1,400 demand “immediate resignation” of three Richland school principals after masked vote

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The letter, signed online by about 1,400 people, expresses “distrust” of three members of the Richland School Board, who are embroiled in controversy after a hasty vote last Tuesday to make the masks optional.

The letter was prepared by a group of eight concerned community members and parents last weekend, said Elizabeth Lugo, one of the applicants. The authors call for the “immediate resignation” of board members Audrey Byrd, Curry Williams and Seven Byrd.

“We hope they will accept this and realize that they are no longer effective leaders. They have shown themselves to be ineffective leaders, and we would like them to resign voluntarily for the betterment of society because they are not acting in the interests of students, ”said Lugo, a father from Richland.

The letter alleges that Byrd and Williams violated at least 16 state and federal policies regarding open public meetings laws and standards of the Washington State School Principals Association, among others. Bird also alleges that he violated the First Amendment by deleting public comments on his personal Facebook page.

The letter was expected to be presented at a remote board meeting Tuesday night.

“It’s really a process and a procedure,” said Danica Garcia, a former Richland school board candidate and father.

The letter comes after Byrd, Williams and Byrd voted 3-2 to allow the county to “disguise the optional” at a special meeting last week contrary to Washington’s COVID disguise rules.

While some parents were excited by their decision, others were frustrated by the suddenness of the action and the lack of transparency in the decision-making process that followed the two-hour closed session. The issue of the mask was not specifically mentioned as a topic for discussion on the agenda of this meeting.

School principal Shelley Redinger then closed schools for two days in response to legal concerns about the decision. At another emergency meeting on Thursday, the school board changed its vote to make the mask optional, starting March 21, when the state-wide ban is expected to be lifted.

So far, students, staff and visitors to Richland still have to wear masks in schools.

This story was originally published February 22, 2022, 5:47 p.m.

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