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ARE OUR EARS & MINDS OPEN?

10/26 School Committee Mtg. Recap


Editor's note: A friend once told me, "You can always tell who's losing an argument: the person who's shouting loudest." Below is a meeting writeup submitted by NK residents Rick Sellers and Betsi Dwyer.


"The ​NK ​School Committee meeting on Tuesday the 26th was a skirmish in the culture wars. There were really two audiences in the high school auditorium​: one raging angrily at presumed offenses by the Committee​, ​the other supportive and thoughtful of it​s work​. Ostensibly, the issue was control of educational materials—what is suitable and acceptable; whether and when book-banning is justified. Some paraded to the ​rest of the ​audience (​which included​ elementary-age children) blow​-ups of a ​library ​book, Gender Queer​,​ illustrat​ing sexual acts that these same protestors said were unacceptable for high schoolers to access. Alternately, many ​audience members ​rose to speak in support of the ​School ​Committee and its position that ​school library (or "Media Center") ​books are resources​, carefully selected according to prescribed criteria​, ​​available to all, forced upon none, and potentially—as in the case of this book—helpful to students who might be feeling marginalized or confused. ​


"Most notable was the decibel level at which those opposed to the Committee raged. Numerous times the School Committee Chair​ ​stop​ped​ proceedings ​to admonish audience members who were shouting over the recognized speakers​. Several times the police ​came forward and spoke directly to the noisemakers to get them to quiet down."


[Like all NK School Committee meetings, this one was videotaped and can be viewed here. School Committee Chair Greg Blasbalg's remarks can be read here.]





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