I want to talk about the hypocrisy happening not only in our town, but nationwide. I wrote a letter recently about tone policing occurring at our BOE meetings — and, guess what? It is still happening. If you’re still unclear what’s happening, let me break it down for you with this national example first.
The Freedom to Assemble, from two perspectives.
June 1, 2020. Thousands of protesters stood in Lafayette Square shortly after the murder of George Floyd. The White House was prepared with US marshals, federal agents, homeland security, and federal prison guards to help increase the number of law enforcement present. The D.C. National Guard and Air National Guard, secret service officers, Arlington County police officers in SWAT gear — more than 80 officers with shields and 15 on horseback — all were ready for these peaceful protesters to become violent.
But no one breached, or attempted to breach the Capital that day.
January 6, 2021. Once again thousands of protesters showed up in D.C. Several hundred of these protesters did breach the Capitol. They stole items as souvenirs, ruined statues, smashed doors, stole documents, and chanted “Hang Mike Pence.” They hurt officers — one so badly that he later died. This day there was only one agency on hand to protect the Capitol staff from any possible riots — the Capitol Police. Their Chief requested reinforcement days before and was denied. There was also a small number of D.C. police officers attending the rally who were quickly overpowered when the rioters made their way to the Capitol.
The difference between these events boils down to one thing: racism.
Freedom of Speech, from two perspectives.
In January of 2022 the Chair of the Board of Education put new rules in place for public participation. She claimed that there has been “disruptive clapping” during public participation. She said that if this continues she will no longer allow public participation. She was referencing the previous six months where community members (youth and adults) spoke in favor of diversity, equity and inclusion. After they spoke, those in favor showed their support by clapping. Since then, the meetings have still consisted of community members speaking in favor of DEI, but each speech needed to be followed up with silent support, according to the Chair.
Just this week a large group showed up to the BOE meeting ready to speak against the mask mandate. After each person spoke during the public participation, those that were against masks showed their support by clapping. In addition they disrupted the regular meeting by clapping outside of public participation any time the board members said something with which they agreed. Deb, the Chair, made no effort to stop the clapping, and no effort to end public comments. In fact, the Chair herself was clapping!
The difference between these two events also boils down to one thing: racism.
Published 2/17/22, The Newtown Bee