Dr. Donna Marino, president of the SD308 board of education, sent a note of resignation to the Oswego Community Unit School District 308 board of education on Feb. 14, 2022.

According to a press release from the district, Marino’s decision to resign was “a very difficult decision, but necessary for the wellbeing of herself and her family.”

Marino’s resignation came three days after the last board meeting, one she was not present at. The meeting’s public comment section featured harsh backlash from members of the community due to the board’s response to the temporary restraining order by keeping the district safety plan.

“I have had the safety of myself and my family threatened.”

– Dr. Donna Marino

Members of the community sent the board and Dr. Marino threatening messages after the board’s decision to uphold the safety plan. 

Dr. Marino declined to comment on her resignation for this article, but she previously announced her resignation in a Facebook post, where she shared she was called “a worthless coward, F-n scum, a low IQ knuckle dragger, and worse.” She added that she ran on the platform “Mental Health Matters,” and after scrutiny, she “had to choose her physical, mental, and emotional health of herself and family over service to our community.”

According to emails released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request on Feb. 8, Dr. Marino contacted Lori Grant, the Director of Field Services at Illinois Association of School Boards, to express what she called “madness” in the community over uproar of the temporary restraining order of the masking mandate in schools. 

“What else can I do to keep myself, my family, and my fellow board members and administrators safe?” Marino asked in the email.

The harassment directed toward school board members across the country is nothing new, with meetings of the past few years often devolving into arguments between parents and board members regarding mask policies in schools and COVID-19 protocols. 

Allison Pratt, a six-year board member of a school district in Arizona, told the Chicago Tribune that parents have developed an “inherent distrust for school boards, that there’s some notion that we are out to indoctrinate children or to undermine parents or things like that.” 

In her year as a member, Marino was known for her action on social-emotional support, student voice, equity and inclusion.

The current replacement for Dr. Marino is Latonya Simelton, who was the board’s vice president. The next board meeting is scheduled to take place Feb. 28.

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Hello, my name is Brady Monahan, and I am a Senior at Oswego High School. This is my second year of being part of the 42Fifty staff and I am enjoying my new role as Editor-in-Chief. I'm part of the Oswego Boys Varsity Golf team and look to possibly pursue golf in college. Other than sports, I love being outdoors and spending time with family and friends!