Source: Sherman Publications

Letter to the editor
Reader supports following Hyer’s precedent

February 29, 2012

Dear Editor,

As a longtime resident, I was shocked to find out that elected members of the Clarkston School Board have to take an oath to give up their first amendment rights to speak freely to those that have elected them. The notion that board members must make a disclaimer before speaking to the public, violates both the intent, and purpose of the first amendment of our Constitution. Thankfully five days into the gag order, school board Treasurer Steven Hyer has restored those rights back to all board members.

He and three students went to WJR radio studios, Feb. 18, for a interview that was not approved by the board. This, after being told five days earlier that board members who use their title without first disclaiming they are not speaking for the board is a "crystal, crystal, clear" violation of board bylaws, and is "totally inappropriate behavior" for a board member to engage in, but Mr. Hyer ignored that mandate and did so anyway.

Bylaw 0143.1 states: "The individual making the public statement shall not use his/her board title." And "this bylaw shall apply to ALL statements and/or writings by individual Board members not explicitly sanctioned by a majority of its members." There are no exceptions to the rule for opinions that agree with a board resolution. Again, that much is "crystal, crystal clear."

Mr. Hyer has effectively set precedent for the rest of the board to follow. I encourage all Clarkston school district board members to follow Mr. Hyer's example and speak out, meet and talk with students, go to the public and give your opinion. And go into the classrooms that Mr. Hyer "has seen excellent work being done in" and experience that same "excellent work" firsthand.

Mr. Hyer's actions of late have shown the public that board members still have a God given right to speak freely, and that doing so IS the honorable thing to do.

However, I am dumbfounded as to why he would present a motion to reaffirm board bylaws and policies, passed 7-0, that he didn't believe in, and never planned to abide by. Thanks to Mr. Hyer, the gag order has been lifted.

I would like to be the first to welcome the Clarkston school board back to America, the land of free and the home of the brave. Board members can now exercise their new found freedoms as diligently as Mr. Hyer has. It would be "bad boardsmanship" not to do so. Let freedom ring!

Michael L. Powell

Independence Township