On September 21st, the Mount Vernon Community School District School Board held a special meeting to discuss the possibility of a mask mandate for students. This is similar to meetings being held across the nation. In many cases these meetings have become confrontational in nature, including people throwing threats and insults at one another. Admittedly, I was nervous heading into this meeting, and was hoping this scene did not play out in Mount Vernon. I should have known better. I should have known that the Mount Vernon community would rise up and be a model of civility. I want to thank all of those who attended and spoke at the meeting for maintaining a high level of decorum, and for being respectful to one another. Thank you for acknowledging that while we have strong differences of opinion on this issue, we are still neighbors, friends, and fellow members of a great community.

I want to applaud the seven School Board members for doing a ton of work on this issue, including reading well over 100 emails from patrons on both sides of the issue. I also want to thank them for speaking from both the head and the heart, and for having the courage of their convictions to respectfully disagree with one another. We are so lucky to have a School Board that can have difficult conversations, but can then unite in supporting whatever final decision has been made. This is not typical of many School Boards, but I am grateful that it is the case in Mount Vernon.

Moving forward, I want to challenge all of us to carry this same decorum and respect to social media and communications with one another, be it conversations taking place in the neighborhood, on the phone, or via email. We can differ in our opinions, but that does not mean we need to be divided.

In good times and bad, we are still Mount Vernon!