Michelle Pozzie: A rebuttal to public comments made by Sarasota School Board member Tom Edwards
Francesco Abbruzzino, The Uncensored Report, LLC
A response to Tom Edwards’ opinion piece.
It’s truly not fair to claim your innocence as a simple bystander in a ‘culture war’ when you are responsible for firing the first shot. No one knew you before you took a seat on our board in late 2020, but whatever faith the community placed in you at that time was short-lived as your true colors have continued to come to light over the past two years.
Our community has had many disagreements amongst its citizens throughout history. You fanned the political flames by pretending to be brave and going against our state administrations orders prohibiting masks in schools. You worked against the rights of parents to choose what was best for their child’s health. You publicly stated, “how do we break the law,” during an August 2021 school board meeting as you and the rest of the rogue “stronghold” on the board plotted ways to force your will on the community you are supposed to serve. That is a terribly unethical comment to make from a seat that demands a higher ethical standard than that of a common thief. You stole the rights of parents, forced medical decisions upon children that weren’t your own, and by all accounts, significantly contributed to driving the wedge that has since emerged in our community. Please, spare us the gaslighting. What you are experiencing due to your actions isn’t a culture war; it’s an uprising by those same constituents you took an oath to represent.
As a criminal who broke the law, you lacked the tenacity to see it through. While other rogue board members across the state were being punished for taking the law into their own hands, you were planning your escape route. You touted your ability to escape the consequences of your actions to your democratic party friends at a local luncheon earlier this year. You, Mr. Edwards, with no healthcare or medical expertise, arbitrarily pulled a percentage rate out of thin air as a guideline for our district to determine how long your illegal masks mandate would continue. You bragged that this allowed you to “fly beneath the radar” of our governor– all while allowing you to tow the party line. You became every parent’s worst nightmare as you walked all over our civil liberties and parental rights. You did all of this with an absolute intention of which you are apparently quite proud.
If it is not yet evident by my words today, let me get right to the point. EVERY piece of legislation you see before you today resulted directly from actions taken by deviant school board members such as yourself. Communities need protection from people like you. Students, teachers, families, and boardrooms need legislation that ensures your actions are isolated incidents and not the new norm. You are the reason behind the laws you see before us today.
It’s simple. Evil cannot ‘fly under the radar” absent of consequences forever, and our community has had enough. Now you have stooped to a new low as you attempt to alienate our LGBTQ community by misrepresenting a law that many in the LGBTQ community and across party lines support. They support it because it is common-sense legislation protecting innocent five to nine-year-old children from “sex talk” in classrooms. You claim we have a teacher shortage but neglected to acknowledge that your failed leadership led to that shortage, not laws just passed in the last month. You have played a role in turning our classrooms into unsafe indoctrination clinics– that some feel is unethical to participate in. Your liberal majority on the board failed to treat teachers equally, going so far as to proclaim that you are in favor of not treating vaccinated teachers the same as unvaccinated. Shirley even suggested that the district should reward vaccinated teachers with paid sick days for ‘making the right decision.’ You, Mr. Edwards, have played a considerable role in creating a hostile work environment for anyone who does not share your political ideology. Many excellent teachers find that a less than favorable employment option.
Sadly, our education system operates as a poorly run for-profit machine full of collective bargaining, self-dealing, and nepotism. I am sure you understand, Mr. Edwards, that every child in a schoolroom seat is equal to a dollar amount. I know that with your business experience, you can see exactly where I am going with this one. Do not blame new charter schools for the need your failed leadership has created. Do not point fingers at legislation or laws established to remedy a problem you created. Do not be shocked when our community wants to include healthy competition in educational choices unless you are willing to admit your true ideology isn’t quite so ‘pro-freedom’ as it is ‘pro monopoly, pro-oligarchy.’ You either understand that healthy competition helps raise the standard, or you do not actually understand how business works.
In closing, I believe you will not have to worry about the 12-year term limit for our school board members. I do not think removing someone with your unethical, divisive track record from office will take that long.
Michelle Pozzie, a mom on a mission.