The school board’s failing grade

| 13 Oct 2021 | 06:12

    To the Editor:

    In response to reading the following in the Pike County Courier: “To cheers and applause, (Bukaj) said a student without a clear risk of disease has no reason for the student to stay home. She cited a June report from the American Medical Association showing that masks cause excessive carbon dioxide in children’s blood.”

    For those who are unaware, or just chose to “do their own research,” finding validation to reaffirm their beliefs, it should be known that “The Letter” (not AMA findings, not a report, but more akin to a submission for peer review) was in fact retracted by the AMA:

    “Following publication, numerous scientific issues were raised regarding the study methodology, including concerns about the applicability of the device used for assessment of carbon dioxide levels in this study setting, and whether the measurements obtained accurately represented carbon dioxide content in inhaled air, as well as issues related to the validity of the study conclusions. In their invited responses to these and other concerns, the authors did not provide sufficiently convincing evidence to resolve these issues, as determined by editorial evaluation and additional scientific review. Given fundamental concerns about the study methodology, uncertainty regarding the validity of the findings and conclusions, and the potential public health implications, the editors have retracted this Research Letter.” (See:

    It is beyond insulting and offensive that a member of the school board would use questionable and misleading statements to push their agenda. Perhaps we should just allow students to cease citing sources for papers and allow them to believe 2+2 equals 5 on the sole basis that someone said so.

    Is one source credible, how about a 100-year-old source? I’m sure I could cite dated material that would support the belief that bloodletting can cure seizures.

    This behavior is anything but educational, and literally reeks that board of education members lack even the capability to differentiate between hypothetical or theoretical, or even fact versus opinion.

    Now at this point, I am certain some have already tuned out, because they think this is about masks and vaccines. Is it? Or Is it about integrity and accuracy? Are we meant to be educators, or do we chose to disregard whatever challenges us or proves our ideas to be wrong? The latter is exactly what happened when this deceptive statement was made. In addition, the word “excessive” was not even included in the letter. That word has weight and its use is manipulative. I would guess the two-page letter (and about one with graphics removed) was not even read, but merely parroted, third hand. The retraction obviously wasn’t read, and if so, that’s even more dangerous to educational integrity.

    Was the member’s statement actually about health and students’ well-being? Not at all. This is using false/misleading information to push a political agenda. To deny so, one would have to be even more disconnected with the community, that remaining on the board is an additional disservice to the community.

    Violating state mandates, and recklessly endangering community welfare? That’s another letter for other governing bodies.

    If there’s one thing to learn from the recent time, is that selfishness and ignorance are many peoples’ go to behavior. Commonsense, compassion, sacrifice, intelligence, community caring, and basic neighborly decency and behavior have been usurped. And yes in this area, it is political, if one disagrees, please see previous statement above.

    And for the record, I was an educator at a New Jersey college when Covid hit and watched my students’ families be decimated. One student lost an uncle on Thursday and his grandfather on Sunday. DV has been fortunate that they have not seen the mass family casualties I had to witness and try to help guide my students through. You think an occasional car accident is hard?

    More than 45 percent of my students lost a family member and often from their own home. The insulation here has only bred ignorance and apathy, and it couldn’t be farther from something to be proud of, it’s disgusting and offensive on every level.

    Sincerely repulsed having to write this, you should be embarrassed, ashamed and really need to take a long hard look at what honesty and integrity means.

    Jason Audette