Supt. Cheeseman sandbags CRT presentation to county school board | Beaufort County Now | overflow crowd unable to be heard

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

A standing room only crowd, most wearing anti-CRT stickers, descended on the Beaufort County Board of Education meeting August 24, only to be told they were not allowed to discuss one of the two topics that brought them there.  Superintendent Matthew Cheeseman cited a technicality to prevent discussion of Critical Race Theory, but neglected to mention that he himself had pulled a fast one to allow that technicality to be exploited.

Cheeseman cited a provision, not always enforced, that to speak in the public comments section, an item had to already be on the agenda or contact had to be made with the superintendent to get it placed on the agenda.  What he did not tell those present was that the Citizens for Better Government had scheduled a meeting with Cheeseman prior to the School Board Meeting to talk with him about addressing CRT at that very school board meeting, and after scheduling the meeting, Cheeseman arbitrarily cancelled it.  When the CBG tried to reschedule the meeting, Cheeseman's office said he was not available for a meeting until after today's school board meeting.

Was Cheeseman ducking the CBG to avoid a discussion of CRT?  It certainly looks that way.  If he had genuine scheduling conflicts, the telephone contact  from CBG itself would have triggered action by a responsive public official to put the item on the agenda. The CBG had told Cheeseman's office by telephone what they wanted to discuss.  It raises questions about what else Cheeseman may be doing to thwart efforts to ban CRT in Beaufort County.

Several other serious questions arise.  Our school board should be open to citizen comments and not throw up technicalities to not listen to citizens who have concerns about school policies.  The school board should be more fully open to free speech like the county commission is.  Another concern is that we seem to have a weak school board that is too willing to give too much power to a bureaucrat to stifle free speech.  Not a peep was heard from an elected board member about Cheeseman cutting off the anti-CRT speakers.  The lack of a sound system in the large school board meeting room also seems to indicate that the board does not particularly want verbal interaction with the public.

Those who signed up to speak against the face mask policy for students were allowed to speak, and some good points were made such as the cloth masks used by most being at best useless in stopping spread of disease and at worst harmful.  The N95 masks that could make a difference are not required, and also hard to find.  Fortunately for those speakers, the school board already had to mask policy on the agenda, so there was no way they could be denied the opportunity to speak.


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( August 26th, 2021 @ 1:28 pm )
Parents and citizens face two institutional problems getting a school board to move on policy, whether on masking students or on Critical Race Theory. Those are the nature of the career path of school superintendents and the electoral structure of our school board. The advancement path of school superintendents runs to seeking jobs in larger, higher salaried school districts, which is why they tend to change every few years. To protect their resumes for future jobs, they are almost invariably adverse to having anything to do with policies that run contrary to the positions of the education establishment. Being associated with cracking down on Critical Race Theory or going off the mask policy reservation would be two examples of what they would regard as dangerous to advancing their careers. Elected school board members should take the advice of school superintendents or other bureaucrats on that career path with a huge grain of salt. The other is the electoral structure of the Beaufort County School Board, which is in the very worst form for responsiveness and accountability; staggered four year terms. This leaves around half the school board at all times two elections away from facing voters again, where the odds are that whatever they do will be forgotten by the time they run again. They believe, often truthfully, that they can thumb their noses at voters and get away with it. Our county commission has the same problem in its structure. Much better was the electoral structure of the old Washington City School Board before the merger, which consisted of nine members serving two year terms and all elected at the same time. That way if citizens cannot make them see the light, they can make them feel the heat. We cannot do anything to change the career paths of school superintendents, but thanks to the Hardy bill, we can change how our school board is elected.
( August 25th, 2021 @ 9:51 pm )
Cheeseman cited the CDC but the CDC covered up its own survey on Covid in schools which showed no significant difference in Covid infection in school with mandatory mask policies and those with optional mask policies. The study was done by CDC in 196 Georgia schools involving 90,000 students in November - December 2020. It did not fit CDC's political agenda, so they covered up the results of their own survey. Who would trust the CDC on anything? After all the CDC is so highly politicized that they launched a gun control study as a "health" issue. What total crap.
( August 25th, 2021 @ 7:30 pm )
I'm a member of the Citizens for Better Government Committee and am one of the three that were supposed to meet with the superintendent before he canceled. It's not very amusing being on the brunt end of a bureaucratic brush off stunt, but there is something to be said for the revelation that leads to a more honest relationship between parties. It is disappointing that those of us prepared to speak to the school board on the Critical Race Theory issue were not allowed to speak. I can't find any silver linings to that at all.

Those that spoke on the mask issue came in well prepared and presented their position in an exemplary manner under adverse conditions. The room is not set up in a friendly way for the speakers before the board or for the public in attendance. I just hope there were no crime situations in town during that time since so many police personnel were assigned to the meeting of the school board.
( August 25th, 2021 @ 11:20 am )
Cheeseman's presentation on masks ignored the largest and most comprehensive data source on Covid and schools, which shows masks are useless. It is the National Covid19 School Response Dashboard, and its biggest funder is leftwing oligarch Mark Zuckerburg. It includes 122,000 school district responses and its data shows that there is less Covid infection in schools without mask mandates than in those with mask mandates. The real data, even from such an establishment source refutes the politically driven push for mask mandates.
( August 25th, 2021 @ 10:34 am )
A lot of time effort and research had been invested to make an informed presentation along with a detailed handout for the School Board. As Steve pointed out in his Rant, The Superintendent had been contacted to have a meeting so he would not be blindsided. One of the School Board members had been contacted about this issue and this technicality was not brought up. Next question is why is the Superintendent speaking for the School Board. Seems the Chairman would be running the School Board Meeting. The Committed has been informed that the next available meeting will be the last of September, well into the school year so that CRT with all of it's warts can be taught with no opposition. While there is supposed to be transparency for their meeting, it is open to the public. However, the room has 7 monitors and this would indicate a sound system is available but not used. The public has a hard time hearing the "Public comments" and the public has a hard time hearing the school board. Maybe they will correct that for the next meeting.
( August 25th, 2021 @ 6:03 am )
There is nothing in the laws that allows any official, whether elected or appointed, to decide the subject the public may address during the required public hearing. Our form of free speech prevails. We have the right to petition any board or public official.

There is also no requirement for any citizen to have to name his subject in order to get on the agenda to address any public body. The public has all rights here.

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