Cabarrus educators holding Monday “Rally to End the Word” in wake of offensive comments by school board member

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During last Monday’s board meeting, Cabarrus County Board of Education member Laura Blackwell was caught on Zoom saying “This is the most retarded thing I’ve ever seen.

The comment was made privately to Board Chair Rob Walter, who ignored the use of an appalling term educators have spent decades trying to remove from the educational setting and instead agreed with Blackwell’s criticism of remote instruction during the pandemic.

Blackwell also referred to the board’s vice chair as a “douchebag.”

The board has called a special meeting for today beginning at 5 pm (closed session at 5, open session at 6).

The meeting’s agenda includes a discussion about “appropriate and inappropriate board member speech” and has the Code of Ethics for School Board Members attached:

Policy-2120

The policy requires that board members “model civility to students, employees and all elements of the community by encouraging the free expression of opinion by all board members and engaging in respectful dialogue with fellow board members on matters being considered by the board.”

At 4 pm, the Cabarrus Association of Educators is holding a “Rally to End the Word” outside the Cabarrus County Education Center (4401 Old Airport Rd. Concord, NC 28026). Overflow parking will be available at the nearby Cabarrus Arena.

Cabarrus Association of Educators has released the following statement about the matter:

Educators have learned to conduct themselves as professionals, even outside of the classroom, knowing that the eyes of the community are always upon them.   We have the right to expect a similar high standard from our elected officials especially during a professional meeting.  

The lack of decorum demonstrated at several board meetings and the inappropriate language used shows an utter disregard for the position held, the opinions of others and the community represented.  Trust has been broken between the community and the board of education.  Serious steps need to be taken in order to restore that trust.  

Michelle Rengert
President – Cabarrus Association of Educators


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