September 21, 21 School Board Meeting


A school board meeting is a formal event where school board members come together to hear the concerns of parents and school employees, and to vote on rule changes. During a school board meeting if someone is on the stand, they are only allowed to discuss topics related to schools, their staff, and how they operate. If someone veers away from this topic, disrespects the governor or school board members, or does not show up; your time can be cut short or skipped. If you are very offensive you can be forcefully removed, and your mic will get turned off till it is the next person’s turn. 


The meeting began with Shirley Brown explaining how to address the school board when it comes time for the citizens’ hearing. Then the student representative, Kai Okamoto was introduced. Kai Okamoto is from Riverview high; he is part of the band program there. Shirley Brown started to discuss the Civility Squad character-trait for September, acceptance. When asked about accepting Kai Okamoto said, “Our diversity is who we are.” Dr. Asplen started the introduction to the arts awards and recognition presentation, presented by Steve Cantees and Jakie Henson. Steve and Jakie wanted to congratulate Julie King and Angela Heart Vixen on their very exceptional work. The next segment was congratulating Brooker Middle School for becoming an art honor exemplary school, and in 2025 Brooker Middle School will be the first ever middle school to host the network conference. 

  First lady Casey De Santis invited students to participate in the 2021 Hispanic Heritage month academic creative contest. K-3 can participate in an art contest and 4-12 participate in an essay contest to win a full scholarship. Speaking about the pandemic, on 9-20 the covid rate was 7.37%, less then 8. If it was below 8 for 3 days, the mandate stating masks are mandatory will go away. After it is not mandatory, if the case rate goes above 10%, it will be mandatory again. The board played a video of all o the summer projects going on. Majority of it was lots of remodeling and construction through the district. Shirley Brown volunteered to stay after the meeting to answer any questions. 

In the portion of the citizen hearing was very unforgettable. A wide range of topics were discussed like COVID-19, mask policies, depressing teens, the governor, and the board members. Cheyenne Tidwell presented information about masks making the youth sicker because of the bacteria they hold and requested the mask mandate be removed. Jason Verher was forcibly removed after verbally attacking the school board members. Amanda Larkin addressed how her 5-year-old daughter was treated at school for not wearing a mask. Eric Cocks addressed the mask mandate, claiming it would have a negative effect on teens mental health and requested for the school board to remove the rule. Ronald Springmen was removed for disrespecting the governor. Jennifer Cotval very politely asked Shirley Brown to stop having so many people removed for using strong language and disagreeing with her opinion. The school board meeting was very eventful, and informative. If someone what to be deeply involved in the school’s policy and changing rules they should start with watching or going to school board meetings. 

Regarding the Construction update, Sarasota County is currently undergoing construction efforts in order to meet the demand of the arrival of new families in the growing cities and towns. Over the summer, renovations were made to classrooms and the parking lots such as at Oak Park, and a new carpet was placed in McIntosh Middle and Ashton Elementary. The district’s main offices at the Landings are currently under construction as well. While renovations help improve the school environment, new security measures are also included in the current construction efforts. These measures were said to mirror the changes made in 2018. The improvements were necessary in order to ensure that the facilities in the district are safe and meet the needs of everyone in the county.  

The meeting was able to mention the Strategic plan, the year at a glance, student progression plan, and the math adoption timeline in addition to the hearing of citizens. 


The board is now letting every speaker voice their concerns or issues. Each person gets 3 minuets to talk. Barbra Von decided she wanted to come on and pray for everyone. She says “Father god I come to you today praying for the children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and all of the students in Sarasota County. Lord Jesus protect them, guard them, and guide them for those who would mistreat them who have ideas that are so far from you lord.” Two other people who spoke have already cursed at the board members about the mask mandate. After everyone speaks, the board votes for new things coming to Sarasota. 

Sarasota County School Board always meets every other Tuesday to discuss concerns regarding the community. For additional resource please follow the link provided below: