A York Suburban School District School Board member created controversy when he wrote a recent op-ed to concerned parents and declared, “I don’t work for you.”
School board member Richard Robinson wrote a column for the York Dispatch, taking aim at parents who come to school board meetings to raise concerns and explaining why he believes board members are not beholden to taxpayers.
“Some members of my community appear to interpret (the public comment) part of board meetings as the occasion to tell board members why they have the collective intelligence of a village idiot and how the school district ought to be addressing real problems,” Robinson wrote in the column, which was published last week. “When the board does not fall in line with each and every demand, we are accused of ignoring the thoughtful, unbiased, sincere and righteous ultimatums of our community.
“For this reason, my comments are not coming from a member of a school board, but rather as a member of my community who serves on a school board,” he explained before airing a list of grievances with residents.
Robinson’s top complaint targeted folks who believe board members work for taxpayers.
“With all due respect to men and women who snarl, ‘I’m a taxpayer! You work for me!’ No, I don’t work for you,” Robinson wrote. “I was elected by people who voted to represent you. It is not the same thing. You may also be surprised to learn every member of a school board is a taxpayer, too. I come from a long line of taxpaying men and women.”
Robinson complained about doctors who speak up at board meetings without identifying their “specialties or credentials,” as well as those who threaten school boards with lawsuits over decisions they dislike.
Robinson also took issue with parents who threaten to remove their children from local schools over serious issues and those who believe parents know what’s best for their children.
“With all due respect to the parents who make the pretentious statement phrased as a foregone question, ‘Don’t parents always know what is best for their child? No, we don’t,” Robinson wrote. “Nevertheless, if you are offended because I don’t believe parents are infallible, you can always sue or take your child out of school. Your choice.”
Robinson concluded the column with direct insults to parents who are concerned over how schools’ health and safety measures such as masking and school closures affect their child’s mental health.
“Finally, with all due respect to the charlatans who claim health and safety measures are responsible for destroying the mental health of children simply to justify their own social agenda, you are the most offensive and vile of all,” he wrote.
The column comes as the federal government was asked to take steps to monitor parents as domestic terrorists at the behest of the National School Board Association. That request, in September, prompted numerous state organizations to consider leaving the national organization despite an apology from the NSBA.
Parents Defending Education President Nicole Neily responded to Robinson’s editorial in comments to Fox News.
“Far too many elected officials have shown over the past two years that the ‘consent of the governed’ is little more than an inconvenient speed bump on the road to advancing their unpopular agendas,” Neily said. “Mocking and dismissing the concerns of the community may be cathartic for petty dictators, but it is not a path to electoral success.”
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