Keep it civil at school board meetings, with teachers

Mask requirements.

Critical Race Theory.

“Don’t say Gay.”

There was a time not too long ago when controversial topics at a school board meeting were limited to a favorite teacher/administrator/coach not having a contract renewed, dress codes or a an allegedly biased coach.

Those were the days.

Nationwide, school board meetings have transformed into political arenas, featuring emotionally charged combatants displaying levels of rage you’d associate with Roman gladiators.

As expected, school boards are thusly reacting by enacting various measures that ultimately are designed to reduce and restrain parents from being able to engage in meaningful dialogue, and sometimes criticize their elected officials. Some of those self-created “requirements” have included submitting questions/comments for review prior to the meeting, stating your home address, and general “no criticism” edicts.

Or the worse of all scenarios, no public comment.

Let’s be clear: school boards answer to the public. It’s the public that elects and empowers them, and it’s the public they represent.

With that said, it is time to stop treating the school board and all education officials as the enemy. They aren’t.

There are teachers today on the verge of retirement who when they started their career in the late 1970s, accepted a position that carried a high level of respect not only with students but their parents and the community as well.

Today they deal with parents who want cameras installed in their class room, not because of anything they or any of their direct peers did, but just because of isolated stories sensationalized for additional clicks that may even not be true.

Naturally, that distrust has permeated into the meetings of the individuals who ultimately are in charge. And it has manifested into red-faced parents, police presence, and even petitions demanding school board members agree to certain beliefs.

Let’s be clear: parents should know what is being taught to their children. And that starts by talking to your children about what they are learning in school, helping them with their homework, and simply talking to their teacher (who likely will be quite open and willing to answer all questions.)

And if there are questions or concerns about the curriculum, or any other part of their child’s education, parents should absolutely feel welcome to come voice those concerns to the people they elected.

But we have to lose this hostility that all too frequently accompanies that exchange. School board members volunteer their time, and it’s a lot of it, to a job that receives very little thanks. If you want to give them grief because the teachers they hire are doing a bad job in terms of teaching something they shouldn’t, that’s fine. Give them some grief. Criticize them. Tell them they are wrong.

Just be civil about it. Keep your emotions in check. And if you can’t … leave.

Ultimately, if the school board doesn’t react the way you want, they can be replaced. It might take a couple years but they will come up for re-election, and chances are, a lot of them aren’t going to want to do this job anymore anyway.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper?

Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today