In a viral video, an Englishman teaches a school board about our Constitution
The Pennsbury School District is located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, which gave its votes to Joe Biden by a very narrow margin (assuming Biden actually got those votes). While the community is evenly divided, the school board is leftist. It wanted to bring in a diversity program but didn't want community objections to show up in recordings of public meetings, so it censored those bits. Many parents were outraged — and one man, Simon Campbell, schooled the board on its constitutional obligations, including having to sit there and take it when people say things school board members don't like.
Levittown Now gives the background to Campbell's fiery speech:
The Pennsbury School District has begun editing some content from public postings of recent school board meetings.
The district's new posture on removing certain comments from recordings of meetings isn't common in Pennsylvania and virtually unheard of among Levittown-area school districts.
The March and May Pennsbury meeting edits removed comments about the district's new diversity programs. The March comments that were removed, which were later posted on Facebook, involved Lower Makefield Township resident Doug Marshall questioning the district's diversity and equity efforts. He mentioned topics and terms that could been [sic] seen as taboo, but he received no push back during his comments at the meeting.
The district has cited school board policy that notes "comments that become personally directed, abusive, obscene, or irrelevant will be ended immediately."
After the March meeting, School Board President Christine Toy-Dragoni sent a letter to parents that said Marshall's comments "contained micro-aggressions as well as explicitly-racist ideas that connected the Black community to several commonly-held, stereotypical beliefs that are harmful." She apologized for not stopping his comments at the meeting and that she "didn't act in the best interest of our entire community."
"Freedom of speech and varying viewpoints are acceptable under the Board Policy on public comment; however, these recent comments escalated from expressing a viewpoint to expressing beliefs and ideas that were abusive and coded in racist terms, also known as 'dog whistles.' Racist dog whistles are seemingly-innocuous speech, often not noticeable to some, but that explicitly communicate a more insidious and abusive message to a subset of the audience," she wrote.
Toy-Dragoni, obviously, is unclear about how free speech operates. The whole point is to allow speech that's unpopular, whether it offends the political class or hurts other people's feelings. Speech that everyone finds innocuous or lovable needs no such protections.
Campbell may be from the British Isles (or somewhere else in the Commonwealth), but he understands the First Amendment. During the school board meeting following revelations about the censorship, Campbell, who once was a school board member, gave the sitting board an earful. First, he explained to them how free speech operates. Then, when they tried to shut him down because he was being mean to them (called the board present Benito Mussolini), he explained all over again.
"We have a God-given constitutional right to critique you, and we can speak in any lawful tone that we see fit," Campbell informed the board. And when the board's solicitor, who ought to have known better, tried to shut Campbell up because his speech was "a personal insult," Campbell schooled the lawyer on constitutional law.
After citing to New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, Campbell explained, "I don't have to be nice to you. Nobody behind me has to be nice to you. If you don't like living in the United States of America, then you can all move to Russia, Cuba, or China. This is the First Amendment."
There may have been parents in the audience who sided with the school board, but that's not apparent from the video, which shows only Campbell. However, there are no hisses or boos. Instead, the other people in attendance enthusiastically cheered Campbell's speech:
When advisers were telling President Lincoln to fire Ulysses S. Grant because of heavy losses Grant sustained at Shiloh, Lincoln responded, "I cannot spare this man. He fights." Lincoln was correct. You cannot win a war unless you have people willing to fight it.
In the context of the battle against cultural Marxism in American schools in the form of Critical Race Theory, those who fight are the ones who are willing to stand up in public, as Campbell did (and he did so with style) and state their principles, along with helpful reminders about the Constitution. It's time for Americans to step up to the microphone and say that when it comes to their children, "They're mad as hell about the race hatred being shoved down the children's throats, and they're not going to take it anymore." If the school boards don't reverse the programs, they should be challenged at the polls and put out of office.
Image: Simon Campbell schooling the school board. YouTube screen grab.
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