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letter

The Right to Know laws work

To the editor

It’s been many, many years since I have been on the Conval School Board and now I find things don’t seem to change much. Recent headlines in the Union Leader stir unpleasant memories of my three years on the board. The Timberlane School Board has recently voted with a large majority to make it a board rule that individual members will not be allowed to talk to the media about any School Board meeting or votes, etc. The chairman will speak for the board.

Any inquiry by anybody will be referred to the chairman of the board. And now the American Civil Liberties Union has gotten into the act, and served notice that court action will be forthcoming as they exercise a citizen right. Wait until the newspaper hears about this blunder.

Does that bring back memories of dictatorship and information denial to all as determined by the chairman? I fought that battle quite often while on the board. This policy has been tried for many years by school boards and select boards.

Of course the First Amendment of the Constitution says you can’t deny voters their right to know and of course the N.H. Constitution has a big Right to Know law. And more recently Dr. Gail Cromwell, chair of the Temple Select Board, suffered from the same abuse while on the Conval School Board. In fact she received the Loeb First Amendment Award in 2010 for her zeal and determination.

Many new boards get carried away with power until they open their mail from the ACLU.

A trip to court will begin the lawyers fees and they might even get to the Supreme Court. Best to listen to your lawyer.

For the present, in over 30 years of working with the ConVal board I have never been denied any request and appreciate the prompt responses I get.

Fran Chapman

Peterborough

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