Arkansas parents call for school board member to resign after controversial virus comments

National

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (KARK) – Some parents in an Arkansas city are calling for the resignation of a school board member after he made controversial comments regarding the coronavirus at a school board meeting Tuesday night.

“I do think that he should have to account for what he’s saying,” said Russellville parent Trinity Chapman.

Chapman was shocked Tuesday night when she logged in to watch the live feed of the school district meeting. She called some comments made by board member Jeff Carter “off the wall.”

During the meeting Carter said, “Heck I’ve been trying to get my kids around people to get it. You know so they can get the dadgum antibodies for that crap man.”

“Heck I’ve been trying to get my kids around people to get it. You know so they can get the dadgum antibodies for that crap man.”

Russellville school board member Jeff Carter

Parents say they tuned into the meeting to get reassurance for the upcoming school year but walked away with a lot more concerns.

“He is part of the decision making process at this point so for him to say that’s what he wants for his kids, well he’s at the school board making decisions for all our kids,” said Chapman.

When asked for comment, Carter wrote in part, “To clarify my statements, in exposing my own kids to the coronavirus, I was joking. It was not my most thought out statement. My kids are healthy and there is uncertainty about developing antibodies, but with most viruses, we develop antibodies through exposure and vaccines. So, out of jest, I commented that I would like for my kids to have the antibodies.”

However, that’s not the only comment that has parents in an uproar.

During the meeting, Carter also said, “I don’t want our staff and faculty to be sitting there thinking that the burden is completely on you in the education of a child that the parents and child are staying home with because now we’ve put you in the spot for two positions.”

Chapman is one of many parents in the school district utilizing the online learning option, while her kids stay home for the first few weeks of school.

“Even I know that all children are entitled to an equal opportunity in education. Surely if you’re on the school board you know that. I mean why would you say that,” said Chapman.

Carter responded:

“As for parents taking on the responsibility of educating their children if they stay at home: When choosing option B for at-home learning through our district, there will be a larger burden on the parent for that child’s education. The district is going to try and make it as seamless as possible. But we learned last spring that at home and face to face are two different mediums. I have been a classroom teacher, so I do respect the struggle our parents, students, and teachers have on the safety of this coming school year. I don’t wish COVID on anyone and do all that I can to keep my family safe. I want everyone to know that the district is going to put our best plan forward and try to make face to face and in-home learning as seamless as possible while providing the safest environment for all involved.  The last thing I would want to do is scare anybody away from our education system.”

For the comments at the school board meeting, Chapman and other parents are calling for Carter’s resignation.

“I don’t think he’s qualified, I do not think he should be a school board member and I don’t think I’m alone in that,” said Chapman.

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