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School board's holiday meeting

Union Tribune (2009-09-12) Editor

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More Info: La Mesa Spring Valley School Board

Union-Tribune Editorial

School board's holiday meeting

2:00 a.m. September 12, 2009

EAST COUNTY — Mark Twain had some choice words about them: “In the first place, God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made school boards.”

It's not certifiable that the La Mesa/Spring Valley board members — Penny Halgren, Bob Duff and Rick Winet, the majority, or Emma Turner and Bill Baber, the minority — are idiots, but they sure left themselves open to second-guessing.

The board held an emergency meeting at 3 p.m. Labor Day to discuss whether the elementary and middle school students in their charge should be allowed to hear President Barack Obama's national broadcast. They voted 3-2 not to allow it and to send out an automated phone message to inform parents of their censorship.

As we mentioned in an editorial days before the broadcast, we felt it was a bad idea. Not because of the content, but because of the imperial overtones of a president having a captive audience and because the first day of school is hectic enough already. We felt most schools were handling the issue well by giving parents the choice to opt out.

Surprisingly, La Mesa/Spring Valley board members made the decision themselves. First, the timing: Was this really an emergency? Did anyone know about the meeting? Did the district verify that a member of every accredited media organization so requesting actually was aware of the meeting 24 hours in advance as required by state law? Hmmn.

Ami Adkins of El Cajon, parent of an eighth-grader, is unhappy. “Just to put this into context,” she wrote us, “two weeks ago my daughter was taken out of class during school (without my permission) to attend a district-sanctioned sales presentation given by a private corporation, where she was strongly ‘encouraged’ to sell cheap and useless junk (crap) from a magazine in order to pad the school's budget.”

So yes, we were not enthusiastic about the poorly timed broadcast. Neither do we support government censorship decided in a near-empty room on a holiday.

Dunce caps for the electeds do seem in order.

Topic revision: r1 - 16 Sep 2009, RaymondLutz
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