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LETTER: Not a right to be heard at meeting but a privilege

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Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012 11:12 am

To the Editor:

In reply to Robert Ford’s letter about his experience with the board of education at the Dundee Central School District (Times, Oct. 2):

First of all, the senior student you refer to was talking nonsense. Yes, Mr. Ford, you have a First Amendment right to express yourself. You do not have the right to hold a readymade audience hostage while you talk ad infinitum.

Furthermore, a school board meeting is not an open forum. You have no right to be heard. You have only the privilege granted to you by a generous board.

Additionally, you were not discriminated against. The rules were applied equally to every member of the audience. The president of the board of education was simply enforcing the rules that were duly adopted by the board of education and are a part of board policy. THIS IS HIS JOB.

Also, three minutes is probably enough time to bring up a topic that you feel strongly about. The Gettysburg Address took less than three minutes. It was delivered, not by a member of the audience, but a speaker who was on the agenda. If you need to express your concerns, you should acquire an agenda in advance. Organize your thoughts so that you can express them in three minutes or less.

Further, Mr. Ford, you are the bully. You tried coercion and threats. That is bullying. Mr. Ford, STOP YOUR BULLYING!

You need to learn the rules and you need to follow the rules like everyone else.

Lastly, the board members are not the enemy. They give their time freely (no pay) for the benefit of the youth of our school district.

DONNA GIBSON

Dundee

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