Letter – Board should listen to teachers

Published 8:01 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Every student who spoke or gave a presentation at the Isle of Wight County School Board’s January meeting is to be commended.

The phrase “academic arrogance” was used by one speaker in reference to the educators and students who spoke at the meeting. This was extremely insulting to our teachers, the students and to the academic profession as a whole. What I saw at the meeting from our educators was a passion for teaching and a passion for learning from our teachers and students.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

School boards were not designed to be political and partisan. I found it interesting and concerning that during the meeting a constituent seemed to feel they could give orders to the board. While parents do have a choice in certain aspects of their child’s education, the educational experts should be the ones to make decisions regarding policies on education. We have experts in individual fields for a reason.

Who decides what is divisive and what is sexual? Will there be teacher input?

Your role as a board member is to listen, to support educators and to ensure that our students are successful and prepared for whichever path they may choose when they leave high school, whether that be college, trade schools, the military or the workforce. It is important to keep the success of the students in the forefront of your mind, to create strong individuals who can think critically.

By choosing to be on the School Board, you chose to support our community, which means supporting all families and their children. By putting your trust in educators, the experts on these subjects, and listening to all stakeholders (all parents) before making your decision, you will be proving that you have the best interests of the entire community at heart.

Having a policy on ethical conduct is a must. Not having such a policy will cause questioning of your decisions and possible litigation.

In conclusion, school boards are in place to protect education, not tear it apart. Banning and censorship have no place in education. Parents can do that individually in their own home, as is their choice. Education is there to open minds and explore new ideas, not shut them down. It’s your job to protect that right.


Rebecca M. Mercer