Letter to the editor: School board vs. free speech

Posted 11/16/21

On Nov. 2, four Kids First candidates scored huge victories under the banner of giving parents input into their children’s education, among other issues. They will …

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Letter to the editor: School board vs. free speech

Posted

On Nov. 2, four Kids First candidates for Douglas County School Board scored huge victories under the banner of giving parents input into their children’s education, among other issues. They will become the majority Nov. 30. When faced with massive defeats of board Directors Leung and Holtzmann by many thousands of votes, their fellow directors had a choice. To accept voters’ dramatic rejection of their command-and-control style and embrace a conciliatory attitude toward a newly-activist public or to lash back with peevish retaliation. Their new “DCSD BoE Meeting Safety and Security Protocols” are their latest thumb in the eye to voters.

The new rules forbid “Coarse and obviously offensive utterances, gestures or displays and the utterance, gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of peace, or engage in activities that make unreasonable noise which disrupts the educational process.” This is not even grammatically correct. And what are “offensive utterances, gestures or displays?” Directors have claimed wearing an American flag T-shirt is “intimidating” — will they now enforce a dress code? Will citizens bringing small American flags to a board meeting be removed by armed sheriff’s deputies (also “protocol”) for such “display”? Many have called for the directors’ resignations — sounds like “offensive utterance.” And certainly, applause is banned. Good luck with that.

Memo to the board: the Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees protection of “offensive utterances” — it’s called freedom of speech. What’s offensive is that this school board is still trying to smother opposition voices. Thankfully, November 30 will arrive before they know it.

Joy Overbeck

Parker

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