Guest view: State school boards leader calls for civility, respect

By JOHN ASHLEY

Wisconsin Association of School Boards executive director

We’ve become increasingly alarmed at the recent reports of personal threats of violence and harassment directed at school board members across the state. 

Civil disagreement and protest are cornerstones of our democracy, but attempts to intimidate school board members and physically disrupt school board proceedings are not acceptable. 

Being passionate about the well-being of our children is commendable, and the public is welcome to voice displeasure or disagreement with their school boards. However, threatening to physically harm school board members or their family members, shouting profanities during school board meetings, or attempting to prevent school boards from executing their constitutional governing role crosses a line and should not be tolerated by our communities.

On behalf of the nearly 3,000 school board members in Wisconsin, we’re calling for school board meetings to be held in a civil, respectful manner. And we are asking for assistance by all civic and organizational leaders to help ensure that their local governments are able to govern.

Last week, the new school year began in most Wisconsin school districts. Our children are watching how the adults in their communities deal with conflict and strife. It is up to all of us to set the right example and ensure that our democracy functions as it is intended.

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