I have pondered for some time as to how to speak to the nonsense happening prior to the school board election on Nov. 2.

Much of the scheme to resist vaccinations and mask mandates surfaced at the protest on Golf Course Road on Aug. 27 by the “medical freedom” group. It was appalling to see the prominent coverage by the local newspaper, but also the website listed at the bottom of the article, which featured a sketchy group of doctors, well known nationwide for spreading misinformation about Covid.

Candidate Scotty Puglisi is supported by this group. Their techniques involve disrupting school board meetings, and threats to pull their children out of school.

At the Sept. 7 meeting, Jack Carlisle, family physician, accompanied by 8-9 Grand Itasca physicians, spoke eloquently of the need for community cooperation in fighting the spread of Covid, and the exhaustion of staff treating very ill patients, while also combatting the misinformation about this deadly disease.

It was quite astonishing to hear Scotty state the doctors need to do more scientific research, apparently based on her internet medical expertise. Undaunted, she attacked the doctors again in the Bigfork meeting, complaining they hadn’t stayed after the lengthy meeting, to answer questions. Obviously, no consideration to the fact they probably hadn’t been home since early morning.

The tone of the medical freedom group is alarming. Attacking basically volunteer board members, and the medical community is beyond the pale. These disruptions across the country are not springing up out of nowhere.

Puglisi’s Facebook page, before scrubbing, stated “And let’s not confuse our children with ridiculous ideas like they can ‘choose their identity.’” Their identity is clearly marked on their birth certificates.” Good to know for LGBTQ families.

Her page then continues that she is a strong follower of Jesus. The Jesus I was taught would never have preached the selfishness and careless disregard of others, inherent in the refusal to vaccinate and wear masks. Over 700,000 deaths from Covid is evidence this is not an illness to play games with.

Scotty has offered very little to qualify her for a position on the school board.

Fortunately, the other candidate, Mark Schroeder, has a long record of relevant experience and integrity. He has spent all his adult life in service to country and community.

After graduation from West Point, Mark served six years in the US Army as a helicopter pilot, and in several command positions.

He has 12 years experience as a HS physics and biology teacher. He has 21 years experience as an assistant principal and principal in GR and Bigfork.

He knows about balanced budgets, and how school systems work. He has worked with special ed and alternative education programs. He has developed anti-bullying procedures, and school safety protocols. He supports school policies based on scientific facts.

The list of Mark’s qualifications goes on and on. His priorities will always be student safety, student opportunity, and student achievement for all.

Mark deserves his current seat on the school board. In these times of crises, we need knowledgeable, clear thinking, caring persons on school boards.

Early voting can now be done at the courthouse. Mark has my vote.

Jackie Dowell

Grand Rapids

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