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Board of Ed. Overreach Continues in Francis Howell

Updated: Jul 10

Last March, we shared a list of overreaching actions from our board majority since the 2023 election. (You can view that list below.)

Now the BOE is suggesting over a dozen changes to policy and regulation. The bulk of these changes expand the authority of the FHSD5 while limiting academic freedom and stakeholder voice. Some concerning changes are pictured here. For more details on the changes and for suggestions on possible actions you can take, follow FHForward on Facebook, where we have two posts providing a summary of all changes.


Policy 6310

Also Policy 6310


May: 5-2 rejection of recommended Math resource adoption for elementary, leaving kids to use a 10 yr-old resource.

June: Dir Cook debuts policy to require the display of an American flag to be no less than 18" in each classroom. The policy is approved 5-2.

July: The board votes 5-2 to Rescind the Resolution Against Racism. 

September: Director Cook caused mass chaos when he took to social media (instead of consulting district leaders), exaggerating a data privacy concern. His concerns were quickly addressed by the administration, and a change in op-out procedures were implemented soon after.

October: Director Cook jumped to policy again when he heard a teacher encouraged a student to speak at a board meeting. His amendment to an existing policy around teacher activism is accepted in a 5-2 vote. Director Puzskar proposed a bathroom policy, mandating students only use the bathroom on their birth certificate. The policy vaguely alludes to cat litter disposal in toilets.

November: Director Bertrand proposed a policy for FHSD to recognize Victims of Communism Day; the policy would require FHSD to adopt a curriculum funded and supported by members of the highly conservative Heritage Foundation, which advocates for private school vouchers. the policy is not revisited on the December agenda.

December: With only 24 hours notice and another 5-2 split, the board rescinded approval of SPLC standards, essentially requiring Black Lit/History Courses to be rewritten before the 2024-2025 school year. An amendment from Director Lange, giving the district time to revise the curriculum, is rejected 5-2. Director Stiglich says, "It's a dark day for Francis Howell."


January Following backlash, the BOE departs from policy, allowing student to enroll in the Black History and Literature courses while the district to rewrites the curriculum at the board's request. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, the FHSD5 insist that they never intended to remove the courses.

April The FHSD5 end funding for BrainPop, a popular resource for teachers found in dozens of approved FHSD programming.

June Directors Cook, Bertrand (VP and President of the board, respectfully), and Harmon propose over a dozen changes to policy and regulation, significantly expanding board authority. The changes limiting teacher expression, student autonomy, and parent discretion.

What can you do?

  1. CONTACT board members to let them know your feelings on their actions and these changes. Ask them to VOTE NO on all policy and regulation changes!

2. DONATE to help us replace the partisan actors on our BOE with nonpartisan

community leaders!

3. VOTE in the next election: April 2025.

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