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The Sun letter to the editor: There are issues with the Hamburg School District

Editor:
I attended the recent meeting of concerned citizens at Erie 1 BOCES, regarding issues within the Hamburg School District. I was uncertain what I expected and what my role would prove to be.

What I experienced was a general fear that concerns could not be generally shared, as people who spoke out could suffer threats of retaliation and sacrifices of their reputations. It was evident also that, unless individuals felt free to speak out, the media would focus on a basis view.

While much of the discussion focused on the misrepresentations on the blog Hamburg Educational Ethics and the recent actions of the board of education, the underlying concerns seemed to highlight the eroding climate within the system, where bullying has extended beyond student to student to faculty/faculty and even faculty/student. No one is secure, within the system. Learning suffers. Individuals have selected agendas. This was underscored by the remarks of a senior student addressing the general issues within the system. His remarks cause me to speak out.

Forget the blog. I, too, have been a focus for its remarks. Forget the board, whose members are unmindful of their responsibilities and why they were elected. I did not support any of the three members recently elected. Remind the union that supported them what is really at issue. Turn the page on the issues of the past and face the future. Board members should not have individual agendas.

I ask the alumni association to form a pressure group, to focus concerns relating to a future for the school district. Hold board members to address an upgrade of the general climate within the system. Pressure the board of education to either remove or place on administrative leave individuals who threaten or bully other staff and/or students.

The board of education has a responsibility to cleanse the system. Unless this evolves, the entire community suffers.

I strongly support Mayor Tom Moses, when he noted how the clouded events within the school system are affecting the village at large.

I served five years as a budget ambassador, hold five community service awards, with membership on the Hamburg Finance Academy Advisory Board, to which I have given funds for scholarships and internships. I am a class of ‘47 graduate of Hamburg High School.

I ask the board to focus on relevant issues. Yes, I also hold a Ph.D. in political science, where I place an emphasis on the right for all citizens to express their views and to not be threatened, when they do so.

Harold Johnson
Hamburg High School Class of 1947
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