School board silencing public comments

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Letter in the Daily Local News 6/26/13

The present state of affairs in the West Chester community reminds me of an earlier period in American history in which tyranny flourished and common sense was thrown to the wind along with elected officials’ obligation to those who elected them.

The majority of the school board members have used their power to curtail public comment, to bully school employees and students via e-mail communication, to grossly misrepresent the district’s state of financial health and the negotiating process with the teacher union, to use tax dollars to pay a lawyer an obscene amount of money to negotiate contracts, to falsely present to be an advocate of public education while working to advance charter school legislation and voucher programs, to continue to associate with extreme groups who represent their agenda, to brazenly campaign in a 55-plus adult community for the purpose of planting the seeds of generation warfare, to refuse to adopt a ward-based election system like neighboring districts have. In short, this school board has done everything it could possibly do to confound the democratic process.

If this list sounds slightly familiar, it should. This list is very much like the list of grievances found in the Declaration of Independence. How ironic that at the Rustin High School graduation a school board member asked that the graduating seniors do their summer homework and read both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. It is ironic for two reasons. First, it is ironic because the students in the West Chester Area School District have read the Declaration of Independence in eighth grade and spent their senior year studying both documents in their American government class. Wouldn’t you think that a school board member would know the curriculum in the district they are supposed to represent?

The second reason her statement is ironic is because the catalog of abuses that the Declaration contains and necessitated our break from England were the result of pompous, out-of-touch windbags with little regard for those they were supposed to represent. If reading the Declaration aids in the realization that we in the WCASD have been hoodwinked by ideologues intent on furthering some party ideology rather than educating out children, then I second the assignment.

The patriots of years past saw the inevitability of destruction in the path of British policies toward “the colonies.” They pledged their lives, their liberty, and their sacred honor to bring an end to the tyranny of England. Because of their heroics, we can also stand up to tyranny. The difference is that today we can use the ballot box. I, for one, look forward to the day when we send them packing and return to the business of educating our children.

Greyson W. Smith
West Chester