The Clarkstown Central School District superintendent resigned Tuesday after the school board in Rockland County, New York, voted to oust him over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and a controversial Black Lives Matter student presentation.
In a letter, now-former Clarkstown Central School District (CCSD) Superintendent Martin D. Cox informed the school community that he was resigning from his position due to “personal reasons,” effective Sept. 15.
Cheers could be heard from parents at the school board meeting Tuesday night, who have criticized Cox for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and a student-led Black Lives Matter presentation, lohud reported.
The BLM presentation was floated last year, but Cox eventually scrubbed the presentation and it was never shown publicly because parents complained that the slideshow was age inappropriate and anti-police.
Those in favor of the slideshow said it gave children context for events like protests around the murder of George Floyd, lohud reported. Cox was criticized by both those in support of and against the presentation, including many who said he let the situation persist until the presentation was dismissed.
The CCSD’s Board of Education also confirmed in a statement that the board appointed an acting interim superintendent in the wake of Cox’s resignation, but thanked him for his service and wished “him much success in his future endeavors.”
Without an explanation for Cox’s resignation, the school board voted 5-1 in favor of his resignation at the Tuesday night school board meeting, Bronx News 12 reported.
Cox has also been accused of allowing critical race theory (CRT) to permeate CCSD’s curriculum, lohud reported. In addition, he received criticism over the creation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force, which proponents said he failed to create soon enough, while critics said he would make the initiative biased.
CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet it teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.
CCSD was also among the first in Rockland County to enforce an indoor, fall mask mandate before New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced her requirement for schools across the state on Aug. 24, lohud reported. The mask requirement caused an Aug. 12 school board meeting to end early when the audience refused to wear masks.
Finally, Cox was condemned for his plan for COVID-19 quarantined students at an Aug. 26 school board meeting that would provide one-on-one teaching for students without virtual attendance in students’ regular classes. Parents and school board members were concerned that those students would not receive adequate instruction.
“I don’t think Marty Cox really was connected to the soul of the community and in being disconnected that turned a lot of people off to him and his policies,” parent Joe Solari told Bronx News 12.
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