FPS School Board discusses disciplinary action against member Jennifer Benson
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Fargo Public School Board member Jennifer Benson was in the hot seat during Monday’s meeting.
This all stems from Benson failing to comply with the 20-21 Smart Restart Plan put in place for the district.
The plan required face masks to be worn in all Fargo Public School District buildings as a strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a memo filed by school board president Rebecca Knutson, Benson failed to wear a mask during the April 27th meeting and on multiple other occasions.
“We look at ourselves closer to staff, not that we are, but we align ourselves closer to staff and look at what we want our staff members to do,” said Knutson.
According to Knutson, Benson was given the opportunity to submit medical paperwork for a mask exemption, but that was declined.
On Monday, Benson argued the policy was against federal law.
“There are federal laws to protect people for a reason. It is nobody’s business, no matter what the medical reason is. It is nobody’s business. You cannot ask me that,” said Benson.
The school board president said this issue is about more than simply not wearing a mask.
“When a person runs for a board of education, then ends up being elected and serves, we are to follow our policies,” said Knutson. “That is something we know and they are outlined for us. That’s really why we are here today because this is an example of that.”
Other board members agreed.
“Clearly, we had a board member that chose to not follow the policy we put in place. That’s a violation of board policy.
On a 6 to 2 vote, a motion to censure the offending member at a public meeting of a full board was passed.
The censure means the board did not approve of Benson’s actions.
This only applied to Monday’s meeting and did not require Benson to remain silent.
She remains a full participant of the board.
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