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Don't Sign the School Board Recall Petition

Sarah Strait, Letter to the Editor, 08/05/2022


A group of misguided individuals and businesses in Berrien County, operating under the misleading label “We the Parents”, is circulating recall petitions directed at school board members from Watervliet, St. Joseph, Lakeshore, and Niles. The “offense” for which these petitions are being filed is that these school board members followed public health guidance and mandated that students, teachers, and administrators wear masks at school during the height of the pandemic.

It saddens me to see my community so divided over the traumatic events we have all experienced in recent years. A global pandemic happened! It still is. Luckily, it seems people are no longer dying by the thousands. That brings about such relief, we were almost able to move forward. Unfortunately, the behavior of some of our community members makes it difficult to close that divide and to move on.

The very public behavior of many that showed so much disregard for the health and safety of others within our community was seen by us all. The lack of safety measures within certain businesses was cause to stop going to places in which we didn’t feel safe. The temper tantrums and threats at our health department & school board meetings, the vile bullying on social media - these were all glaring assaults on the values of our community.

Now, reports of bullying, harassment, stalking, and outright lying by those circulating school board recall petitions have gotten around. Please do not fall for the petitioners’ deceptions. The school board members this group is trying to recall have served our schools well during a difficult time. They deserve our respect and gratitude. In addition to keeping our children safe, they enabled them to return to in-person learning. They endured the constant whining of the “no maskers”; they performed their duties in a capable and professional way.

The group circulating the recall petitions is waging a war against public education and against our democracy. They are attempting to run a “strategic” takeover of our public schools. Don’t let them do this. Refuse to sign the school board recall petitions.

Sarah Strait

St. Joseph


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