Tuesday night the Washington County Board Of Education accepted Jacqueline Fischers Resignation after her controversial Facebook Posts.
This became official on a motion made by Pieter Bickford and seconded by Linda Murray and a unanimous board vote.
Following Tuesday’s Vote, Board President Melissa Williams read a statement that was previously prepared by the board.
“The Washington County Board of Education acknowledges and accepts Mrs. Fischer’s resignation from this elected body. Mrs. Fischer’s recent comments on social media are simply unacceptable. These statements do not reflect the views, opinions or feelings of our collective board. Furthermore, they do not uphold the values we share as a community, nor do they promote principles that we want to instill in our students. We stand for and represent a school system that is diverse and inclusive of various beliefs and standpoints. We believe in upholding conversation and dialogue that unites our community despite our individual differences. I assure the Washington County community this board remains committed to the wellbeing of each and every student. This board remains committed to work in partnership with the students, staff, administrators and citizens of Washington County to promote positive character, to build trust and in doing so help all to develop a deeper understanding and respect for one another.”
Williams said that the board had received hundreds of emails and even more social media posts from people showing their outrage. Williams said the posts were “reprehensible” and condemned them.
Williams explained that Fischer cannot be fired from the board and that she can only resign or be removed by the state BOE. Other members can also call for resignation.
“It is then up to the individual whether or not to resign”, Williams Said.
“I made Mrs. Fischer aware of the consensus feelings of this board, which she took into consideration when making her decision.”
Fischer’s letter of resignation was not shared at the meeting.
Board member Mike Guessford was chosen to be on the WCPS BOE Nomination committee. He called the posts “offensive, appalling and a blatant disrespect for the office of the president of the United States.” He said those who hold elected office are held to a higher standard, have to set examples and be leaders.
“We aren’t perfect, but there are lines we cannot cross,” Guessford said.
“There are no words that can describe a person who holds life that low to wish the death of anyone, especially the president of the United States no matter what your political party.”
David Ward of Boonsboro was the first person to do an in-person public comment allowed since the start of the pandemic. He called the posts inappropriate and hate speech.
Board member Wayne Ridenour did speak about the posts before the vote. He states that Fischer made a mistake that was monumental. He also stated that what she did for the students and WCPS during her terms of service was monumental.
Ridenour Said, “What she said was inappropriate. She’s made the decision to resign. I think she did that more for us than anything else because she believed that her mistake was a reflection on the board.”
Ridenour stated the he also received emails from the public that bothered him.
“I’m not going to speak for her and say why this happened, but I will say I am almost certain that it was just frustration on her part,” said Ridenour.
“I’m not going to speak to why she was frustrated, but I can think of about 210,000 reasons she might have been.”
Williams noted that this is not the first time that a board member had been removed or submitted a resignation due to social media posts.
“Judging by the vulgar and threatening nature of some of the emails, postings and messages to this board, to Mrs. Fischer and posted publicly, poor judgment on social media is not limited to elected officials, but it is a problem we can all fall prey to,” Williams said. “Let’s all work harder to bring civility to our use of social media. Words matter. And we are all accountable for what we say and for what we write
So far at least one person said that they were interested in filling the open seat. John Krowka stated that he was seeking to fill the vacancy. Krowka ran for a position in 2018 when there were 3 seats open. Fischer was elected in that election.
Note: More info will be given on the nominees when it is provided.
© 2020, Donovan Vincent. All rights reserved.