October 17, 2021

Jennifer Wolfe: When parents scream at school board meetings, how can I teach their children?

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Jennifer Wolfe is the 2021 New York State Teacher of the Year. In this op-ed for CNN, she considers the classroom fallout from the current crop of screaming parents.

Watching parents and others yell, threaten, throw temper tantrums and weaponize their children’s emotions to voice their staunch objection to mask mandates and Critical Race Theory has been ghastly. Board of Education (BOE) members in my home district have told me stories of being followed to their cars after a meeting while enraged parents yell at them about “the permanent damage” being caused to their children at the hands of “you brainwashed cowards.”

During one board meeting, a parent in the community yelled, “I am tired of being told I live in a community!” I openly gasped. I have never heard students openly declare that they do not care about the people around them.

Students put on their masks and come to school — so happy to be together again. I find it is the adults who are having trouble dealing with the changes in our world. Their fear gets in the way of learning the facts, of discussing openly and listening closely. Nothing will be solved as long as adults lead with fear and anger.
These are not anomalies. Unfortunately, school board meetings have become a forum where scared and angry people descend on the one accessible government structure they feel they have the most control over and then, without filter or grace, hurl personal insults demanding somebody listen.
Read the full piece here.
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