You are here: Cops>Common Web>NewsMedia>M844 (17 Sep 2009, RaymondLutz)Edit Attach

Share Button

A school board polarized by politics

Union Tribune (2009-09-17) Don Sevrens

This Page:
Media Link:
More Info: La Mesa Spring Valley School Board, Local Politics

Union-Tribune Editorial

A civil society?

A school board polarized by politics

2:00 a.m. September 17, 2009


“Resign, resign, resign!” The chant rolled through the auditorium.

On Labor Day, the La Mesa/Spring Valley School Board met to ban live broadcasts of President Barack Obama's nationwide speech to students. It was a meeting called in haste, little publicized and attended by virtually no one. And it angered many. Eight days later, parents packed the auditorium at Parkway Middle School in La Mesa, intent on retribution.

Board President Penny Halgren apologized profusely for her motion to bar the presidential speech. Bob Duff apologized for being the swing vote, and a still-defiant Rick Winet acknowledged only that the board could have done better.

Forty adults and children took the microphone to condemn the board's judgment. The resignation chant began. TV cameras whirled, a liberal group videotaped proceedings while a conservative blogger raced to post.

Two emotional hours later, the trio's apology was accepted on a 5-0 board vote. Then the board effectively undid its apology. Winet seized upon the words in a union official's e-mail (“If you are going to challenge the King, you'd better kill the King” — an often-mangled quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson) to see a death threat. The board authorized use of all legal means against anyone making a personal attack, be it verbal or physical.

Time out, everyone!

A board's role is to run our schools efficiently, supervise our children's education and provide an atmosphere conducive to learning. It is not for trustees to install or unseat political parties. It is not up to special interests to escalate misjudgment into unpardonable sin. Or for audience members to hurl hurtful words while elected officials see killers behind every clump of verbiage. Adults must not take today's tools of incivility and place them in the caldron that forges future generations.

Ten deep breaths, everyone. Parents can still use this as a teachable moment. Trustees should allow a fine superintendent and dedicated teachers to do their jobs. Point partisan groups toward the national stage. Let voters decide whether to accept apologies or call for change at the ballot box.

Especially, recall what we were taught in kindergarten: “Manners, please.”


Media Form edit

Title A school board polarized by politics
Publisher Union Tribune
Author Don Sevrens
Pub Date 2009-09-17
Media Link
Embed HTML
Keywords La Mesa Spring Valley School Board, Local Politics
Media Group News
Curator Rating Plain
Author Name Sortable
Thumbnail Link
Topic revision: r1 - 17 Sep 2009, RaymondLutz
This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding Cops? Send feedback