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Vinton Today contacted each of the Vinton-Shellburg candidates for the school board asking them to share a bit about themselves and their experience. I also asked the candidates to address a couple of issues that they could face over the length of their term. The first was concerning a statement that the United States Attorney General Merrick Garland issued concerning threats and intimidation of School Board members. (A copy will be included below.) I specifically asked what each candidate thought should merit a call to the FBI. Secondly on the issue of COVID, the risk and prevention I asked them to address their thoughts about mask-wearing and their feelings about mandating a vaccine for school-aged children. Their responses are below.

My name is Braxton Morrison. I grew up in Vinton and graduated from Vinton-Shellsburg High School in 2010. I reside in Vinton with my brother and sister both of whom attend Vinton-Shellsburg Middle School. We enjoy nearly anything fitness-related and spending time with our family and dogs (Niko and Oliver).

My experience and background is very diverse which I believe will be of great benefit. Since graduating in 2010 from Vinton-Shellsburg High School, I have served in the United States Army and was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, obtained certifications and licensure in the areas of paramedicine, law enforcement, and education of various types which I have conducted through my personal training company, the high school, and collegiate level. I actively serve in roles to support each of the above areas. This background gives me unique insight, experience, and knowledge of not only children and how school districts operate, but also research and firsthand experience into their safety and mental health.

I have obtained an Associate of Applied Science degree in Emergency Medical Services from Hawkeye Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Upper Iowa University, a Master of Science in Emergency Management with an emphasis in Public Management and Leadership from Walden University, where I also obtained my Executive Leadership Certification through the National Society of Leadership and Success, and am currently a doctoral student in Human Services with an emphasis in Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention at Walden University.

Current involvements include National Registry of EMTs Board of Directors At-Large Director, Benton County Critical Incident Stress Management Team Co-Founder, President, and Coordinator, Benton County Emergency Medical Services Association Vice-President, Benton County Disaster Recovery Coalition Co-Chair, Benton County Above the Influence Coalition, Benton County Medical Examiner Investigator, and newly elected President of the Student Veterans Association - Walden University Chapter, and Volunteer Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Middle School program. In addition, I am an avid supporter, advocate, and trainer of the Stop the Bleed program of which you may know from my idea of having bleeding control kits placed in all VSCSD schools.

Why am I interested and masking/vaccination

I have chosen to run for the VSCSD School Board because I believe the world is entering a slippery slope regarding how government and officials are mandating certain things, I feel they have no business mandating. The health and wellness of our students should be left up to each individual family unless certain circumstances apply to where the district needs to or must intervene. If we are going to begin mandating health measures as a district, there are much more pressing issues that have been affecting children's (and everyone's) health for years that we could begin with before debating on other issues. With that being said, I have a vested interest in the district and community being a parent, resident, and graduate. Since deciding to run, I have had meetings with current board members and my interest has been sparked in many other areas of the board such as the Wellness Committee, understanding district finances, school safety, and being an active part in continuing to keep our wonderful district healthy and growing.

Greatest Issues & Challenges

In the coming year I see the biggest challenge continuing to be COVID-19. Due to the potential mandates the federal government is potentially implementing, they will trickle down to the state and local level. As a district, we need to do everything we can to keep our students safe and healthy but remember the power of these children's health lies ultimately with the parents and caregivers of those children.

Threat Assessment Question

I feel anything a local police department, county sheriff's office, or state law enforcement agency feels they are unequipped to handle, whether that be resources, information, or personnel, a call to the FBI is warranted. If a threat is deemed serious appropriate action should be taken.

I am committed to assuring the district provides a safe and healthy environment for our children to continue to learn in but while parents maintain the power over their children that they should.

Thank you for your consideration!

Braxton Morrison

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