Widespread yet misplaced conservative backlash has again reached Scottsdale schools, as public records show that recall paperwork has been filed against 4 out of the 5 current Scottsdale Unified School Board members. The only member to be spared is Zach Lindsay, who was also the only member of the SUSD board to vote against the recent mask mandate for schools, providing extremely strong circumstantial evidence that these actions are a direct result of the vote for masks in schools.
The mebers who now may have a recall election on their hands are President Jann-Michael Greenburg, Vice President Julie Cieniawski, Patty Beckman and Dr. Libby Hart-Wells. Petitioners will have to gather nearly 21,000 signatures for each board member from registered Scottsdale voters, and they have about 3 months to accomplish this. Without strong financial backing, this is closer to a poorly thought out pipe dream than reality.
As of the time of writing this, the delta variant of the COVID-19 Coronavirus is still raging through Arizona, with a 7-day average of nearly 3,000 new cases per day. Since face coverings have been widely acknowledged by scientists and epidemiologists as a reasonable and effective way to reduce transmission of the virus, a temporary mask mandate seems like a common-sense, proactive approach to help us move past this outbreak; indeed, mask mandates in schools currently have strong support in Arizona.
That said, many conservatives made the mistake of downplaying the virus from the start, and in the sake of fairness, many liberals made the mistake of embracing the most restrictive of policies regardless of scientific or economic reality. We have learned quite a bit about the virus in the last year and a half however. When this pandemic has killed nearly 2/3rds of a million Americans, to become so triggered over such an easy way to reduce risk to our entire community is bad politics and risks harming the conservative brand further, leaving aside the obvious health risks.
This has been an unusually active year for conservative school board activism, as board meetings across the country have been interrupted routinely; protesting the mostly non-existent teaching of “critical race theory” had been the cause of protests around the country. This may indicate a new “cause célèbre” of conservative activism throughout the country however.
We believe that school board members should be elected or rejected based on their thoughts and priorities for education policy in our schools. Trying to penalize school board members for following public health guidelines does a disservice for all the children, teachers, and administrators in the district.