What’s become of the friendly neighborhood school board meeting? In Connecticut, a high school board member was socked in the face during a heated discussion about a Native American mascot. In Iowa, the police were called after parents got into it over racial slurs that were read aloud from books. Even the Proud Boys, the nationalist group, are getting involved in local school issues.
The normally staid community meetings have become fist-flying fodder for cable news. Given the outsized media coverage of school board agendas of late, it may seem as if cultural wedge issues such as transgender student-athletes and critical race theory were the driving forces that school board voters cared most about. But a new survey finds that is not the case.
At the top of the list were two issues—COVID-19 vaccine mandates and school safety, which includes cops in schools and student discipline. They were tied as the main concerns of 14% of parents who participated in a study conducted by the Covid States Project, a collaborative effort by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern, and Rutgers.