LOUISIANA - BESE Vice President and District 2 Representative Kira Orange Jones issued a statement regarding BESE’s super majority decision to adjourn its meeting on August 18th after many refused to wear masks, upholding the Governor’s mask mandate to protect the public.
Louisiana’s top school board abruptly ended a chaotic meeting without debating whether Gov. John Bel Edwards’ mask mandate for schools should be challenged after a raucous crowd of angry, unmasked parents packed the hearing room.
A copy of the statement can be viewed below:
“This pandemic has wreaked havoc on our schools and challenged our educational system in ways we could not have imagined a couple of years ago. As a BESE member, I am committed to seeing that our children are safe and able to learn. This is and should be about the education and safety of our students, not politics. Unfortunately, we had to adjourn our recent meeting because a group attempting to use the meeting for political purposes refused to abide by our rules or respect the rights of others present.
“As an educator, I know teaching does not start or stop in the classroom. We must lead by example, not just words. Meetings, like a class, should be a safe place where all participants are respected, and their opinions can be freely expressed. I commend all fellow board members who acted in a bipartisan manner on this, setting an example of how to appropriately deal with inappropriate behavior, and adjourned the meeting.
“One of the hallmarks of BESE is bipartisan action. During my decade on the board, we have voted time and again to stand up for what is right for children in a bipartisan manner. The August 18 meeting was no exception. We have a responsibility to uphold the Governor’s protective order, designed to keep all Louisianans safe, during our public meeting. We did just that.
“I also want to commend the hard work of so many local leaders and schools across District 2 who are taking appropriate safety measures to ensure ALL students and educators remain healthy and in school. I stand ready to collaborate with our educators and policy makers to keep the physical health and wellbeing of our school communities and learning for our students a top priority."