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According to the Facebook page Des Moines Education Association, which is described as both a union and professional association, there are three Des Moines Public School board members willing to call a special meeting to discuss the new federal guidance around masks and civil rights.

Des Moines Education Association notes they need four board members to call a special meeting. Individuals who have an opinion on if a special meeting should be called can email [email protected] to share their thoughts.

One teacher asked if there is a plan for students who would not follow a mask mandate.

“For instance, would students start being suspended and removed from schools,” they asked. “I’m for a mandate, but I have a feeling there will be extreme pushback from many students, staff and families.”

When pressed for which board members are not on board, Des Moines Education Association said they’ve been told Teree Caldwell-Johnson, Kim Martorano, Kelli Soyer and Dwana Bradley are not in favor of calling for a special meeting.

Which prompted this response from a member of the group:

“They are traitors. They are not educated and/or following science. They need to be removed, recalled, whatever it takes. Imagine school board members who don’t put the welfare and safety of children first. Disgraceful!”

Another DMPS teacher said she understands the members wanting to protect the board and the district, but added that the law banning mask requirements in schools is “unjust.”

“It was passed in the middle of the night, sneaked inside of a budget bill,” she wrote. “I recognize it’s asking them a lot to put themselves on the line and break the unjust laws. However, if they don’t, they’re asking kids to put their health on the line.”

And another member of the group shared the response she received Caldwell-Johnson, calling her response “unacceptable” and noting “they should be ashamed of themselves — bowing down to COVID Kim like that.”

Caldwell-Johnson told the person she believes masks are the best first line of defense, but added “that option as a mandatory requirement has been taken away from us.”

“I will not be asking for a special meeting. I have consistently voted to uphold state law and do not plan to change my position regarding adherence to the law now. In 2020 I voted for our students to return to in-person learning and for the district to be in compliance with the law. I am not willing to vacillate on adherence to the law as a matter of expedience. The law is the law and I am unwilling to pick and choose when I will or will not adhere.”

Rob Barron, Kalyn Cody and Kyrstin Delagardelle have reportedly expressed support for the special meeting.

Author: Jacob Hall