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BOE Member Ousted From Meet For Improper Mask Wearing

Board of Education member Pat Stanley, seen in this file photo from 2020, was forced to leave the October 21 school board meeting for refusing to properly wear her mask.

Board of Education member Pat Stanley was forced to leave the Board’s monthly meeting October 21 under the watchful eyes of township police after she refused to properly wear a face mask.

Stanley’s removal from the meeting was prompted by Board president Nancy LaCorte, who said she was simply enforcing Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order requiring the wearing of masks in school buildings. The meetings take place in the new school district complex on Route 27.

Murphy in August issued Executive Order 251, which mandates masking in all indoor school areas, with some exceptions.

The issue of Stanley not properly wearing her mask during meetings has been brewing for months.

“I have for over a year, when we met at the high school during Covid, asked Pat to properly wear her mask,” LaCorte said. “Time and time again, and other people have asked her to properly wear her mask and she’s refused.”

“Last night she took her mask off again,” LaCorte said. “It was below her chin. I asked her to put her mask back on properly and she refused. I cut her microphone to get her attention.”

Board vice president Ardaman Singh then called for a point of order and asked Stanley to put her mask on, but she still refused, LaCorte said.

Board member Ed Potosnak then asked for a 10-minute recess, which LaCorte granted, she said.

While everyone was outside, LaCorte said, she asked that Franklin Township police be called to the meeting.

“The option was comply or you can leave,” LaCorte said. “She wasn’t going to jail for not wearing a mask, she would have gotten a summons for trespassing.”

“Everyone in that audience had a mask on,” LaCorte said. “We had a full audience.”

Stanley left the meeting with the police in tow.

“My intention was never to embarrass her, my decision was never politically based, I’m an independent,” LaCorte said. “There’s an Executive Order that everyone has to follow, and you should follow the same executive order. As Board members, we‘re role models.”

Stanley declined to comment on the actual event, but she did email a statement concerning the governor’s Executive Order.

“Are ‘We The People’ obligated to follow an executive order that has no supporting medical data?’ she asked in her email. “That may even have adverse effects?  And in addition, subject even our youngest school children to wearing these masks for long periods?”

Referencing a Conservative web site’s posting questioning the medical effects of wearing masks, Stanley wrote that “The link above is JUST ONE of multitudes out there presenting supporting information that is counter the what Governor Murphy thinks.”

“I have bcc’d this response to many other BOE candidates throughout the state,” she wrote. “At some point, perhaps, we will get past politics and start looking at our reading and math scores, and pandemic or not, why year over year, there doesn’t seem to be a change for the better.”

Stanley is up for re-election on November 2.

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