Debates over masks continue
New London School Board member wants to end mask wearing on buses
By John Faucher
New London School Board Director John Heideman informed his colleagues that he intends to “get rid of” a current mask mandate on school buses.
He made the statement at an Oct. 11 board meeting.
Heideman said since it was not on the agenda for that night he would not make a motion, but warned he would at the next board meeting.
“I will make a recommendation to get rid of that because I feel that we went to that very illegitimately anyways,” said Heideman.
On Aug. 23, board members voted 4-3 to follow CDC guidelines and a federal masking mandate for transportation on school buses.
Considerable board debate occurred on the topic at its Aug. 9 and Aug. 23 meetings.
At the time, the board reviewed materials and opinions provided by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, their insurance provider, CDC and the Boardman Clark Law Firm.
Board members Terry Wegner, Mark Grossman, Tina Ruckdashel and Pete Bosquez voted in favor of following CDC guidelines and keeping the masking requirement for persons riding on school buses.
Voting against were Heideman, Chris Martinson and Katie Batten.
Revisiting the issue
On Oct. 11, Heideman said he wanted to revisit the policy.
He said he felt much of what was presented in August “turned out to be false,” and he felt the mandate was being followed inconsistently anyways.
Bosquez responded to Heideman’s request to get rid of it.
“We can’t. It’s a mandate from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that has authority over all ground-based transportation,” said Bosquez.
Heideman responded, “Then you better come prepared to defend that.”
Bosquez said, “I got it.”
Board President Terry Wegner interjected, “Gentlemen!”
He then told Heideman that he was welcome to bring his statement forward to the board. However, Wegner said he was concerned with Heideman’s use of the word “illegitimate.”
“It was brought to the board, voted on by the board, passed by the board. That’s not illegitimate,” said Wegner.
Heideman said that he still felt the facts brought forward in support of the board’s earlier decision were, “not exactly cleared, they were not exactly concise.”
“John, I think there is disagreement there and we will take this up. We’ll take it up as a board again and see where we go,” said Wegner.
Martinson said he still felt the federal government does not have the authority to mandate transportation on local school buses.
A special school board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25.