Letter to the Editor: Teacher clarification to Radio political ad and response to write in candidates

Devils Lake Journal

Dear Editor,

I am writing to you due to some inaccuracies and misinformation that is being spread about the upcoming school board elections on June 8. 

Recently the Journal published a story about the upcoming election.

On the radio I have been hearing a political ad that raised some serious concerns about the COVID-19 Mask Rules DLPS had in place all year. The radio ad starts out stating that "the North Dakota Legislature has prevented State and elected officials from instituting mask mandates, and the DLPS school board went against the legislature and the law by keeping the mandate in place" and more to the effect that the school board was careless should be replaced. Encouraging that voters write in two new names for the school board positions. 

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First, [the radio ad's] information on the "Anti-Mask" legislation the state passed is simply incorrect. The law prevents the Governor, Statewide elected official or the State Health officer from implementing a statewide mask mandate. What HB 1323 does do, is allow local governments, like counties, cities, and school boards to implement mask mandates. Therefore, the school board was correct in their power to institute and keep the mask policy in place. 

Secondly, these candidates had every chance to submit their information to the district in order to get their names placed on the ballot and they missed it. Not to take away from the democratic process of write in ballots, but given the circumstances and the opportunities given to these candidates along with the misinformation, I find it hard to truly understand their motives with this political strategy. 

Lastly, the community should be commending the school board, and district leadership for their handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Every move that was made was done so with the best interest and the safety of the students, the teachers, and the staff in mind. Devils Lake Public Schools was one of only a handful of districts that never had to go backwards in their educational plan. Not one single student died due to COVID-19, and there were no major outbreaks within any of our schools. Regardless on what your political or philosophical beliefs are, Devils Lake Public Schools did the right thing from the beginning and throughout the process. 

With this letter, I neither endorse or oppose a candidate for the school board election on June 8. With this letter I simply wish to correct the error in information and the tone in which our community reacts to this election.

Erick Counts, MCAA

American Government Teacher 

American History Teacher 

SADD Advisor

Devils Lake High School

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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