School board meetings show only that freedom is messy

Selma Zito:

When Carson used a media platform in discussions about school district issues, as he did last year when the children in the Pittsburgh Public Schools went for months without in-person education, he said he had to be “profoundly cautious” in expressing his views.

School board meetings have been around forever, and they have always had the potential to become raucous. I remember attending them with my mother as a teenager, then as a mother myself when my children were young. I also had to attend a few as a reporter for the local newspaper I worked for at the time. Emotions often ran high, as they should when children’s welfare is involved. Good parents never lose sight that the people who educate their children spend more day time with them in a classroom setting than parents themselves do. Emotions also ran high when new buildings were proposed, which always eventually meant higher taxes. 

I have often told young reporters that if they want to see firsthand the most important political process in the U.S. system, turn off cable news, get off the iPhone, turn their eyes away from Washington, and cover a local school board meeting.

No one should accept threats or physical violence at a school board meeting or anywhere else. But such conduct is fortunately rare. The problem today is, can we trust our government to distinguish between the actual threat of violence and the passionate expression of viewpoints by parents?