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TO THE EDITOR: I have watched with increasing concern as the newest members of the Bernards Township Board of Education (BOE) reject legitimate sociology textbooks because of what they perceive as a “liberal bias.”
Board member Larry Rascio does not like a two-paragraph summary of the shooting of Michael Brown, the Black man in Ferguson, Mo., whose death ignited protests and an ensuing Justice Department investigation on racism within the Ferguson Police Department.
Like Mr. Rascio, I have a detail I think should have been included: the fact that the police officer who shot Mr. Brown was investigated and exonerated, whereas Mr. Rascio wants Mr. Brown’s height and weight listed.
And thats the thing about our complaints: They’re editorial. As a news writer, I can tell you that everyone who writes must choose among many facts which to include and which to exclude. It can be an excruciating process.
In this textbook, the subject is presented in a factually accurate way. Its interesting why Mr. Rascio would choose Michael Browns size – he was 6-4 and 292 pounds – since it was a talking point used in right-wing media like Fox News Channel (full disclosure: My former employer) in the weeks after the shooting.
What wasnt said, however, is that the police officer who shot Mr. Brown is himself 6-4 and 210 pounds.
So, what is the point?
Similarly, board member Keith Molinari complains about the depiction of women in U.S. history as marginalized, calling it anti-male.
Unlike Mr. Molinari, who works in pharmaceutical sales, I minored in Womens Studies at Rutgers University.
From being denied admittance to higher education, to the right to vote, to being legally defined as the property of our husbands and many, many other examples – including the current attacks on reproductive health taking place today – women have been marginalized. Period. End of sentence.
To somehow see that as being anti-male reflects a peculiar and deeply personal opinion of Mr. Molinari.
But board member Csilla Csipak’s comments at the BOE meeting this past Thursday really takes the cake. She rejects a sociology textbook because it states, “Women play supportive roles in the Catholic church.”
What is wrong with that statement? To all reasonable people, it is true.
As if that’s not shocking enough, in reading a chapter about why some young people forgo parenthood, she whines, “Where does it say having children is a joy?”
Probably in a chapter about why young people choose parenthood, I imagine.
These are but a few examples of the shocking commentary by our five newest members of the BOE. In their quest to “rid textbooks of a liberal bias,” they seek to inflict a far-right conservative bias.
There will never be a textbook that reflects back every personal opinion the far-right five seem to expect. The truth is, when such unique and personal complaints doom a textbook, there will never be another textbook purchased for Ridge students.
And it is the students of Bernards Township who are paying the price.