The Northampton Area School District Board of Education voted 7-2 not to accept a donation of pocket-size U.S. Constitutions for eighth-grade students at Northampton Area Middle School provided by the 917 Society and distributed by Moms for Liberty, Northampton County.

The vote went against the NASD administration’s recommended action, as stated on the Dec. 5 meeting agenda, to “accept, with appreciation, the donation of the pocket-size Constitutions.”

Voting in favor of the donation were school Directors Kim Bretzik and Doug Vaughn.

Voting against the donation were school Directors Michael Baird, Chuck Frantz, David Gogel, Ross Makary, Robert Mentzell, Vice President John Becker and President James Chuss.

Some school directors reasoned accepting the donation would go against the board’s political-neutrality stance. Several audience members who spoke favored the donation.

“I have a few concerns with the donation of the pocket Constitutions,” Becker said before the vote. “Our teens already have Internet access to the Constitution. The donation is in benefit of a specific group.

“Northampton Area School District has encountered groups with political affiliations that wanted to make book donations,” Becker added. “As a board, we have maintained the decision to not be political.”

At the July 19, 2021, board meeting, directors by a consensus voice vote unanimously agreed to table the donation of books to elementary schools and NAMS from the Conscious Kids Foundation.

“We are an education, research and policy organization dedicated to equity and promoting healthy racial identity development in youth. We support organizations, families and educators in taking action to disrupt racism in kids,” the Conscious Kids website says.

The mission of the 917 Society, a Nashville, Tenn., nonprofit, is “to impress upon students the relevance and practicality gained through an understanding of the U.S. Constitution,” according to its website.

Among the ways the 917 Society fulfills its mission is “to provide every eighth-grader in the United States with a lasting, durable pocket version of the U.S. Constitution to carry with them. In 2022, the 917 Society reached into all 50 states and 1.3 million eighth-graders,” its website reported.

The Moms for Liberty, Northampton County, website lists Jennifer Simon, chapter chair; Aly Warner, vice chair; and Dineen Henderson, treasurer.

“Moms for Liberty, Northampton County, is dedicated to the survival of America by unifying, educating and empowering parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government,” according to its website.

Moms for Liberty, established in 25 states, has 78 local chapters since its inception in January 2021, according to the organization’s website.

During the school reorganization meeting, Chuss and Becker were reelected as president and vice president, respectively, by the board.

During the regular board meeting, directors voted 9-0 to approve Craig Neiman as business administrator, effective April 3, 2023, through June 30, 2028, at $160,000, prorated. Neiman, of Hanover Township, Northampton County, is chief financial officer in East Stroudsburg School District.

School directors voted 9-0 to approve Terry A. Leh as interim business administrator, effective Feb. 6, 2023, at $540 per day, with no benefits.

The NASD board voted 9-0 at its Nov. 14 meeting to approve the resignation of Matthew Sawarynski, business administrator, effective Jan. 11, 2023.

In the past, the board voted 9-0 at its Jan. 28, 2019, meeting to appoint Sawarynski, effective July 1, 2019. The board voted at its Oct. 22, 2018, meeting to accept the retirement of Leh as NASD business administrator, effective June 30, 2019.

The Act 34 hearing for the Route 329 elementary school project is 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8 in the NAMS cafeteria, 1617 Laubach Ave., Northampton.