The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

August 29, 2013

Your View: Joplin needs representative government

JOPLIN, Mo. — As citizens of the United States of America, we should live in a democracy with a representative form of government.

However, since 2008, we are not allowed to speak freely and openly on issues to our school board.

I disagree with the statements made by Joplin School Board member Jeff Flowers regarding the chain of command. Here is my rationale.

Board members are our elected representatives, and they should hear directly from the people who elected them about issues, not have things filtered through the district administrators.

I believe the chain of command referenced by Mr. Flowers is nothing more than a filtering system that effectively prevents our school board from really getting to know what is going on in our district.

His statements that board members can be contacted directly is also misleading because it means that taxpayers or our district stakeholders who have supported bond issues must make seven phone calls or visits instead of just one at the board meeting.

It also means that each board member may get a slightly different story, causing confusion and leading to wasted time for both administration and board members.

Why do we have to have a policy like other districts? Why do students have to gather signatures on petitions to get elected representatives to listen to them? If students can see what is wrong with the current policy, why can’t the board members?

I firmly believe this is censorship, which has no place in our democracy. If we want transparency at the federal and state levels of government, why not at our local level as well?

We pay taxes to the city and to the school district. Why can we speak directly to the Joplin City Council but get censored by the Joplin School Board?

Stop the censorship.

David Guilford

Joplin

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