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WALKER: Emails Show Central Bucks COVID Closures Work of Teachers’ Union

During the summer of 2020, I was told by numerous people that the PSEA had absolutely no influence over the decision on whether to open schools in Bucks County for the start of the 2020/2021 school year. Two years later and several thousand emails obtained via the Right-to-Know requests, I have learned that was a lie. I have also realized that the people who kept schools closed were either scared of COVID or scared of the PSEA.

That is just the beginning of the story I will tell about why it was so hard to get children back into school in our area. Keep in mind Bucks County had more kids attend in-person education than surrounding counties, thanks to our health director and the parents and board directors who fought to make it happen.

Central Bucks School District is the largest suburban school district in Pennsylvania. Up until July 17, 2020, former Supt. Dr. John Kopicki had been telling parents that school would open for a full five days per week. On July 17 he tried to change the law regarding how children are educated in Pennsylvania. Without board approval, he made the unilateral decision to switch the entire district of 18,000 students to “hybrid” education.

In announcing his decision, Kopicki lied to parents about what the state guidelines actually were.  Then he had district employees incorrectly measure desks from edge to edge rather than from center to center, which is what county health director Dr. David Damsker advocated that would have allowed schools to open normally.

Because of Kopicki, kids could only attend school two days per week. Secondary students weren’t even allowed to eat lunch in school.

Now we know that he kept kids out of school because of pressure from PSEA Mideastern Regional President Bill Senavaitis. Instead of preparing his classrooms for the upcoming school year, Senavaitis went on an unprecedented assault against Damsker, who was giving parents hope that children could have a relatively normal school year.

Senavaitis spent his time writing op-eds bashing our health department and asking Bucks County citizens to tell a board-certified public health doctor to change his health guidance in order to align with what the PSEA wanted–not what was best for children.

From emails, we learned he attacked Bucks County Health Director Damsker with a flurry of personal attacks so repulsive that Bucks County Commissioner Bob Harvie chided him for it. Later, he went as far as calling parents “jerks” in his PSEA newsletter. On August 6, 2020, he got the PSEA state president to send a letter to Bucks County commissioners pressuring them to force Damsker to change his guidance so that kids could be kept out of school. But Damsker never changed his guidance.

Bill Senavaitis left his position as president of the PSEA Mideastern Region when the truth came out. But now that time has passed the PSEA feels it’s safe to promote him again so that he can be in the same position when the next crisis occurs. Is this the type of leadership the PSEA wants to represent its organization? Is this the type of organization politicians want endorsing them?

Now, two years later, we know Damsker was correct about learning loss, distancing, and treating COVID like the flu. Senavaitis was wrong about everything concerning COVID. His op-ed titled “David Damsker’s remarks about 3-foot social distancing in schools are harmful,” is a personal and professional humiliation for him. We need to ask why he is back in the leadership role in the PSEA.

The PSEA under Senavaitis’ leadership advocated for thousands of children to be kept from school—catering to the unions’ agenda, not the children’s. That speaks volumes about the PSEA and should make every citizen and especially parents wonder what type of organization is influencing our district administrators, our school board, and our kids. All the emails and documents backing up my opinions can be found  here.

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Report: Bucks County Dem Operative Overrode Top Doc’s COVID Guidance

When Bucks County schools ignored its top doctor and imposed strict COVID-19 rules on students last year, parents wanted to know why. What they found, according to a new report, was a trail that leads back to a longtime Democratic operative currently embedded in county government.

Bucks County Republicans now want him gone.

National Review first reported the story of parents trying to find out why the county’s school districts fell in line with state Department of Health guidance and rejected the independent opinion of Dr. David Damsker, the county’s health department director. Damsker proposed more parent-friendly, less-restrictive guidelines for the county’s schools. But his recommendations were overridden, replaced with stricter state guidelines for masking, quarantines, and vaccinations.

Parents who opposed the more restrictive approach, including Megan Brock, Jamie Walker, and Josh Hogan, wanted to find out how the August 23, 2021 decision was made. So they filed right-to-know requests. Bucks County responded by filing two lawsuits against each woman in Common Pleas Court to avoid turning over the materials.

But the parents discovered using computer metadata that the August 23 guidance did not, as county official claimed, come from Damsker, “but was instead written on the computer of Eric Nagy, the county’s director of policy and communications,” Ryan Mills of National Review reports.

Nagy is a longtime party functionary who has served as a Democratic committeeman and has a long history of working on Democratic campaigns, including those of Bucks County Commissioners Diane Ellis-Marseglia and Chair Bob Havie. According to his LinkedIn page, Nagy’s specialties are political organization and campaign management.

He is now on the county payroll in the communications department, according to James T. O’Malley, a spokesman for Bucks County.

“In his role with the county, Mr. Nagy is responsible for, and routinely involved with, reviewing and disseminating information to the public,” O’Malley said. Placing campaign aides in government communication departments is common practice in politics.

According to National Review’s reporting, the Wolf administration pressured local counties and school districts to comply with its COVID rules, instead of those recommended by local authorities, such as Damsker.

Neither Nagy nor Damsker responded to requests for comment from DVJournal.

Bucks County GOP Chair Pat Poprik called the new revelations “troubling, but not surprising.” She says Republicans warned against hiring Nagy and, in the wake of these revelations, he needs to resign.

“In February 2020, we raised serious concerns about the hiring of a purely partisan political operative to serve as a ‘special projects coordinator,’ earning an $83,000 annual taxpayer-funded salary,” Poprik said.

“We believed then, as we do now, that the Democrat majority on the Board of Commissioners would use this newly-created position to advance their political agenda rather than serve the people of Bucks County. It was even more troubling when Mr. Nagy received a promotion and pay bump, putting him in charge of all County communications.”

Poprik said the available evidence “represents a significant overreach by a political operative, and a violation of the trust voters have in our county government.”

“Mr. Nagy should resign, and the Democrat commissioners should drop their lawsuits against Megan Brock and Jamie Walker and release the documents requested by their Right to Know Requests.  To do any less would be a disservice to Bucks County families,” Poprik added.


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