Monday, 20 March 2023

Schmidt-Hopper: Understanding the ‘rule of law’

I have watched the bravery and determination of the Ukrainians with increasing admiration. Theirs is a fledgling democracy. All of us are fortunate to have a long standing democracy based in large part on the “rule of law” concept.

In the USA, if a citizen is accused of violating a law, she has the right to a jury of her peers. Evidence is presented, and the jury is asked to listen to the evidence, without bias and prejudice, and do their best to sort out the Truth, knowing all the while that the prosecutor wants a conviction, and the defense wants exoneration.

For a community’s children, the elected school board is like a jury. The board of trustees listens to the “evidence,” in other words, advice, requests and requirements of the State Board of Education, OSHA, labor unions, legal counsel, accountants with budgetary guidelines, the local administrators, the teachers and all their support staff, the parents and the children.

The trustees then in closed and public sessions discuss all these variables and come to decisions. This is a difficult task, because they know someone will be dissatisfied with the outcome.

In the end, the community, and the trustees, have one guideline: what is best for ALL the children. This is our “rule of law.”

Public school creates our next generation of citizens, and thereby must be inclusive. The needs of every child must be considered, regardless of intellectual, physical, emotional or socioeconomic status.

The bottom line is the opportunity to learn: reading, mathematics, science and technology, health, team building, leadership, problem solving, communication skills, conflict resolution, artistic expression, and the rewards of diligence and dedication — all while attempting to help the students enjoy the process!

Public schools teach our children how to be part of a community. As a community, we need to teach by example about how to discover points of agreement, and build consensus from there.

I implore everyone on the board to take that first step, for ultimately, we all love our children. Thank you.

Kate Schmidt-Hopper lives in Hidden Valley Lake, California.

Upcoming Calendar

03.21.2023 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Board of Supervisors
03.21.2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Lakeport City Council
03.22.2023 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Collier Avenue housing project public meeting
03.23.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
03.23.2023 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Character Design~Art Class for Teens
03.23.2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Local hazard mitigation plan update
03.25.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
03.27.2023 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Courting The Muse~Mixed Media Art Class
03.30.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
03.30.2023 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Character Design~Art Class for Teens

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