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Know Your School Board Candidates

Jim Verschueren, Co-chair of Dover Democrats, shared his views on masking requirements in our schools in a Letter to the Editor in Fosters, published October 25.

Imagine a world where COVID was tamed. As a first wave Baby Boomer, I remember a world where pandemics were conquered. I was vaccinated for polio in elementary school and it was eradicated in the US. In fact, it is almost gone from the world. The same could be true for COVID. Soon, children will be eligible for vaccines. Until they are, and COVID vaccines are completed for all students, masks in school should be mandatory.

We now have a highly transmissible variant. As long as that variant is spreading, as it is now in NH, with a high degree of transmission, the likelihood of new, more dangerous variants is a real threat. Masks protect us from COVID and lessen the risk that new variants will develop. Who we elect to the Dover School Board next month will make all the difference in our battle to end the pandemic.

In the Tuesday, Oct. 19 issue of Foster’s (Lawsuit targets Tri-City schools), we learned that the Dover School District is being sued by the recently incorporated nonprofit, Parents Unite for Kids Health. Because the suit is filed by a nonprofit, people behind the lawsuit are able to keep their identities secret. It is not difficult, however, to connect the dots. As reported in the same article, Dover School Board candidates Jaime Berggren, Laura Morreale, and Emily Lyon were three of the incorporators of another recently incorporated nonprofit here in Dover, Parents Rights for Children’s Health, which, as reported in the Foster’s article, “...bears the same mission statement as Parents Unite.”

Those three candidates, along with three others, Sally Staude, Carolyn Carr, and Kathleen Cintavey, all have made their opposition to Dover’s current mask mandate clear. All signed the recent misguided petition to the Dover School Board to put the mask mandate to a public vote. This lawsuit, like so many others filed by the same lawyer on behalf of similar recently formed nonprofits around the state, will squander our taxpayer dollars on defending against the lawsuits and take up city employee time that could be devoted to productive activity. How many of these candidates are hiding behind the veil of the nonprofit’s lawsuit to hide from voters their costly attack on our schools?

Dover voters face some critical decisions in this local election. Will we make decisions based on science, work together in the name of the common good, resolve our differences civilly, and trust in elected officials who do not hide their true affiliations and beliefs? Or will we succumb to a national movement that disrupts government by mob action at school board and executive council meetings and files frivolous lawsuits, thereby squandering our resources? Will we choose to keep our schools safe for all?

Voters in Dover need to know their choices, ward by ward. Municipal elections are nonpartisan - Republicans and Democrats who vote “party line” will be at a loss in the voting booth as there are no party affiliations on municipal election ballots. Know who these candidates are. Read their bios and their position statements in Foster’s carefully.

Be informed, then vote.


About the author:

Jim Verschueren, Co-chair of Dover Democrats

Jim has lived in his Sixth Street Dover home since 1983. His two sons are graduates of Dover High. For two terms he represented Ward 1 in the NH House of Representatives, representing Ward 1 and serving on the Municipal and County Government and Education Committees. After a career in higher education and non-profit management, in 2009 Jim retired from his position as executive director of the Dover Adult Learning Center.

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