Opinion: On school, political discourse in Rochester

Jun 10, 2024

To the editor:

There is nothing more peaceful than waking up to the sounds of birds singing or falling asleep to the orchestra of peepers in Rochester. Unfortunately this peace is peppered when members of my community are expressing racist, and anti-LBGTQ+ ideas, including efforts to ban books that support these marginalized groups, lies about reverse racism identified in the schools (96% white), and by behaving as if social and emotional learning is an attempt to indoctrinate students. They are threatening to dismantle our public schools by using fear tactics, such as shiny flyers with misinformation, urging folks to vote for school committee members who will “protect our children’s innocence,” and labeling books in the high school library as “pornography.” All of the efforts are in the guise of morality.

However, the thing that truly makes my blood boil is that some of the same folks are flying flags that say “F**k Biden” or “FJB,” the latter of which is displayed outside of a current school committee member’s house. This is sending a strong message that foul, hateful language and bullying is an acceptable way of expressing divergent views. In my opinion this goes against all religious and moral values. Students passing by these hateful displays as they ride by on their school buses are truly experiencing an assault on their innocence.

We need to protect our communities from ignorance and disrespect for individual differences. We must all speak up for human rights and against hate, disrespect and deceit.

Debra Tolstonog, Rochester