Opinion » Commentaries

Reckless action

Shame on three Cayucos school board members



I wish to thank Kathe Tanner for her reporting on the Cayucos Elementary School District board in her Sept. 9, 2021, article, "SLO County school district rescinds 'Let Them Breathe' resolution opposing face masks." This article was published in both The Tribune and The Cambrian.

As reported on, during the Sept. 8, 2021, Cayucos Elementary school board meeting, board member Susan Brownell claimed that she had received, "demeaning, false accusations threatening us" in written correspondence to the board that was included as a part of the public record. I was surprised to learn of this and curious as to her claim, so I did as she suggested during the meeting and viewed all of the correspondence included as a part of the Sept. 8, 2021, school board meeting agenda, which she reminded us would "be archived forever." Not surprisingly, there were exactly zero "demeaning, false accusations" threatening Mrs. Brownell or any other school board member. I am extremely disappointed, albeit not surprised, that she would attempt to divert attention away from her own abhorrent behavior by making false accusations against those who respectfully spoke out.

Additionally, it was of interest that board member Steve Geil and Mrs. Brownell attempted to gaslight attendees at the Sept. 8, 2021, school board meeting by claiming that they hadn't originally interpreted the "Let Them Breathe" resolution as being a political statement, but rather an issue of local control. Given the fact that this resolution was cut and pasted from a politically motivated website by the parent who submitted it to the school board, and given the current politicalization throughout our country around mask wearing, claiming that they were "unaware" that this resolution was political in nature means either one of two things: 1. They did not first read the "Let Them Breathe" resolution before voting on it, or 2. They are incompetent.

Board member Geil's insistence that: "The kids wear masks indoors. The school is being run exactly the way it's required to be run," is inaccurate. Several parents have submitted written complaints to school administrators reporting their observations and concerns about teachers not wearing masks indoors and not enforcing student mask compliance. However, this would not be the first time Mr. Geil was misinformed. During the Aug. 4, 2021, school board meeting, he stated, "Kids don't get COVID." This was the same meeting in which he voted to pass the "Let Them Breathe" resolution.

Lastly, I wish to reiterate that it is truly devastating that the reckless actions of the three school board members who voted "yes" on the "Let Them Breathe" resolution caused the resignation of our amazing librarian and science teacher, Jake Rideout. Shame on these three board members for using our public school board as a platform to advance their personal politics.

Erika Torres writes to New Times from Cayucos. Send a reply through the editor at clanham@newtimesslo.com.

Add a comment