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Why I Didn’t Quit Central Bucks School Board

Two Central Bucks Republican school board members – Lisa Sciscio and Debra Cannon – publicly, though unofficially quit. Their hypocrisy and bad example for students is just sad and unfortunate.

At the end of the school board meeting Tuesday, two sitting school board members publicly resigned after the meeting was adjourned (though they haven’t officially with letters as of publication). These two board members, Lisa Sciscio and Debra Cannon, enjoyed having the majority of the sitting board members share their perspectives for the past two years. Now, merely two months into being in the minority, they decided to quit on the community and send a poor example to Central Bucks students.

Now, to be honest, I understand this impulse. 

For the two years I served on the school board (my term ended in November), I was in the minority. 

And for two years I was disrespected, silenced, and harassed – by the previous GOP majority board – including these two board members. 

READ: Moms For Liberty Bucks County Leaders Think Public Schools Are Trying To Bring Pedophilia Into The Classrooms

During Mrs. Sciscio’s statement, she shared her personal sacrifices including family time. She said, the “stuff that was going on behind the scenes would blow your mind.” This was one of these surreal moments – I had said those same words so many times while I was on the Board. 

One example is when both Mrs. Sciscio and Mrs. Cannon read long prepared remarks in an attempt to disparage me. They were upset that I spoke at a vigil honoring those lost or hurt at the January 6th insurrection. They parroted a comment from someone in the community who said that I referred to people in our community as “far right extremists”.

READ: Three Percent Militia-Endorsed School Board Candidate Debra Cannon & Her Crusade Against “Evil” and “Demonic Adults”

This was not true and easily verified if anyone had bothered to read my comments, which were published. But, unbelievably, my two fellow board members lied about me in public. Behind the scenes I asked for an apology. They told me unequivocally that no apology was forthcoming.

It blew my mind

Or that time when the Board majority used a community member (or rather someone from outside of Central Bucks)  to take emails out of context and try to [actual threat] make me a “pariah in my community”. Behind the scenes I said, “you know he’s lying” and they said, “we all get lied about”. Mind blown, again.

I can also completely relate to Mrs. Sciscio’s lament, and opinion so many would say unfounded, that the board majority is making it difficult for her and other minority board members. I have no evidence that is true. But, it is certainly how she feels. And, Gurrrl, I hear you. After two years on the board I never got a straight answer about anything, not briefed on important legal issues, I couldn’t even get an item on an agenda. I could not even get my colleagues to answer a simple question about who wrote the library policy. 

They refused to answer. 

We later found out they were working behind the scenes with the right-wing Christian Independence Law Center, secretly drafting policies and administrative regulations.

She said, “They don’t pay me enough” to put up with this. “I can’t. I can’t.” 

Say it louder for the people in the back Mrs. Sciscio. We are volunteers. We don’t get paid at all. But, wait, you can’t

I certainly had days when I felt that way. 

During my time on the Board I took care of my family, including extended family, worked a full time job, was diagnosed and went through cancer treatment and endured constant abuse from community members and my fellow board members. There were days I said, “I can’t.” 

But then, I did. 

I did because thousands of people voted for me. Community members and students were counting on me to make sure their voice was heard. If I quit, I would be allowing uninformed and sometimes bigoted ideas to be amplified with one less person to ask questions or to offer an alternate viewpoint – isn’t that what we want after all – diversity of opinions?

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Mrs. Canon expressed concern for being individually liable for costs associated with board actions. This surprised me since the [then] board majority was relatively open about approving former superintendent Lucabaugh’s separation agreement without reading it or consulting with the district’s CFO. 

I was also surprised to hear Mrs. Cannon say the minority was not allowed to speak. “They don’t want to hear what I have to say.” This came as a particular surprise to me since I was on the dais one night when she yelled at Mrs. Smith, “What makes you think, or gives you the right to be told anything at all?” Or another night when Mrs. Sciscio tried to cut school board member Dr. Mariam Mahmoud off saying, “you’ve had your two minutes.”

Now look, I don’t condone treating anyone badly, even people who have treated me badly. And, I certainly have no idea what is happening behind the scenes right now. But, what I am observing, is two months of a mere slice of what these two inflicted on the minority when they were part of the majority.

And, I didn’t quit. I definitely thought about it. 

READ: Meet Three of the Neighbors Who United to Defend Public Education in Central Bucks School District

But, I did not want to let my constituents down. I also felt it was important to be an example for the students and teachers and staff in the district who can’t just choose to quit. These educators show up every day to learn, teach, plan, drive, repair, and support. 

They show up for our kids and for one another and so I was going to show up for them.

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Picture of Tabitha Dell'Angelo

Tabitha Dell'Angelo

Tabitha Dell'Angelo is a former school board member at Central Bucks School District. She is currently interim Dean of the School of Education and professor at The College of New Jersey and holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development from the University of Pennsylvania.

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