The “Member Code of Conduct” used by the Beaufort County Board of Education has got to go.
It is not a code of conduct at all. It is a mishmash of prohibitions designed to keep members in line by stifling dissent and smothering criticism, all in the name of “preserving the board’s integrity.” The code is an abridgment of the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom to express political views without fear of reprisal or retribution from governmental bodies and agencies.
No elected official should be bound to silence. The board’s code tries to prohibit members from voicing concern or criticism on actions by the board (so much for the concept of a minority view).
It even prohibits a member from saying anything that would be construed as critical of the superintendent. This is not what we put them in office for.
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There is a theme and thread running through the board’s policies and statements. That theme is that members are accountable to the rest of the board, when in fact they are accountable to their constituents and to the students.
That a member who disagrees with the board, and who says so, would be publicly scolded is an insult to that member and to all of us. It flies against the grain of representative government and good governance.
We have every right to demand better from the board and its officers.