District 303 school board president responds to comment about harassment from residents
St. Charles Unit District 303 School Board President Nick Manheim said he stood by Vice President Carolyn Waibel's right to express her opinion about harassment she says she's endured from residents but stressed her Jan. 11 comments don't reflect board opinion.
"While each board member has the right to express his or her thoughts, opinions and experiences, as Ms. Waibel did that evening, comments on behalf of the school board only come from the board president," Manheim wrote in a statement released Tuesday.
His statement came on the same day as a board meeting where he outlined the process for replacing former board member Michael Bryant, who resigned last week because of what Bryant termed personal reasons.
When Manheim announced Bryant's resignation at the start of the Jan. 11 meeting, Waibel spoke to the board about alleged harassment she and other board members have experienced because of decisions regarding in-person learning.
Asking the community to "dial down the hate," Waibel said board members "didn't take an oath to be harassed in our homes, to be emailed 12 times in two hours, to be called names, to be hung up on."
Her comment and allegations resulted in several email complaints sent to Manheim, District 303 Superintendent Jason Pearson and others.
District 303 elementary students currently attend in-person learning five days a week while middle-school and high-school students are in a hybrid model with a mix of remote and in-person learning. Community rallies have taken place throughout the school year in St. Charles to support full in-person learning.
"It is also understandable that emotions are running high and people are frustrated by the limitations under which we have to operate," Manheim wrote in the statement. "During this time of uncertainty, we ask members of the community to come together to understand and respect each other as we work to restore in-person instruction as we are able."