Opinion: A call for tolerance and diversity

May 1, 2023

To the editor, 

Many are aware of the ORR School Board’s actions in accepting books recommended by a national advocacy group over the objections of many parents.  Most would agree that illustrations that showed children engaged in sex acts were pornography, but I also am not stating that all of these books were bad.  The School Board was legally required to hear from the parents and they gave them the minimal hearing, but it was clear that they did not listen and there was no desire to compromise.  What did that teach our children?

Tolerance is more than virtue signally by putting books in a library, it is a willingness to listen to others and to compromise.  Children learn more from example than words, and the School Board’s example was if you have a super majority you don’t have to listen or compromise.  That is a trend we see all too often nationally l but one we don’t have to tolerate at our local level.

Diversity is very important and the Southcoast with its rich Portuguese and Cape Verdean cultures has always been inviting to diverse ideas.  The ‘Group Think’ mentality, with one exception, on the ORR School Board clearly does not have diversity of thought. It is time to vote for new people with new ideas.  There is no danger of a “takeover” because rotating terms means it would take at least two years to gain a majority.  There is a danger to the entrenched interests that independent ideas could change things in a way that will reverse sagging test scores.  We owe it to our children and their parents to give it a try.

J. Richard Miller, Marion