Dear editorial board: I hoped for better. In your Jan. 1 opinion column, your top “thumbs-down” wrongly criticized school board members trying to hold the NSBA to account for its outrageous behavior.
It would have been fine if you had rebuked the one agitated speaker who went less than a minute overtime in August. It might also have been fine to rebuke hecklers, or to point out false accusations. Instead, your column chastised the trustees – even as they earnestly appealed for orderly comments from all constituents, even dissenters. Instead:
- You left out the fact that the NSBA didn’t just ask for federal support; the NSBA called for personal surveillance of concerned citizens as “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism,” and referenced Cheyenne among examples of “angry mobs” when the meeting cited was no such thing.
- You said “some” board members disagreed with the NSBA’s letter to President Biden; actually, all board members agreed the letter was overreach. That letter purported to represent all affiliated school boards in calling for mobilization of the FBI’s “Counterterrorism Division, as well as any other federal agency.” Trustees Klaassen and Smith were strongest against NSBA malfeasance, but all supported the final resolution.
- You left out the fact that the NSBA’s letter prompted orders for federal agents to use counterterrorism tools/tags and interagency networks to investigate and “discourage” supposed “intimidation.” You know from my Dec. 12 letter that at least one Cheyenne concerned parent who respectfully dissented against the district’s mask mandate at an August board meeting was thus investigated.
- You said “we don’t necessarily disagree” with Trustee Klaassen’s concern about federal suppression of free speech; this is weak support indeed.
You can do better. Your newspaper counts on First Amendment freedom of the press. You sponsored the Braver Angels initiative to foster open dialogue. You brought lawsuits to force release of sensitive information.
Do something patriotic: stand up for the free speech rights of people you disagree with. You likely don’t appreciate dissenters against school mask/quarantine policies, age-inappropriate materials in school libraries and ideologically loaded progressive curriculum. Support their freedom of speech anyway.