HENRY COUNTY — Video showing tense moments at the Shenandoah School Corporation Board meeting is being shared on social media.
WRTV confirmed with the district's superintendent, Ron Green, the board member seen in the video, Alan Troxell, is responding to someone in the audience who called him an idiot during the meeting on Monday evening. Troxell has been on the school board for 18 years.
Green said Troxell is sorry for the outburst and knows how he handled the situation wasn't right. However, he said school board meetings have become very contentious with parents upset over mask mandates, which led to the argument caught on camera.
If parents want kids in school during the COVID-19 pandemic, mandating masks in schools is necessary, Green said. He said it was a reactionary move after more than 600 students were sent home in the first few weeks of school due to COVID-19 cases and contact tracing. There are about 1,300 students in the district.
The corporation's mask mandate was extended until January.
Green said Monday's meeting started late because there was a demonstration in the lobby by parents who did not want to wear a mask during the meeting.
On Wednesday afternoon, the school corporation released the following statement:
The incident at the SSC school board meeting last Monday evening is regrettable and Mr. Troxell is sorry for his actions. Mr. Troxell knows his actions are not representative of the expectations of the school board or SSC.
Mr. Troxell also believes his actions should not depict his long history of service to children at SSC and our community.
School board members at SSC all have long tenures and all have served the safety and educational interests of our students without fail. We ask our community as a whole to not let this incident, though inexcusable, sway their support for the work accomplished each day by all SSC staff, which includes school board members, in regards to student safety and educational attainment for all children.
There are always two (2) sides to every situation and this situation is no different. There are no excuses being made for the actions, but our school board members are tired of being called child abusers over a Mask Mandate. The SSC Mask Mandate is for the safety of everyone who enter a SSC building. Masks are the only effective tool public schools are currently granted by the State of Indiana that give us a chance to keep all students, grades PK-12, safe and in school during the public health emergency due to COVID-19. Masks have worked at SSC. SSC will continue to conduct Control Measures as prescribed by Indiana law which include contact tracing and quarantining students and adults as appropriate.
Mr.Troxell’s situation was made personal, and was elevated from the frustration the entire school board feels, when a parent chose to call Mr. Troxell an “Idiot” during the school board meeting. The behavior of the parent was unacceptable, as was Mr. Troxell’s reaction. This is not an appropriate way to address any public servant, whether you agree or disagree with their work. SSC staff are here for the students.
The SSC school board will address Mr. Troxell in regards to the incident Monday evening. Moving forward, we ask that everyone involved, school representatives and patrons/parents treat each other with dignity and respect.