Once upon a time, Bucks County politics was a known for being amicably purple, a collaborative blend of Republican red and Democrat blue. And, even more granular, the humdrum agenda for school board meetings meant few attendees other than perhaps some parents and locals interested in educational issues. Those days are no more, especially in the Central Bucks School District. David Murrell, for Philadelphia Magazine, reported on its current wild and woolly world of political partisanship.
Public comment time Central Bucks School District meetings has become a platform for passionate views from the left and the right. Various sides now spar routinely over issues like virtual learning, critical race theory, masks, and curricular inclusiveness.
Masks seem to be a particular sore spot among parents: One side claims that foregoing them is irresponsible, and the other asserts that mandating them is unnecessary or even harmful.
Ironically, they both claim the same high moral ground, to protect students.
Over time, the acrimony on this issue alone has resulted in disruptions, raised voices, tears, arrests, ejections, and even free-speech litigation at public meetings.
And an unintended outcome of all the disagreement is the dearth of residents interested in serving on — or even running for — positions on local boards. Death threats, either actual or inferred, have entered the rancorous rhetoric and caused at least one resignation.
If there is any hope for untangling this complex knot, it may be in the students themselves. Perhaps unaware of their parents’ political leanings, they continue to learn collaboratively, moving from lesson to lesson and navigating assignments in unison.
The answer to the acrimony may, then, lie in this paraphrase: The children shall lead them.
More on the Central Bucks School District issues with parental partisanship is at Philadelphia Magazine.