State Board of Education Chairman Eric Davis, Vice Chairman Alan Duncan and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt issued the following response today to safety concerns at some school board meetings over the course of the last month:
As education leaders in our state, we are united by our fierce passion for serving students and in our commitment to providing all students and those serving our students with a safe environment. As we continue to see instances of violence unfold during some local school board meetings, we are yet again unified. The increased hostility and threats of force that we have seen across the state are not reflective of what we expect and ask of our own students: treating others with kindness and respect.
As educators, as parents and as concerned citizens, we respect the rights of our fellow citizens to share their concerns and voice their opinions. However, this must be done without the use of intimidation or intentionally inspiring fear. Every one of us has a responsibility to instill in our children their first amendment rights and responsibilities, but we have an even greater responsibility to model good behavior while doing so.
Our schools and district buildings should remain safe havens, and these acts of aggression cannot be tolerated. Our school board members and local leaders should not be threatened. Especially in times of disagreement, we should act with civility and respect for our teachers, local boards, superintendents, and school staff who are doing their best throughout this unprecedented time to lead, guide and educate our students. We invite you to join us in this endeavor.