School board leaders are bailing across the country because they don't want to deal with angry parents spreading conspiracy theories about COVID and masks.
The Associated Press wrote Sunday about one Nevada school board member who was feeling suicidal. Another, in Virginia, resigned after the mask fights. A Wisconsin member was scared someone would slash his tires if his car was in the parking lot. Most school board members are unpaid. They're volunteers who care about their children and the community. So, when they're attacked non-stop by people losing it over masks, it doesn't seem worth it.
"A growing number are resigning or questioning their willingness to serve as meetings have devolved into shouting contests between deeply political constituencies over how racial issues are taught, masks in schools, and COVID-19 vaccines and testing requirements," said the report.
Wisconsin's Oconomowoc Area School Board Rick Grothaus, a retired teacher, handed in his letter of resignation, saying it was "toxic and impossible to do."
"When I got on, I knew it would be difficult," he explained. "But I wasn't ready or prepared for the vitriolic response that would occur, especially now that the pandemic seemed to just bring everything out in a very, very harsh way. It made it impossible to really do any kind of meaningful work."
His resignation was joined by two others. National School Board Association director Chip Slaven said that there's no widespread outbreak of resignations, but that it's certainly made the job more difficult.
"This is something that's come into play against government overreach and tyranny and other things that have absolutely nothing to do with the education of children," said Susan Crenshaw, a former teacher who quit from her Virginia board. "It's a bigger issue than the mask. I just feel like the mask is the spark or trigger that got this dialogue started."
For some states, school board members are being recalled to kick them off of the school boards. Thus far, the AP said 59 school board recall efforts against 147 board members in 2021.