For months, parents and school boards have been fighting over everything from mask mandates to bringing Critical Race Theory into schools. It was recently reported that Dr. Martin Cox, the superintendent at Clarkstown Central School, resigned citing “personal reasons” and that the school board quickly voted 5 to 1 in support of his resignation. It was reported that Cox was even allowed to resign instead of being fired. The community, however, was not given an explanation for his resignation in the first place.
“I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign from the position of Superintendent of Schools in the Clarkstown Central School District, effective September 15 for personal reasons,” Cox wrote in a Sept. 10 letter addressed to the Clarkstown school community.
The school board released a statement saying they anticipate a new superintendent to take place in the 2022-2023 academic year. Cox isn’t even mentioned until the fourth paragraph of the letter where they thanked Cox for his service to the Clarkstown Central School District over the last five years and said they wish him “much success” in his future endeavors.
According to the New York State Department of Education Data, Cox’s salary for the school year was $269,038. The base pay in this position is normally an average of $209,338 but Board President Walter Litvak excused the extra compensation due to the fact that he was acting superintendent. Specific information could not be made available as to what that means in regards to his pay. To many school parents, Cox failed as a teacher and radicalized the education system through his “inclusive lessons.”
Dr. Cox was seen as an anti-justice and anti-police advocate but drew a great deal of attention to himself over the last year in how he handled a student-led presentation about Black Lives Matter, mask mandates, and a plan for meeting the “educational needs” of quarantined students. He ended up scrapping one of the student presentations at Felix Festa Middle School after getting criticism from parents over it.
The presentation was a part of an Anti-Defamation League program called “No Place for Hate,” which was a series created by eighth-graders to show sixth-graders context for current events, including the murder of George Floyd and the coverage of several protests in Rockland.
Dr. Cox even tried to organize a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force. The task force would address diversity and inclusion through adopting equity and inclusion policies. Parents pushed back against the concept of the task force, adding that Cox would find a way to “skew it.” He was also criticized for his views on face masks, especially since the district was among the first in Rockland to announce an indoor mask mandate. During the Aug. 26 school board meeting, speaker Peter Bradley of Congers referred to the student-led BLM presentation as a “scheme going on” and that nothing short of Cox’s termination would suffice. He has tried to push for virtual instructions for students in COVID-19 quarantine and put a plan in place that would keep students at home. Board members and most in the audience rejected the idea.
One parent, Joe Solari, even says that they are concerned about Cox’s COVID-19 mandates and bringing Critical Race Theory into the school’s curriculum. “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,” Solari said.
Journalist Christopher Rufo even suggested a source told him that parents banded together, filed FOIA requests, and pressed the board to oust him. While we may not get all of the answers on Cox’s resignation, at least there’s one less ‘woke’ school board official ruining the educational experience and dividing the classroom. Parents have had enough.
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