Christine White, Johnson County pediatrician, withdraws from Blue Valley school board race

Christine White

Christine White announced on her campaign's Facebook page Thursday night that she plans to withdraw from November's Blue Valley school board election. The post said that if she happens to win, she will resign and hand over the post to a "community volunteer." White had faced scrutiny over her position on masking in public schools, which she said should be optional, until announcing a change in that stance earlier this month. Photo via Christine White for School Board Facebook page.

Christine White, a Johnson County pediatrician, announced Thursday night that she will withdraw from her race for Blue Valley school board.

In a post on her campaign’s Facebook page, White said she instead plans “to focus my time and energy on my family, my medical practice, and educating patients and their families about how to limit their exposure to COVID-19.”

I entered pediatric medicine because I wanted to make a difference in improving the overall health of a vulnerable…

Posted by Christine White for School Board on Thursday, August 26, 2021

 

White is a pediatrician with Overland Park-based Johnson County Pediatrics, an affiliate of Children’s Mercy Hospital.

For months, at county commission and school board meetings, she advocated for an easing of COVID-19 restrictions in public schools and advocated for mask-wearing to be made optional in schools.

But earlier this month, she changed her position, announcing on Facebook that masks were needed “without exception” in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools and limit children having to miss school to be in quarantine.

That post came a day after a Kansas City Star report and editorial which detailed a mask exemption White said she had secured for her teenager.

In Thursday’s announcement, White said her decision to withdraw from the school board race “was not something I felt pressured to do.”

The post continued:

“Our society has been battling a serious threat to our health and prosperity for a year and a half,” the post continued. “And that time will be extended indefinitely until we, as a society, make a concerted effort to eradicate COVID-19. It has devastated many families who have lost their loved ones, their vitality, their jobs and livelihoods.

“How to live in a pandemic has also divided communities. But we need to work together to rid COVID-19 and it’s variants from our society. And that starts with education. It is extremely important that our kids get to attend school in person, and wearing masks can ensure that occurs. That is why, with the arrival of new variants, my views on masks have changed.

“I want to be a part of collaborative efforts to educate the public that wearing masks, getting the COVID-19 vaccine when eligible, socially distancing and practicing hand hygiene all play an important role in stopping the spread.” 

It is now too late for White’s name to be removed from the ballot, but White said in Thursday’s post that if she is elected in November she will resign the office and “allow another community volunteer to serve in that capacity.”

White is running against Gina Knapp, a UMKC graduate and mother of three school-aged children, who has made a career in banking and nonprofit work.

That contest is to replace outgoing board member Stacy Obringer-Varhall.