A school board member in Pennsylvania wrote a scathing opinion piece in a local newspaper telling parents in his school district that he does not work for them.
Richard Robinson is a school board member for the York Suburban School District, and he took to the pages of the York Dispatch to express his displeasure with outspoken parents.
“This provision gives residents of a school district the chance to vent their spleens about exorbitant taxes or demand subjects be taught properly the way they were during the most frigid period of the Cold War. In the past, more often than not, nobody showed up,” Robinson said in the column. “Not these days. As social media outlets, national news broadcasts and our local newspapers tell us, school boards are now the new battleground in the fight for America’s future.”
But Robinson does not think they should be. He’s a taxpayer too, he says in an attempt to justify ignoring the people who elected him.
“With all due respect to the men and women who snarl, ‘I’m a taxpayer! You work for me!’ No, I don’t work for you. I was elected by people who voted to represent you,” he says. “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.”
He claimed that parents are biased in their opinions, and suggested that the school board is not.
“Some members of my community appear to interpret this 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,” he said. “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.”
He also said that in some cases, parents don’t know what is best for their children, inviting them to sue the school district or remove their children if they disagree.
“‘Don’t parents always know what is best for their child?’ No, we don’t,” he said. “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.”
Asked for comment about whether an elected official should expect pushback from his constituency, Robinson did not respond.
The York Suburban School District did not return a comment request.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Pennsylvania Daily Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “in the classroom” by The York Suburban School District.