FOR RELEASE: November 3, 2021
We disagree with the NSBA letter and NSBA’s statement likening the behavior of some members of the public to “a form of domestic terrorism.” We consider this statement to be both inaccurate and needlessly inflammatory. The NSBA Board of Directors has recently apologized and expressed regret for its letter.
Like other state school boards associations, NYSSBA was neither consulted nor offered the opportunity to review the NSBA letter to President Biden. One of our concerns was that the letter and subsequent follow up would have a chilling effect on public participation at school board meetings.
We recognize that a fundamental, bedrock principle of our democracy is the ability of citizens to communicate their views directly to elected leaders. Therefore, we support the right of all citizens to voice their views about decisions that affect their children and communities, and we encourage the respectful expression of those opinions and ideas.
NYSSBA is fortunate to have member school boards with a diversity of perspectives. We consider this a strength, and we encourage the healthy exchange of ideas and experiences among our membership. In the event that violent or threatening behavior were to occur at a board of education meeting, local law enforcement is typically best suited to handle the disturbance.
We will continue to monitor the ongoing situation with the NSBA and assess whether or not NSBA can serve as an effective advocate and voice for public education.