No Response is Not the Answer

When previous Derry Town Councils contained two clearly defined factions, the occasional snide remark or verbal attack was a routine part of the Tuesday night sessions. But the councilors were quick to say they nevertheless had high regard for their fellows, despite their opposing views.

The treatment of Donna Green of Sandown, first as a Timberlane Budget Committee member and now as a Timberlane School Board member, is a drastically different story. The district’s reaction to Green, who is acknowledgedly outspoken, is personal. It’s hard to imagine she would get an answer if she asked about the weather.

To an outsider, it looks as if the school board will do anything in its power to support its new superintendent. And Superintendent Earl Metzler seems to think Green and “The Media” are out to get Timberlane. In his June newsletter, he wrote, “…part of my job is managing the message of the school district… This is also one of the reasons why you might read that I, or the district, have no comment relative to specific articles reported by the press. We are on a mission of building up our district, highlighting and promoting all the good, and believe me, there is so much good going on. The press, along with a select few, on the other hand seems bent on the idea that there must be something negative to report on every topic or in every situation, if they look hard enough. And when they don’t find it, they will spin a story to give it that impression.”

While we know some media look for the ugly, this newspaper does not. Reporters are not directed to dig for egregious behavior or “manage” the news. But when something “negative” – censuring a school board member, for example, or a board chairman’s sudden and unexplained resignation – occurs, it is reported, probably on page 1.

Taxpayers should know what officials are doing.

Back to Donna Green. Should she shut up and play by the rules that she questions, and keep silent about what she considers errors in operation? That may be how things work in other states, but not in New Hampshire.
This is a place for government by the people, not a top down, no questions asked autocracy.

Green and the school board have to learn to live with each other. Ignoring her viewpoint while failing to answer her questions publicly won’t do a thing to make it all go away.

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