Cabarrus County Board of Education member caught on Zoom making derogatory comments at board meeting

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They say Zoom mute button fails are the new accidental “reply all.” That would certainly seem to be the case for Cabarrus County Board of Education member Laura Blackwell, who was overheard by Monday night’s board meeting listeners using incredibly inappropriate language.

As the meeting went to recess, Blackwell referred to the board’s Vice Chair Barry Shoemaker as a “douchebag,” in a comment at :24 of this clip:

A few minutes later, as the meeting got ready to resume, Blackwell said to Chairman Rob Walter “This is the most retarded thing I’ve ever seen” in an apparent reference to the district’s current remote learning practices.

Walter appeared to agree with the essence of Blackwell’s comments and said nothing to push back on her use of the term “retarded”:

Both Blackwell and Walter need to understand that the word “retarded” is one that is deeply offensive to many, but perhaps most of all to professional educators who believe that all of our children can learn and work tirelessly to make that happen.

Federal use of the term ended more than a decade ago after the passage of Rosa’s Law, named for 9 year old Rosa Marcellino. Rosa suffers from Down Syndrome and, along with her family, was able to get legal references to “mental retardation” changed to “intellectual disability” in an effort to extend dignity to those who struggle with disabilities.

The Cabarrus County Board of Education voted 4-3 to send grade K-3 students back to school next month. Grades 4-12 will begin in-person classes at the same time under Plan B.

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1 thought on “Cabarrus County Board of Education member caught on Zoom making derogatory comments at board meeting

  1. Cabarrus County teachers felt blindsided by the decision to send K-3 back full-time, with no limits or additional safety precautions.

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