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It is a lesson pretty much everyone learns early on in their day-to-day lives — threatening and/or disparaging people does not help you get your way.

It just doesn’t work, not in personal and family relations or in places of business. Behaving in such a matter will almost certainly cost you friendships, family relationships and probably your job.

And yet, this is common practice in contemporary public discourse.

We’ve seen this play out in contentious school meetings across the nation and locally. It is tempting to look at the photos of enraged parents shouting at school board meetings in some Midwestern town and think that does not happen here.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. School officials in Kittitas County have been threatened in regard to decisions regarding COVID protocols in the schools and/or been disparaged.

Logically, it is unlikely that someone behaving in this manner is thinking, “Oh, yeah, this should change their minds.”

What’s a shame is that people should pay better attention to what happens at school board meetings. Typically, school board meeting are quiet affairs, going over policy, expenses, perhaps recognizing student achievement in an area or two. If you were looking for a meal that best represents a classic school meeting, it would be milk and cookies.

But, school boards are managing probably the community’s most significant investment. If you combine what we pay in state taxes, with local levies and school construction bonds, there might not be a single larger local tax commitment.

Even if you don’t have a kid in the school system, you should be interested in the school board. Those kids eventually become residents, workers, creative forces, entrepreneurs, etc. who shape our communities and determine its prosperity. Everyone should ask themselves, “what exactly are the schools doing?”

What you learn about interacting with the public school system, either as a parent or a community member, is you might not get your way.

The rub often comes between the school board and administration managing for the entirety of the school population and a person advocating for their child or their particular idea.

You may be passionate about not wanting your child to wear a mask in school. The school board may acknowledge your position, but it also must consider the public health recommendation that mask wearing can help protect the health of a 1,000-plus kids (in addition to staff).

Your desire for one will not outweigh the district’s responsibility for 1,000. It just won’t. You can threaten them bodily harm and question their heritage and it won’t make a difference, nor should it.

Bottom line, schools are vital and decisions made by school board are critical to our children’s futures. They do require your attention and constructive engagement.

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