Several school superintendents throughout the Capital Region have received anonymous letters condemning district actions surrounding masking guidelines and any vaccine mandates.
“I can confirm that a number of the superintendents in our BOCES region did receive letters in red envelopes,” said Adrienne Leon, the director of communications and public relations for the Capital Region BOCES, which supports 24 districts in the area. “The content of the letters addresses masking and vaccine requirements. It appears that all of the letters were sent from outside of the region.”
The letters Mohonasen Central School District Superintendent Shannon Shine received were postmarked from Owego. He said he received nine, almost identical, letters.
The letter dated Nov. 18 is signed only by a “concerned parent” and lays out why this person doesn’t believe the school district should be enforcing masks or any sort of vaccine mandates.
“Forcing a child to wear a mask for six or more hours a day is not only unnecessary, it is abusive,” the letter states.
The person goes on to say they are against any vaccine mandates and will remove their child from the district if one is implemented.
“Parents, and ONLY parents, should determine what medical treatments and medicines should be given to their children,” the letter states. “Our children are NOT your experimental tools.”
The letter also states that mask and vaccine mandates are illegal and enforcing them is a violation of the Nuremberg Code, which noted ethical guidelines related to human experimentation following World War II trials.
Leon did not indicate which superintendents received the letters or when they received them.
Duanesburg Superintendent James Niedermeier wrote on Twitter he had received 10 letters:
“Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think sending superintendents across the state scary red envelopes containing anonymous letters in which you compare them to Nazi war criminals is a very productive way to begin a dialogue. Nevertheless, I got ten of them yesterday.”
While the New York State Council of School Superintendents hadn’t heard of superintendents across the state receiving these letters, the letters highlight the recent increased tension between school districts and communities lately for their COVID protocols, said Robert Lowry, the deputy director for advocacy, research and communications for the council.
Shine said he doesn’t give much credence to the letters though.
“Typically when folks have strongly held beliefs they are willing to put their name out there along with their statements,” Shine said.