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BESE Vice President releases statement on early adjournment of meeting

BESE meeting masks
Posted at 4:24 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 17:24:39-04

The Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Vice President Kira Orange Jones released a statement Friday regarding the board's decision to adjourn its meeting early this week.

After audience members would not comply with masking rules for indoor settings, as part of the governor's mandate, the board voted 8-2 to end the meeting early.

The board was set to discuss whether school systems could make their own decision regarding students wearing masks.

Video of the meeting and more information can be found here.

Below is the vice president's full statement:

"This pandemic has wreaked havoc on our schools and challenged our educational system in ways we could not have imagined a couple of years ago. As a BESE member, I am committed to seeing that our children are safe and able to learn. This is and should be about the education and safety of our students, not politics. Unfortunately, we had to adjourn our recent meeting because a group attempting to use the meeting for political purposes refused to abide by our rules or respect the rights of others present.

"As an educator, I know teaching does not start or stop in the classroom. We must lead by example, not just words. Meetings, like a class, should be a safe place where all participants are respected, and their opinions can be freely expressed. I commend all fellow board members who acted in a bipartisan manner on this, setting an example of how to appropriately deal with inappropriate behavior, and adjourned the meeting.

"One of the hallmarks of BESE is bipartisan action. During my decade on the board, we have voted time and again to stand up for what is right for children in a bipartisan manner. The August 18 meeting was no exception. We have a responsibility to uphold the Governor's protective order, designed to keep all Louisianans safe, during our public meeting. We did just that.

"I also want to commend the hard work of so many local leaders and schools across District 2 who are taking appropriate safety measures to ensure ALL students and educators remain healthy and in school. I stand ready to collaborate with our educators and policy makers to keep the physical health and wellbeing of our school communities and learning for our students a top priority."

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