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School board must show education leadership

on Tuesday, 21 May 2019. Posted in Letters to the Editor, Opinions

The Game of Thrones serial drama of power politics at FSD1 Board meetings since the referendum loss has been disappointing to the public. It would seem that a Board who suffered a 75% whipping would acknowledge the voters’ message and come together to focus on the priorities of creating community support for improved education.

But no, some members are content to highjack the narrative with their own personal agendas and create chaos instead of collaboration. The off-agenda attacks on the integrity and character of Board members and administrators have reached a new low in school board decorum.

The Board operates under Robert’s Rules of Order, which states:

•“… It is never permissible to attack the motives, character, or personality of a member either directly or by innuendo or implication.“

•“… Meetings must discuss measures, not people.”

•“… The chair, or by board vote, may deny a member who refuses to speak in an orderly manner the right to the floor or may eject the member from the meeting.”

Personnel debates belong in executive sessions, not in a public forum.

This Board doesn’t seem to even be able to abide by the kindergarten children’s Rules of the Sandbox, such as:

•“Play Fair” – Make sure you aren’t setting a double standard for others.

•“Say You Are Sorry When You Hurt Somebody” – Empathy is important.

•“Clean Up Your Own Mess” – Don’t expect others to pick up after you. Take responsibility and move forward.

In order to maintain an atmosphere of civility at meetings, it is essential that Board officers apply their own stated rules of order.

Dr. O’Malley has shown impressive leadership with the institution of many outstanding new programs that benefit ALL the children in our schools. The status quo of many years of accepting mediocrity in test scores, facilities, and programs needs shaking up with his innovative thinking. Academic progress, the support of our teachers, and the improvement of school facilities need Dr. O’Malley’s expertise. The Board should make these items their first priority during meetings instead of the petty backbiting currently dominating board agendas.

The term “systemic racism” implies that everyone in society is being painted with the same broad brush of racism, which is completely false. This accusation should be offensive to the many Florence community leaders who have spent years of effort developing successful dialogue among the races. Systemic racism may have been accurate 40 years ago, but now we have unfettered diversity with people of all colors working together in the classrooms, in the business environment, and at public events.

Now is the opportunity for the Board and the community leadership to sit down together and formulate a plan for achieving educational progress in Florence that benefits everyone.

Carroll Player, DDS


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