Never been more unified

Dear Editor:

Our Peaster community has never been more unified. I say that as an active board member of the groundbreaking Stop Involuntary Annexation group that originated in this area and had tremendous community support. Our schools are stronger than I’ve personally ever seen them. As a community member for the last 15 years, a parent of three PISD students, and part of the admin team of our largest Peaster Community Facebook group, I can say that there is overwhelming support for Peaster ISD and Mr. Johnson. I would actually say that the process in which the Powers made their complaints actually strengthened our community and solidified our support of Mr. Johnson. Community members are placing stickers on their car windows and purchasing shirts that show their support for Mr. Johnson. Many people in the community even changed their Facebook profile to an #IStandWithMrJohnson graphic.

The community overwhelmingly responded to a district survey this summer that they would not send their children to school if they were mandated to wear masks. Based on this information, the PISD Board of Education voted to not mandate masks. The media attention has been focused on Mr. Johnson’s personal beliefs but he made this decision (and was supported by the board) based on the community response. His focus was on making sure that a large majority of kids would continue learning in the most effective environment (i.e. on campus) which would not have happened if masks were mandated (according to the survey).

I only believe it is fair to acknowledge that I fully support wearing masks to prevent Covid 19 spread. I wear one every day to work, to stores, and to my children’s athletic events at school. I am often part of a small minority in the audience of PISD events wearing masks. I even wore a mask at a recent planning committee meeting where Mr. Johnson was in attendance. He never encouraged me to take off my mask or tried to convince me that I shouldn’t have it on. My choice to wear a mask did not divide me from the group whatsoever. I participated just as I would have pre-Covid. While Mr. Johnson and I share different views on masks, I am thankful for his leadership as a superintendent. He has been a magnificent asset to our school community and he is much more than this one issue. As I wrote to Mr. Powers on his since deleted post in our community Facebook group, we can have our own opinions on masks. My kids will continue to go to in-person school and participate in athletic events because it has been so good for them to have those academic, physical, and social experiences. I will continue being the parent cheering them on — wearing my mask — with complete gratitude for Mr. Johnson’s leadership. It is my sincere hope that he will be here for many years to come.

Courtney Butler


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