NYSED commissioner calls for return to civility

Posted at 5:49 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 10:21:17-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — The COVID pandemic has certainly created backlash for schools requiring protocols, with some parents and members of the public lashing out against school leaders because of mask mandates.

New York State Department of Education (NYSED) Commissioner Dr. Betty Rosa is calling for civility because children are watching all the bad behavior.

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Dr. Betty Rosa, NYSED Commissioner, in Zoom interview with WKBW's Eileen Buckley.

“Be the biggest cheerleader you can for our children,” remarked Dr. Rosa.

Commissioner Rosa says the pandemic stirred up disagreement and strong feelings on how issues were handled, so now she's calling for a return to civility.

Rosa issued a statement Tuesday stating "amidst the struggles and difficulties of the pandemic, we cannot lose sight of the fact that our children are watching and learning from our behavior."

Statement issued by NYSED commissioner.

“Instead what we're seeing is more and more acts of discriminatory, hateful acts,” Rosa noted. “We've seen what I call more of a destruction of the civility.”

Commissioner Rosa tells me in many ways COVID is challenging our ability to be civil.

“We have to get to get what I call a common agreement — what is appropriate public behavior conduct,” Rosa explained.

“A big kudos to Commissioner Rosa for having the courage to make those statements,” reacted Marck Abraham. “Commissioner Rosa is so, so on point — we've got to get back to that.”

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Marck Abraham, education consultant & author, What Success Looks Like.

Abraham, an education consultant, agrees with Rosa. He authored the book What Success Looks Like.

Abraham says he gets a lot of requests to help with diversity, inclusion and equity to help fix racial issues and tensions.

But Abraham says everyone must focus on the fact that “we are all human” and it starts in the classroom.

“I know we're tired — I know we're burnt out, but we've got to get back to that passion, which is caring for children, believing the best in them and causing them to have success. Love is the most powerful force in the universe and with that our kids will overcome any challenges that they have right now,” reflected Abraham. “We’ve got to get back loving kids.”

In schools, much of the COVID controversy is focused on mask policies.

“Would you prefer to see the masks continue to stay on in the schools even if the mask mandate is removed in New York State?” Buckley questioned.

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NYSED Commissioner Dr. Betty Rosa in a Zoom interview.

“At what point do we know we are comfortable with not necessarily depending on the masks, but right now the science tell us that we have to make sure we use a composite of all the mitigation strategies to keep our young people in our schools safe,” replied Rosa.

“Do you think that it would include a vaccine mandate, at some point, for children to attend?” Buckley asked.

“I’m not sure what's that's going to include, but I do think that — parents are going to be involved in the choice, as they currently are, until we have a legislative action, which we do not have at this point. I think we are going to continue to encourage parents to make those choices on behalf of their children,” Rosa responded.