Editorial: Lee County School Board ... better to suffer than muzzle

It is easy for Lee County School Board member Bob Chilmonik to get under the skin of the superintendent and his colleagues. He is the odd man out on nearly every big issue and speaks his mind even after votes have been taken. He is in the paper and on TV a lot.

The latest example comes in the wake of Superintendent James Browder’s decision to bar live viewing of President Barack Obama’s televised speech on education. Browder decided it would be less disruptive to the school day to tape the address and let individual teachers decide when or whether to show it later.

That prompted Chilmonik to dash off a letter to Obama, apologizing.

In response and as punishment, the board threatened a public censure, or scolding, of Chilmonik.

The other day, the board met and after discussion thought better of that.

Good call.

For better or for worse, it is better for an elected board to let individuals speak — and leave the accountability to the citizens who voted to put them into office and in power in the first place. Political give and take, and yes, even some annoyance, comes with that.

Disagreeing with the disagreeable is one thing; trying to punish someone who marches to a different drummer is another.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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