Beaufort School Board brings in facilitator to help with bickering

Beaufort School Board brings in facilitator to help with bickering
(Source: WTOC)

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - Parents in the Beaufort School District are wondering why the school board can't get along. Many say their young kids act more maturely than those in charge of the district.

The board voted 4-3 to hire a facilitator to help them find common ground and stop bickering. That specialist cost the school district $8,000. However, there's still pushback from some board members to work together with this facilitator.

At a school board meeting, some community members stood up and quoted the school district's own code of conduct.

One community member read, "Never intentionally embarrass each other or the school system. You have all failed us. All of you. It's time to change."

Those baffled three of the seven members voted against this guidance shouted, "I say shame on you if you don't participate."

One of those opposing board members, John Dowling of District 6 says the $8,000 the facilitator cost isn't worth it. In reference to his opposition, a community member explained, "He's referred to it as a fool's errand and has also stated that members of this body have acted in malice - even insinuating someone on this board put a dead animal on the doorstep of another member."

The rat was placed on Christina Gwozdz's doorstep, but the board member believed to have done this remains confidential. This incident resulted in a police report, but not the first one. Dowling says the board has called the police on each other countless times and claims recovery is hopeless.

"I have never seen a board where people had to call police on each other. Never," said Dowling. "I honestly believe this board - as it stands right now - is just too far gone."

However, the community has hope and believes in restoration. They also believe the board can get their act together for the sake of the students. One parent begged the board to 'separate the issues of the board from the needs of the kids.'

The board members in favor of this facilitator also hope all seven members can come together and make amends. That facilitator has already been hired and is currently working with board members individually.

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