Editor, The Cheshire Herald:
We were shocked and angered to see a post by Cheshire Board of Education President Tony Perugini in a Cheshire Facebook group sharing views that contradict recommendations from health experts about the coronavirus and our current public health crisis. Perugini copied a statement from rock musician Ted Nugent.
Quotes that Tony shared include “I’m not wearing a mask,” “I’m not staying six feet from you,” “You believe the made-up death numbers,” and “We’re not all in this together.” These statements violate all public health recommendations that have been shared with us including national and local experts like our Chesprocott health officials.
Perugini’s post was followed by comments that contained additional misinformation.
We need to listen to experts, not share divisive commentary that encourages the spread of false information.
The post went on to criticize those who are concerned about transmission of the virus, and suggested we “cover your whole body in tin foil,” mocking the very people who elected him to this position.
This is not the type of leadership the Cheshire School system needs during this pandemic. The families of Cheshire want to know that students will be safe when they return to school. Students, staff and teachers that are compromised want to feel that everything possible has been done to keep them safe. They do not want to hear personally divisive views and conspiracy theories.
We need to act upon the science, not put virus-deniers in positions that could negatively impact public health. If Mr. Perugini truly believes these statements, he is woefully inadequate to lead the school system toward reopening.
As a parent, taxpayer and teacher, we call for Tony Perugini to do more than the public statement he made at the Board of Education meeting. If he is to lead any vote about the opening and safety of Cheshire Public Schools in the fall, he must provide timely solutions to meet the needs of all school families. If he cannot do so in a genuine, thoughtful way, then he should recuse himself from any involvement in the reopening of our schools.