Re: Public Comment-OCS BOE Meeting 11/7/22

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Will Atherton

Nov 6, 2022, 3:06:09 PM11/6/22
to jacquie, OCS Board Members, Orange County Board of Commissioners
Hi Jacquie,

On behalf of the board, thank you for taking the time to email us with your concerns.


Will Atherton

Will Atherton
Chair Orange County Board of Education
Phone: 919-323-8279 | Fax: 919-732-8120 |   

All mail correspondence to and from the Orange County Schools is subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law, which may result in monitoring and disclosure to third parties, including law enforcement.

On Sun, Nov 6, 2022 at 2:19 PM 'jacquie' via OCS Board Members <> wrote:
Superintendent and School Board Members,

I think it’s time for the superintendent, Monique Felder, Deputy Superintendent Patrick Abele, and the previous OCS school board which includes most of you to apologize to all the students and staff that you have harmed by your Covid policies over the past several years. When is the school board going to apologize to all the parents who were speaking up for their children and warned you of the harms that you were causing with the Covid policies that you continued to vote for? Children have been harmed mentally and physically and they are still paying the price from the policies that you all implemented. I don’t need to wait for a clinical trial to prove that my children were harmed by your policies, I can see it with my own eyes they have suffered greatly and still are. And they are not alone, these are real lived experiences. We are seeing detrimental harm to these children whether it’s learning loss, fear, depression, or suicide that still continues. There is a real emergency that is killing our children and it’s not COVID-19. One of my children attends NC State University and there have been 3 student suicides just in the first semester. One of them jumped from an eight story dorm. If that doesn’t wake you up I don’t know what does. Remember no children died in OCS from Covid19. It was never their burden, but the school board put  the weight of their fear on our children’s shoulders. It is questionable to me that the school has funds coming in for all kinds of programs but none of it is going to directly help suffering children. So much money that you have voted on a new 6 figure salary position to oversee it all. You’ve got 560k for more Covid mitigations and almost 200K coming from the BOCC for racial equity trainings on the agenda. I don’t see how any these are going to remedy what the children are actually suffering from. It really doesn’t make sense to me that the board is going to choose to use funds to buy new computers, furniture and fidget spinners to continue the charade of battling Covid but no funds or solutions to remedy the real problem that is strikingly obvious.

I request that the consent agenda item for the grant from the NCDHHS be pulled for discussion, these funds need to be allocated where they are really needed or cancel the grant. Extra funds should be used for mental health intervention programs and extra education opportunities to help the children who are suffering stemming from the past COVID-19 policies you all voted for. You didn’t have to make these covid policies or choose to vote for them, you could have said no. There were other states and school boards who voted no to these interventions because they knew the harms that they were going to cause. They listened when parents told them how their children were being harmed. You all ignored parents like me who have been warning you time and time again. Remember back in 2021 when you voted to continue to keep kids home?  You consciously voted to keep them home, then you allowed kindergarten first graders to go and then up to grade 5 only because state law required you to do it. But no to middle and high schools, they sat home and rotted into their beds. What about silent lunch? And I will not even begin to speak of the harms of the face masks, teachers are still wearing them, this impacts learning. Those choices had severe consequences for the children and you all need to apologize and make amends. There should be zero amnesty for your actions. I will meet with any of you to discuss personally the detailed harms done to my children.

-Jacquie Barker

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