential to discuss the implications of this. To begin, what is the situation surrounding the Lakeside property? Hamilton County has decided on the full remodeling of the current Lakeside Academy building in exchange for building CSLA a brand new building. This has upset many Hamilton County residents because the building being destroyed is a Public School, replaced with a non-zoned magnet school. As said by Faith Anne on Youtube, “This happened backwoods in the dark with no respect or regards to the loving and passionate staff at Lakeside, the amazing families and students who feel thrown away” there is a general feeling of abandonment by the parents, staff, and students at Lakeside Academy.