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Letter: Mahar lesson

While I have left Franklin County, I still follow the news in my former town of Orange and was troubled to read the headlines regarding the suspension of Mahar faculty Mike Magee and the response by the Mahar administration to students seeking to support him via Facebook and Twitter.

While I was a member and chairperson of the Orange Elementary School Committee, Mr. Magee and I did not agree on the point of regionalization and its benefits for our town but I would never presume that in my role, nor in my role as a School Committee member we would support an administration that squashes dissident opinions and impinges upon student’s First Amendment rights and their desire to become engaged in civic matters.

Is it not a benefit to our schools to foment active citizenship, engagement and participation? Voting statistics in Orange would suggest that encouraging soon to be voters to become engaged in issues that affect their lives could only benefit the democratic process. A “teachable moment” and opportunity for meaningful democratic dialogue was lost. Orange has had its share of less-than-transparent processes and could learn a thing or two from these students.

JOANIE COHEN-MITCHELL, Ed.D.

Former chair of the Orange Elementary School Committee

Greenbelt, Md

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