North Penn School Board Acknowledges Controversial Photo at January Action Meeting – The Knight Crier

Franky Walsh

The North Penn School Board acknowledges the photo of a teacher taping a student’s mask to his face during the January action meeting.

Just days after a photo of a North Penn teacher taping a student’s mask to his face circulated, not just in the district, but across the country, the North Penn School Board came together to its January action meeting in front of a large audience of parents, students, community members and several media outlets covering the meeting.

The district released an official declaration ahead of the meeting, acknowledging the situation and how although “the incident was isolated and no malice was intentional”, it was “entirely inappropriate and unacceptable, regardless of the context”. Although this is a hot topic at the moment and many people want answers, the Board is currently unable to release any further information as all staff and student issues are confidential.

A statement from the student’s mother was also sent to social media via North Penn now, stating that she has in no way authorized any news outlet or social media platform to broadcast her son’s photo and that she sent the photo to a small group with no intention of spreading it further than that. .

“While I appreciate parents and groups coming to our defense as noted above, what this has evolved is exactly what I wanted to avoid,” the student’s mother said in her statement. “Make no mistake, what we are going through as a result of all of this is nothing compared to the incident itself, which I stress was serious in itself. Now, in addition to having to deal with the backlash from the local community and, for my son, his friends and classmates, we fear our identity will be leaked and we will find a host of parents and news cameras on my step forward. If I had any idea it would scale to such a level, I would never have allowed it to be shared with this private group.

Prior to reading these statements, the Board of Directors recognized the North Penn Marching Knights for their outstanding achievement this year as they preserved through covid to have an extremely successful first half. Introduced by Mr. Joseph Santanello, nearly all of the Knights of the March showed up to receive recognition from the Board of Directors and the entire North Penn community.

“It was such a privilege to watch the Marching Knights play and how they commanded the pitch and tonight in this room they filled it,” said board director Juliane Ramić. “I’m so grateful that so many of them were able to come tonight…and from that view on stage, it was truly an honor and a privilege to be able to recognize them and everyone who supports them. “

At the first citizen hearing, comments ranged from the topic of masks, vaccines, Covid testing and the special education program, the latter having been brought up just as much as the other topics in the past two meetings. Several parents, students, and administrators spoke about the special education program saying they were dissatisfied with the way the program is run.

The meeting progressed quickly after the first hour-long public comment and when it came to the vote, the board voted almost entirely unanimously, with the exception of Dr Elisha Gee who voted no for the contract of health care clinic design, making it a final vote of 8. -1.

Starting with a question from Dr. Gee, Superintendent Dr. Curt Dietrich explained how the district uses the Emergency aid for elementary and secondary schools (ESSER) funding provided by the government and where they can and cannot use it.

“We receive ESSER funding from the federal government, there are very prescribed uses that are possible for the use of this funding. One of the requirements for this ESSER funding is that you have a health and safety plan. Masking is not a requirement to receive ESSER funding, and there must be a health and safety plan that addresses the issue,” Dietrich explained.

In the finance update, Dietrich reminded the community of the upcoming budget process for the next four months as CThe Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Steve Skrocki, was not present at the meeting.

“We will have twice monthly meetings coming up now for the next four months as part of the 2022-2023 budget process and these meetings include a deep dive into each district department budget they are a great way for the community to learn more about school district finances,” Dietrich said. The board strongly encourages community members interested in district funding to attend these meetings to better understand how the funding works.

The meeting adjourned after another half hour of public comment. The next school council meeting will be a working session on February 8 at 7 p.m.

Jack C. Nugent