MANITOWOC, Wis. (NBC 26) — Over 4,000 signatures in under 52 days: a goal set by Jeanette Deschene and other Northeast Wisconsin parents.
"We are looking to recall two board members," Deschene said. "They've advocated their rights to vote on Covid-19 protocols which has resulted in our kids still being masked."
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Groups of families are petitioning to recall Manitowoc school board member Dave Nickels and Meredith Sauer for issues including a district-wide mask mandate.
At least 4,004 hand-written signatures need to be gathered in 60 days.
Here at the Manitowoc Public School District board meeting where groups of families are attempting to gather over 4,000 signatures to recall two board members. pic.twitter.com/kupLIJ8AZ3— Ben Bokun (@ben_bokun) October 13, 2021
"We elect representatives to speak on behalf of the families that are enrolled in Manitowoc Public School District," Deschene said. "And it seems like only one side of the story is being listened to."
If organizers obtain enough names, another election would take place six weeks after the petition is certified.
"Our hope is to replace these school board members with candidates that will listen to the families and represent our community," Deschene said.
Sauer declined to comment on the petition against her.
But Nickels, the board's president, says he's made decisions that aren't popular with everyone.
"We were placed into this pandemic," he said. "We didn't have anything to do with it but we've had to make decisions and make tough decisions and we've made them."
The face covering requirement in Manitowoc schools was passed independently by the district's superintendent.
"The safety of our staff and our students is more important than any other issue that we deal with," Nickels said. "And I'm confident that a majority of people agree with that and they want their children to be safe."
Petition organizers say they plan to knock on doors for more signatures in the coming days. But in the meantime, Nickels has a goal of his own.
"[My hope is] the board to do what they need to do and just what's best for our students and our parents," he said.
In the district, 23 students and staff are currently out with active Covid cases. And 170 more students are currently in quarantine.