For some it's an After Thought!
"Highlights of Sept. School Board Meeting" which ran above the fold on page 1 of the September 28, 2007 Elmont Herald is indicative of what is wrong with the public discussion of Public Education in our community. For some in Elmont, Public Education is an after thought.
Since the July 3, 2007 Reorganization Meeting of the Elmont School Board, the Elmont Herald and some of its supporters have focused their collective energy on one issue - the board's decision not to include it as an official paper of the District.
The article written by CF (Cathy Ferrigno, mother of board member Lorraine Ferrigno) opens with the now familiar retrospective falsifications and repetitions. Terms such as "farce", "arrogant refusal", threats of "covering the continuing", and "on a weekly basis assaults on the children of the district" is followed in the second paragraph with "But, for now, the following actions were taken at the September 18, 2007 meeting of the Elmont Board of Education."
- "But, for now," the district recognized the contributions of two of its outstanding twenty-five year retiring workers.
- "But, for now," Superintendent Al Harper has successfully completed the installation of Smart Board technology in all of the districts 5th and 6th grade classrooms.
- "But, for now," the district hired an Assistant Director of Pupil Personnel Services.
- "But, for now," . . .
Truly a sad time for public education when, as I see it, the vitally important work of School Boards and District Officials is relegated to "But, for now[s] ", while the self interests of a few are couched in lofty protestations of Free Press and the First Amendment. The Elmont Herald, contrary to rumors suggesting the Elmont School Board stopped them from publishing, continues to print weekly, taking full advantage of the First Amendment and the Supreme Court's decision that found even when statements are false newspapers are protected from lawsuits brought by public officials New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964).
Ann Bryant, Executive Director of NSBA has it right -"In a democracy, school boards are the closest thing to the ground," ensuring that parents and other voters have an impact on public schools". In keeping with her premise, the Elmont School District continues to make high quality audio recordings of all of its public meetings. The Reorganization Meeting of July 3 is available on a three CD Set. Volume 3 beginning at approximately 13:52 and ending at 15:33 contains the complete statement from which the Elmont Herald excerpts and misquotes. Visit the Elmont Public Library to listen to what was said and how or better yet, politely request that the Elmont Herald publish it in full.