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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Masked mandates, school syllabus among 4 candidates running for the Washington County School Board

Musk’s mandates and the district’s approach to teaching raciality is one of the challenges for the four candidates applying for School Board seats on the South Washington County School Board.

The four formed a group called “Vote 4 Common Sense,” occupying positions unlike the other five candidates running on the November 2 ballot.

Issues like these are hot spots in school elections across the state, said Kirk Schneidawind, director of the Minnesota School Board Association.

“Somehow they fuel all elections,” Schneidawind said. “We need to focus on outcomes for children,” he said, “rather than discussing pressing social issues.”

Most school campaigns avoid party politics and are organized by individuals. But group members share political views, websites and lawn signs. All four identify themselves as conservatives on the Internet, but do not mention a political party.

The anti-disguise bloc is alarming incumbent President Sharon Van Leer, who is running against them. “People in the community should be scared to death,” she said.

The members of the Vote 4 Common Sense are candidates Marge Lindbergh, Vicky Holst, Eric Tessmer and Jaime Kokaisel. Lindbergh contacted the Pioneer Press last week and said that neither she nor other members would comment on the story.

In some metro areas, the issue of masks is an acute issue. Student Councilor Katie Schwartz saw it flare up in Cottage Grove last summer, as about 150 people gathered to protest mask bans and other rules.

According to Schneidawind, prescribing masks and teaching race is a sign of intensifying culture wars, and this is causing some student council members to quit smoking. There will be more special elections for missing student councilors in November – 36 – than regular elections in Minnesota.

This year, the number of votes to recall school council members across the country has tripled. According to the Ballotpedia website, 81 such votes have taken place up to October 20 of this year, roughly equal to the sum of the previous three years.

“The pressure is real,” Schneidawind said. “If they demand a mask, people will get angry. If they don’t, people get angry. They cannot win. “

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Although none of the group members spoke to Pioneer Press, their positions were outlined on various websites and in the Pioneer Press Voter Guide. These positions are opposed by other candidates – incumbent leaders Van Leer, Schwartz and Patricia Driscoll, as well as Michael Bestler and Enrique Ramos.

There are four mask requirements that apply to elementary and high school students. They say it is up to parents to decide whether children wear masks. Other candidates believe COVID is contagious, and one child without a mask could infect dozens of others. Van Leer saw children affected by COVID.

“Just go to the hospital and see these poor babies with oxygen and tubes just trying to survive. If it doesn’t break your heart, I don’t know what will happen, ”Van Leer said. “I have had relatives who died from COVID. I know this is real. “

Disguise is recommended for all students, teachers, staff, and visitors in schools, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The group opposes the district’s approach to race teaching, but does not explain why. Its website says: “In fact, we believe that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was right when he dreamed that his children would live in a world in which they are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their the character.”

The area, as they say, pays too much attention to skin color.

Van Leer denied this accusation.

“We give children a safe place to talk about different cultures,” she said. One of the group’s websites criticizes critical race theory, which the New York Times defines as “an academic framework used in higher education that views racism as ingrained in law and other modern institutions.”

It is not taught in South Washington schools. “They want to remove what is not there. It’s hard to understand, ”Schwartz said.

“The priority should be to put children first, which is not a priority for everyone.”

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