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School district board members stifle free speech? | Letter
At the Aug. 15, 2013 meeting of the Lake Washington School District board of directors, I requested some clarification. Granted, the “official” public comment period had ended earlier. (The board) moved the meeting along through a number of other agenda items. I said, “Excuse me; I thought this was the time for a public hearing on the bond.” (Two board members) began talking over me and interrupting each other and their colleagues. They twice threatened to have me removed.
Unfortunately, their rude and dismissive attitude has been demonstrated before: At the Aug. 6, 2012 and Sept. 10, 2012 board meetings several parents and a few young students spoke about the overcrowding at Rosa Parks Elementary School. Their points were well reasoned. They made a concerted effort to avoid repetition. Individual elementary students related personal experiences with poignant impacts of overcrowding and portables.
At the videotaped meetings, one board member declared, “We are not going to solve your problem by fiat.” “It won’t serve your purposes to present the same details every time.” “Continued pressure on the board isn’t going to help us hear your problems any louder.”
The audience must have been very disappointed — if not disgusted. America is not likely the first home of many of the adult speakers. And the elementary students certainly did not hear a message of praise and encouragement to continue to speak their young minds.
The two board members don’t have to like everything that people in the district might have to say from time to time, but they very well better respect our right to say it!
Larry Happ, Redmond