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Tipsheet

Pennsylvania School Board Member to Parents: 'I Don't Work for You'

AP Photo/Marta Lavandier

A school board member in the York Suburban School District in Pennsylvania said that he does not work for the parents whose children attend school in the district and that parents do not always know what is best for their children.

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Richard Robinson wrote an op-ed in the York Dispatch on Thursday in which he said that school boards are required to offer an opportunity for public comment and, until recently, hardly anyone elected to show up to the meetings. But now, school board meetings have an increased level of participation, he explains.

"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 wrote. "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."

"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 continued. "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."

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Robinson further claimed in his piece that he does not "work" for taxpayers.

"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," Robinson wrote. "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."

The school board member went on to say that parents claiming that "health and safety measures" implemented in school districts are damaging children's mental health to "justify their own social agenda" are "the most offensive and vile of all."

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"There are members of this community who tried to draw attention to the warning signs of increasing mental distress among our children long before you ever thought of mental health as a potential cudgel," he wrote. "To listen to your repeated distortions of the facts is nauseating."

Nonprofit parent group Parents Defending Education slammed the essay over its apparent mockery of parents who express concern about their children's education at school board meetings.

"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," PDE President Nicole Neily said in a statement to Fox News. "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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