Administrators and the school resource officer blocked the door for a parent who had taken her children to school, according to a mother, speaking at the Sept. 13 Gardner Edgerton school board meeting.
The mother, who did not provide her name, said Pam Stranathan threatened to call the Department of Children Family Services and say she had “abandoned” her children and have them taken away.
Her children had previously been quarantined, although they did not have symptoms. When they returned to school, she was called to pick them up again.
When the child tried to enter, the school administrators blocked the door, called a SRO, the police and was told that DCF would be contacted due to child abandonment.
She also alleged Stranathan threatened her children with an in-school suspension, and also threatened the woman and her 12 year old child that they would be arrested for trespassing on school property.
The woman said her child was shaken up, as was she.
BOE members did not comment. Although board members can respond to patrons’ comments, they often do not when specific students are involved, but sometimes address generic policies.
Several other parents spoke against the district’s mask, vaccination and quarantine policies.
Nick Robinson, parent, distributed photos and said his healthy son was forced home due to the district’s “agenda-based science, not data-based” policy ,
He questioned the policy of requiring masks indoors. For example, although Jackson County has a mask mandate, residents are not required to wear them for football games; similar to the GE district.
“I guess COVID doesn’t exist outdoors,” he said.
He asked board members to “spell it out. What will it take to get rid of masks, You owe this as elected officials.”
Robinson said he advocated voting board members out.
Board members did not comment.
Amanda Walker, parent, said she had checked the COVID dashboard, and as of Aug. 23 the district listed six positive cases, but 221 students were quarantined, with no means of getting an education.
She said two schools had been closed, and that as of Sept. 13 the board listed two positive cases, but 62 quarantined. “You all have dropped the ball on this one.”
She commented to Stranathan regarding the previous mother’s comment, “Pam you did deem this parent as trespassing.”
She advocated parents unenroll their children Sept. 17 and then reenroll them Sept. 22. It will hurt funding she said. “The superintendent and board care more about money than students.” The district receives about $16,000 per enrolled student.
The BOE did not respond.
Parent Kristy Provence said she had two children enrolled in GE.
Provence said separating children based on masks and vaccination was segregation. She cited civil rights leader Rosa Parks for refusing to sit on the back of the bus.
“I am putting my foot down,” she said. “I am going to keep saying to you – use your backbone and give kids what they need; not making decisions based on your own agenda.”
The district’s policy causes segregation by separating people and used as an example WWII when Jewish people were singled out and marked with a gold star.
She spoke of a 13 year old district student with a mask exemption who was told to move to the back of the classroom. The child was devastated and had to refuse to move three times.
A six year old girl with asthma pulled her mask down while running due to difficulty breathing. She was told to either remove herself or or pull the mask up and keep running.
“That’s segregation,” Provence said.
Board members did not comment or discuss the issue.