A former St. Charles school board member who resigned this week said she had been harassed for about a year by a group of people upset by her take on face-to-face learning, mask requirements and other issues.
Carolyn Waibel resigned from St. Charles Unit District 303 School Board after Tuesday’s meeting. She cited harassment by community members as the reason.
âI think I was targeted from the start,â Waibel said on Friday. “But it really started when we started to meet face-to-face again. It went from problem to problem.”
Waibel said the harassment started in fall 2020 during an ongoing debate about in-person learning. Waibel said the reasons for the harassment evolved to include issues with diversity training, wearing masks, quarantine requirements for students, and COVID-19 vaccination warrants for teachers.
Waibel said the harassment continued even after he resigned. She said the attacks on social media continued and, thanks to footage from security cameras, she noticed unknown cars pulling up in front of her house.
âI still don’t feel safe,â she said. “They’re relentless. It has nothing to do with being on the board anymore. I don’t necessarily feel safer off the board now.”
The situation came to a head during a board meeting on Tuesday evening. She spoke to the school board about the types of harassment she alleges.
In addition to the email and social media attacks, Waibel said people followed her and a video recorded her at a grocery store. She said they also left dead animals in her driveway, broke into her home and vandalized her car.
Waibel said she has asked the school district to take additional measures to protect board members, similar to what she says other school districts are providing. While an undercover police officer attends District 303 meetings, Waibel said the district could do more.
According to Waibel, other districts do not publish personal contact details of board members on district websites and park many police officers at meetings. In addition, she said other school districts have excluded disruptive members of the community from meetings and banned them when they make threats.
Waibel submitted his resignation letter after Tuesday’s meeting. The letter did not explain why she had quit.
School board president Jillian Barker confirmed that community members were unhappy with many issues, including masking and vaccines. But she couldn’t say if these issues were related to the harassment allegations.
âAre they connected? It’s hard to say,â Barker said. âThere are a number of issues driving this. “
St. Charles Police confirmed on Friday that Waibel filed five police reports: one in March for stealing a political sign, one in August for trespassing, two for suspicious incidents in August and September, and one report. information on an unspecified problem in August. .
None resulted in any arrests, citations or criminal charges.
Police declined to provide details, saying state law prohibited them from doing so without Waibel’s permission.
Waibel was first elected to District 303 School Board in 2017 and was re-elected this spring.