School board takes action to address recent controversy

Board releases statement condemning Director Jessica Clark’s comments; removes her from committee appointments


Samantha Haney

At the Sept. 1 Board of Education meeting, Jessica Clark listens to patron comments. Most patrons spoke about comments Clark made at a Real Talk Radio event on Aug. 23.

After comments made by Rockwood Board of Education member Jessica Clark on Aug. 23 were widely circulated on social media and in the press, the Sept. 1 meeting at Marquette High School drew a large crowd of community members questioning her ability to adequately serve the district.

In response, the other six board members took three specific steps to address the concern and unwanted attention brought on the district.

Clark made the controversial statements at a Real Talk Radio event. In her comments, she can be heard talking about her role as a newly elected board member.

“I use the word ‘libtard.’ They said I was an ableist. They come in with the kids in the wheelchairs and everything. Whatever. You are a libtard and I mean it and I stand on it,” she said.

The first action taken at the meeting was the approval of a formal statement which was read and then sent out to students, parents and staff. The statement addressed community concerns and was signed by all board members, except Clark.

In part, the statement read, “The Rockwood Board of Education does not tolerate or condone hurtful and offensive language regarding disability, gender identity, sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. The Rockwood Board of Education reaffirms its commitment to creating an environment free of harassments or discrimination.”

Members of the board also voted to amend and strengthen its Code of Ethics policy.


In addition, board member Keith Kinder made a motion, which the board approved, for Clark to be removed from her board committee assignments. Clark will no longer serve on the Rockwood Wellness Committee or as a representative to the Missouri School Board Association.

“I never thought I’d be up here making this speech and I don’t want to make this speech ever again. I want you to believe in the Rockwood Board of Education as our one mission is to make sure all of your sons and daughters and our sons and daughters and granddaughters and grandsons learn to the best of their potential,” Kinder said. “If we don’t do it, we have failed. And if someone doesn’t believe that on the Board of Education, that person needs to leave.”

Clark, who remained stoic amid multiple calls for her resignation from fellow board members and patrons, said in an interview after the meeting that she believes she represents a portion of the community.

I will say this. I was elected. We failed to address the fact that there are community members that don’t feel represented. So if my presence on the board helps to make sure that parents are represented, that’s what I’m going to continue to do. I’m OK with all of this, I know where my heart is,” she said.

Continue to follow the Lancer Feed for additional coverage on the board meeting, including community response and additional details.