Today, March 28, the Eagle Tribune has an excoriating editorial on Timberlane’s “censorship” which mentions both the current controversial cancellation of a planned future production of Sweeney Todd, and the School Board Rules, subject of my previous blog. Razor of Censorship
March 25, the Union Leader ran an article about my refusal to sign the “School Board Member Ethics/Expectation” form presented at the meeting on March 20th. I am just the second member of the board to refuse to sign. [Note: The reporter mistakenly used the word “intent” when I had used the word “interests.”]
Here is the article: Timberlane School Board Member, a blogger, balks at ethics policy
The third last provision of the code is the one to which I voiced objection and which prevented me from signing:“Take no private action that will compromise the Board’s actions or decisions, and respect and support such actions and decisions as made by the majority vote or consensus of the Board.” This, I feel, would stop me from blogging.
I have my differences with the school board and occasionally with Dr. Metzler; nevertheless, it pains me to see our district in such a bad light. Clearly, however, there are very substantive issues at stake here such as the freedom of elected officials to speak freely and openly, and how much direction school leadership should have in artistic ventures and student social media. Obviously, members of the school board should not be restricted in what they say or to whom. I am most grateful to the media for their interest and outspoken objection to the school board rules and the “ethics” policy.
The other issue is different to my mind.
When the district hired Dr. Metzler, I wrote this about him: “…knowledge, character and service are fine values for all citizens and refreshing talk from an academic leader who does not seem uncomfortable with moral leadership as well.” Given the violence around us, Dr. Metzler should be supported for taking a stand against a musical about serial murder, cannibalism, and other depraved behavior. We need to encourage positive values in school. Sweeney Todd is musically sophisticated so I can see the attraction for our ambitious music department, but in school, artistic examples of people behaving well should be the diet. This is not censorship, this is sound moral leadership, something so old fashioned it sounds odd to even read, but when we lose sight of it, we will regret it.
My comments are, of course, my own and not a reflection of the school board or Dr. Metzler’s.