OUR VIEW: The Palm Beach County School Board Needs To Get Real

palm beach county schools

Palm Beach County Schools Close For Social Media Threats. Why Is There Any Question About A Real Threat?

Boca Raton Schools

BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Here’s how it’s going to play out. Idiot parents engaged in “online telephone hour” on Facebook will speculate that Suzie. Or Johnny. Or your child has COVID-19. They will say that they know it’s true because they heard it from someone who heard it from someone who heard it from someone who saw it on Facebook. And because Suzie. Or Johnny. Or your child sits three desks away from their child, those parents will be convinced that their children now have COVID-19 as well.

The calls to the teacher — full of verbal assaults — will start by 3 p.m. Calls to the principal will start by 4 p.m. The principal will be threatened. Chastised. Told that he or she “must” release medical information that, of course, can not be released. The teachers and principals will be targeted on social media.


The calls to the teacher — full of verbal assaults — will start by 3 p.m. Calls to the principal will start by 4 p.m. The principal will be threatened. Chastised. Told that he or she “must” release medical information that, of course, can not be released. The teachers and principals will be targeted on social media.


As the rumor spreads online, the on-call answering services for pediatricians will go into overdrive by 8 p.m.

And by 11 p.m. — as pediatricians frantically try to return calls to 300 aggressive Boca Raton and Delray Beach parents concerned that their child just sneezed — the Palm Beach County School District communications office will field overnight calls from the media as senior administrators are forced to do what they’ve done more nights than not. Order the closure of Calusa. Or Waters Edge. Or Del Prado. Or Whispering Pines. Or Sunrise Park. Or Eagles Landing. Or Omni. Or another elementary or middle school. Again.

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year in Palm Beach County if the schools are opened in August.

When Palm Beach County School Board members held a highly publicized “workshop” several days ago to discuss plans for opening schools on August 10th, one thing became clear: the school board has no idea what its doing. Comments from the one member with the experience to offer legitimate guidance — Debra Robinson, MD — were constantly dismissed by other members who seemed to be playing to political pressure and not intelligence.

The belief that schools could open for “in person” learning anytime soon is absurd. The pediatric percent positive rate in Palm Beach County is soaring. It’s 29 percent. And even if kids aren’t clogging the emergency room at death’s door, the psychology of COVID-19 makes opening schools right now a non-starter. What happens when children in a school test positive? The parent social media world will go haywire. The focus will be on who might have COVID-19, not on how to multiply with three digits.

There will be rumors. Innuendos. Threats. Lies. Friendships will be destroyed. Parent cliques will be turned inside out.


What happens when children in a school test positive? The parent social media world will go haywire. The focus will be on who might have COVID-19, not on how to multiply with three digits.

There will be rumors. Innuendos. Threats. Lies. Friendships will be destroyed. Parent cliques will be turned inside out


The fact that schools are set to open in four weeks yet no plan exists is troubling. The fact that Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy has been given until July 15th to announce a plan is disheartening. This is a school district that under normal times moves at a snail’s pace. How will the school district of 180,000 students execute a plan to reopen — or not reopen — in just three weeks?

The Palm Beach County CTA or Classroom Teachers’ Association — the union — wants school to start on time as distance learning only. We agree. The psychology of COVID-19 makes starting in-person education right now a non-starter. The fact that there’s no written plan at this point is representative of a lack of leadership.

Look to north to see how other school districts are handling the uncertainty. One of the leading school districts in the country — the Radnor Township School District outside of Philadelphia — has a 14-page professionally drafted plan. When The Palm Beach County School District prints plans, they look like they’re written by someone who just discovered Comic Sans as a font. Radnor Township uses words like “rigorous” to describe the distance learning education goals. The Palm Beach County School District is still debating whether teachers need more training for Google Meet.

There is only one option for the Palm Beach County School District: continue with distance learning when school starts August 10th and start focusing on it now. Reevaluate bi-weekly with the goal of being back in school after Thanksgiving.

There is a lot of energy being wasted right now on the impractical. It’s politics. Let’s stop worrying about politics and worry about the one thing that matters: offering the best educational experience that’s possible under the normal as we know it today.

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