I wouldn’t feel too bad for the people behind the failed recall attempt of the Fargo School Board. They are not victims. They have publicly shamed, bullied, and threatened school board members and community members who don’t share their views. They have spent plenty of time behind their keyboards, stalking the personal social media profiles of school board members in order to create memes and dredge up old pictures that they could use to accuse members of not following guidelines. (It’s also important to note that, for part of this year, vaccinated people had different recommendations than the unvaccinated. Can’t compare apples to oranges).
This group has specifically targeted and attempted to discredit a respected physician who was once welcomed by this same group. Dr. Newman was integral in getting our kids back to in-school learning last fall, which is what the group wanted. The only way we were able to do that safely was by including masks as part of the plan. Later the same year, that safety measure triggered this group of parents to attempt a recall of any and all board members eligible for recall.
Petitioning responsibly is a civic duty. The group believes they made “small” errors. When those errors, such as those resulting from soliciting signatures of ineligible voters, makes an entire packet invalid, then I wouldn’t consider them small. I would call them egregious. A legitimate and respectable effort wouldn’t have involved such carelessness. They should be held accountable for their methods.
The recall group says they just want to hold the school board members accountable. That, in and of itself, is a sensible and necessary goal. However, what they really want is the board to be held accountable to their alternative agenda. They have a much more extreme agenda than what they have publicly admitted. If you have been fortunate enough to be in their invite-only members-only private Facebook page, you are aware of what their plan truly entails. Their agenda, as outlined in their private group and shared by concerned community members, includes things like “forcing all Title I and II kids into a particular set of schools to keep them away from the good kids” and “lowering or eliminating theater programs and other programs that liberals and gays flock to like honey” (quotes from their Facebook page). Other agenda items include firing administrators who have mask mandates at their schools and forcing teachers to teach or not teach certain subjects (critical race theory comes to mind…).
This does not sound like an agenda that the majority of this community supports. In fact, it appears that public schools might not be for them.
This group isn’t going to stop – they’ve made that clear. And that isn’t surprising – desperate times call for desperate measures, right? But these people will continue to be loud and will likely run for school board positions next year. I welcome them to be more transparent about their agenda so the community can get a better picture of their ultimate goals.
Lyn Telford lives in Fargo.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.