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 its 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, illustrating 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 stopped 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.]