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Community members asking questions of the Spotsylvania School Board at its public meetings should expect to be met with a wall of silence. That's how Linda Wieland, chairwoman of the board, manages its community-unfriendly policies, specifically written to ignore community concerns.
Before community members speak at the public-comments portion of the board's agenda, they are advised by the board clerk that it is not a period for questions and answers. This advice runs counter to the School Board Code of Ethics, which states, "I will encourage individual board member expression of opinion and establish an open, two-way communication process with all segments of the community."
The School Board wrote a most convenient contradiction enabling it to disregard the community. Unless a community member is persistent, asking the same question time and again, he is unlikely to get an answer.
Those who ask questions should anticipate smiles, nodding heads, and fatuous statements of desire to foster good community relations, but little else. If that's what Spotsylvanians want from their School Board, remaining absent from public meetings and otherwise silent will ensure that the board's disdain is perpetuated.
Sometimes a Freedom of Information Act request discloses answers known to the chairwoman, but she refuses to answer them because public meetings are not a period for questions and answers. Neither is any other time, especially if you question the board's ethical training and conduct.
Robert N. Fiske