EUREKA, Mo. – Parents and officials in the Rockwood School District are demanding an apology after a school board member is accused of making hateful statements in a video posted on social media.
Dozens are expected to attend the Rockwood School District board meeting on Thursday. Some parents and organizations in the district said they are outraged after school board member Jessica Clark made several statements at an event last month.
The Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis (DSAGSL) said the comments were hurtful toward members of the disability community and members of the LGBTQA+ community.
The Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis released the following statement:
“They celebrate the lives of all individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities. We believe that all individuals with disabilities should have the opportunity to reach their full potential in safe, welcoming, inclusive communities. We also stand by the educators who have dedicated their lives to teaching our children in loving, safe schools. Ms. Clark’s appalling rhetoric is an attack on the diverse communities that make our region so rich and full. Her statements and her lack of remorse or accountability actively create a fearful and divided community for ALL children and ALL families. It cannot be ignored or tolerated.”
Rockwood School District also issued a statement about the incident:
“The Rockwood School District is committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment where students of all backgrounds feel included and respected. That is our responsibility as educators, and we owe that to the families who entrust us with the education and safety of their children every day.
Intolerance and disrespect have no place in our schools or on our campuses, as it goes against our core values and mission to provide outstanding opportunities for all students. Director Clark’s views are her own and should not be construed as those of the Rockwood School District or as a reflection on any district staff or other board member. She is an elected official, and as district employees, we have a responsibility to work with the seven elected officials on the Board of Education. Members of the board have expressed to Director Clark that her disparaging remarks have a harmful impact on our students and families and that her views reflect poorly on the district and the more than 4,000 Rockwood employees who are committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all students.”
The video of the speech has been shared numerous times on different social media platforms.
FOX 2 has decided not to share the video because we do not own the rights to it. We reached out to Clark for comment but we have not heard back.