In a wealthy suburban Philadelphia district, schools are struggling with shortages of all sorts. Behavioral problems have mushroomed. “We are in triage mode,” one teacher said.

Early in the November school board meeting, a few of the departing members made farewell remarks, talking of things that they believed still need addressing: more special education programs, mental health initiatives, a program for high school students to take college classes. There was a long list, but over the past two years other things had gotten in the way, the New York Times reports.

When the meeting opened up to public comments, there was an indication of what those other things might be. Parents and other residents took turns standing before the board, speaking about Zionism, Maoism, slavery, freedom, the Holocaust, critical race theory, the illegality of mask requirements, supposed Jewish ties to organized crime and the viral falsehood that transgender students were raping people in bathrooms.

“I fight here week after week,” one woman said, “to ensure that my children will never be subject to having their freedom taken from them.”

In the Central Bucks School District, a hot spot in the national school board wars just outside of Philadelphia, there is a striking disconnect between the crises that have consumed school board meetings for well more than a year and the emergencies that teachers, nurses, custodians, secretaries and other staff members say they are facing when they show up at school each morning.

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