Demsak stood up for residents’ right to speak to school board

| 26 Oct 2023 | 07:43

    On Tuesday, Oct. 10, the Hardyston Township Board Of Education held their monthly public meeting. It started out with great positivity. Everyone was delighted with the recent application for, and acceptance of, state funding for universal pre-K in the district.

    We were also very happy to hear that retired police officers will be in both Hardyston schools, not only watching over our children but also showing them that police are our partners and friends.

    Finally, we were encouraged to see the student test score data continue to improve. For those who may not know, in the 2021-22 school year, our elementary school’s rank increased 42.25 points, making it the second-best school in the county, despite substantial annual cuts in state funding. That’s something to be incredibly proud of.

    The administration and the Board of Education have done more with less every year. It is an amazing feat and should be applauded! And it was until this meeting went completely off the rails.

    After all of the good news (and once the time for public comment had passed), one of the school board members, Donna Carey, raised a non-agenda item for the board to take action on in real-time. She called for policy 5756 to be pulled out of committee (which passed) and abolished immediately (which was not passed). Her motions were seconded by Jean Barrett.

    Regardless of your views on policy 5756 (which is transgender student guidance for school districts), there was an unprecedented desire from the audience to provide public remarks on this specific policy if it came up during the meeting.

    Donna and Jean attempted to use Robert’s Rules of Order to abolish the policy without letting the vast amounts of parents and residents in the room speak for or against it - which in itself was quite ironic because it was neither putting “Kids First” or supporting “Parental Rights.”

    Our house is politically split, but one thing we 100 percent agree on is that we want people on our Board of Education who will put our daughter above partisan politics. Our children are not political pawns and need an adult in the room to look out for their best interest.

    Board member Nick Demsak was the only member who made a point of order during this meeting to allow all of the assembled parents and residents to speak. It was a responsible move and appreciated greatly. These are our kids, we have a right to be heard when the board is considering actions.

    That is why we are both voting for Nick Demsak. We don’t even know what his political affiliation is - and we admire that. What we do know is that Nick is not using our children in a political game; he is giving a voice to the parents and public regardless of beliefs or political affiliation.

    Actions speak louder than words. The meeting on Oct. 10 proved to us that Nick Demsak is the person that we need on the Hardyston Board of Education. He will continue, as he has for the past nine years, to be a voice for our children while letting members of the community have a say in the conversation.

    Matt and Jackie Califano


    Editor’s note: Matt is a Republican and Jackie is a Democrat.