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Kirk Schneidawind, executive director of the Minnesota School Boards Association, wrote a commentary ("Public input is not a public megaphone," Jan. 23) that exemplifies why citizens distrust professional educators and their political allies.
He argued that a previous editorial opposing the silencing of parents at school board meetings was off-base because schools offer a "wide range of opportunities" to talk to school board members — and he listed the ones he thought "appropriate": Letters, phone calls, emails, texts, unspecified "meetings" (presumably private).
Schneidawind forgot to mention that as elected officials, school board members are obliged to face public criticism and input. I am sure it is purely coincidental that all the interactions he mentioned are private, one-way, remain entirely under the control of the school board and are unavailable to the electorate at large.
You do know school board members are elected public officials, don't you, Mr. Schneidawind?
Schneidawind also throws mud on the wall but never provides evidence for his spurious claims. School board meetings, he claims, have resulted in speakers "questioning, criticizing or attacking students" — but he cites not one example. Nor does he explain why students or student behavior must be beyond question. Oh, I guess he does — some speakers at public school board meetings have said things which resulted in "harm within the school community." Of course he doesn't say what harm. I suspect it's hurt feelings.
Schneidawind argues this kind of speech should be suppressed. He says that "students and others" are subject to verbal abuse that is then "broadcast without boundaries." Translation: school staff and boards are criticized and they can't stop the public from hearing about it.
The association Schneidawind directs withdrew from the national Association of School Boards when that body colluded to send the Biden White House a letter claiming parents criticizing school boards were guilty of hate crimes and domestic terrorism. The Minnesota school board body withdrew from the national for that reason. Schneidawind's factually unsupported hissy fit makes it clear their withdrawal was only a tactical step.
The state School Boards Association obviously thinks school boards should be able to limit criticism to private channels they control and that don't allow parents to find others who dislike the way our schools are being run.
Larry Frost lives in Bloomington.