Muddy River News This Week: The Last Stand?

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Steve Lucie poses with protesters in Springfield. (Photo courtesy of Steve Lucie)

Warsaw native Steve Lucie of We Stand for Our Students, a community group concerned about parent choice regarding mask options, spoke during the Illinois State Board of Education’s meeting in Springfield on Aug. 18. He returned to Quincy for a taping of Muddy River News This Week, then attended the Warsaw School Board meeting.

That’s a full day.

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, not long after the School Board meeting ended, he texted Muddy River News. “Bob. Late, Late night,” he wrote. “Lots of division and honestly lots of frustration and blame toward myself from some in the community. They see WSOS as causing their school to (lose recognition). Kinda sad the misinformation.”

The Warsaw School Board voted earlier this summer for masks to be highly recommended in Warsaw schools. It didn’t change its stance during Wednesday night’s meeting. The School District has a meeting with ISBE Monday morning, and a special Board meeting is scheduled Monday night in Warsaw.

Lucie is not confident Warsaw will continue to buck Governor JB Pritzker’s mask mandate for schools. The threats coming from state government inform school districts they will lose funding, accreditation and other penalties that Lucie and many others believe are outside the state’s authority.

“The state has done an unbelievable job of dividing and conquering,” Lucie wrote.

Jen Wiemelt has been advocating for local control in Quincy. She has asked the Quincy School District why it isn’t allowing medical exemptions to the mask mandate, but she hasn’t received an answer.

State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) has said she disagrees strongly with the governor’s methods and doesn’t support mask mandates. However, she and many other Republican lawyers believe the state’s actions are within their purview.

“We have consulted with Senate legal staff and, unfortunately, the current executive order and administrative rules appear to give the Governor’s and various state agencies the legal upper hand (at least at this time),” she wrote on August 11.  “The House Republican legal staff has taken a similar stance.  As an attorney, I also agree.  Schools risk losing both federal and state funding and incurring potential lawsuits.”

Lucie and Wiemelt both appeared on Muddy River News This Week, Furnished by Harvey’s.

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