District 186 school board president asks that Ball-Chatham school board member be censured

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The president of the Springfield District 186 school board is asking that a member of the Ball-Chatham school board be censured over his support for Saturday’s Million Unmasked March at the Illinois Capitol Building.

A Facebook post made by Patrick Phipps, the Ball-Chatham school board secretary, also drew a rebuke from Ball-Chatham superintendent Douglas Wood.

President Scott McFarland of Springfield said Phipps was "using his position as a member of a public school district board to endanger children and teachers."

In his July 9 post, Phipps said people who are "sick and tired of the asinine and harmful ’suggestions’ for returning to school mandated in Illinois" should come out to the rally.

McFarland called on Ball-Chatham board members to make a motion to censure Phipps at Wednesday’s meeting in his own Facebook post. McFarland reiterated that stance in comments to The State Journal-Register.

"I have a major amount of concern with anyone who has a leadership role in a school district who would advocate for somebody not willing to protect everybody else," McFarland said. "It’s one thing if it’s just your speech, but at that point, (Phipps) was advocating for action and the fact of having people gather at the Capitol building without masks to prove a point, I think that is dangerous."

Wood, in a letter that went out to parents, clarified that public statements made by board members, regardless of the platform, are personal opinions.

"He or she does not speak for the Board of Education or the school district," Wood said in the letter.

"Rest assured that we will always do all that we can to protect our students and staff through strict adherence to the guidelines and expectations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Sangamon County Department of Public Health—all of which advise that masks be worn. This is required."

Wood will present a back-to-school plan at Wednesday’s meeting.

Phipps did not immediately respond to Facebook message or an email.

Contact Steven Spearie: 622-1788, sspearie@sj-r.com, twitter.com/stevenspearie.

26-Delivered

via The State Journal-Register

July 20, 2020 at 01:14PM

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