Bay-Waveland School Board member criticizes ‘politics’ ~ Geoff Belcher
My own opinion is Board Prez Sherry Ponder has lots to learn about both the Hatch Act and the First Amendment but that is another post. Board Member Maurice Singleton works at the Seacoast Echo, Board Prez Ponder is married to the publisher by way of background.
Here are Board member Mike Bell’s full comments:
As most of you may know, our Superintendent was recently involved in the rebuttal to the Governor’s State of the State address.
I am personally upset with our Superintendents involvement in this political partisan production. Instead of the usual live rebuttal on the house floor, they employed a video production unlike any I have ever seen.
Instead of her remarks focusing on educational issues like we were led to believe they would, and which we the Board of Trustees approved, the comments ran the political spectrum of states issues, government accountability, corruption, unemployment, medical care, hospitals, crumbling infrastructure, gas prices, nuclear waste, the department of transportation and women in the workforce.
The involvement of our Superintendent in this political boondoggle is, in my mind, a violation of School Board policy.
While our school board policy covering this issue; Political Activity of Staff Members, under the General Guidelines states, “All employees shall be encouraged to exercise their constitutional rights as citizens, but they shall not involve their schools in political campaigns.”
I have been advised that “she has not technically violated the policy,” which I do not agree with.
While I, as a military veteran, greatly value and appreciate our Superintendent’s 1st amendment rights, I disapprove her expressing them in her position as Superintendent of the BWSD.
Of the many calls and numerous conversations I had about this production, none have had a positive view of the comments, and no one has found anything of value from having them made on our behalf.
While a letter from Rep. Bobby Moak purports that our Superintendent was unaware of her title being used during the production, what reasonable professional would voluntarily participate in a partisan political event like this and not expect to be identified?
The Superintendents participation was contingent on her being identified as a professional educator and with the views that she holds.
In closing I would like to make it very clear that the opinions voiced by the Superintendent are hers, and do not reflect my opinion, or the opinions of the many, upset community members that I have spoke with.
BWSD School Board Trustee