This is an open letter to the House Community.
I was distressed to read the account of the cowering of the House School Board, resulting from mob actions as reported in the Quay County Sun, Wednesday, April 23. As a recently retired 16-year school board member, I have had the opportunity to observe more than one mob in action myself.
I understand from actual eyewitness accounts, however, that this was not the ordinary run-of-the-mill mad mob. Apparently, the mob that succeeded in intimidating the School Board actually began operations on Wednesday evening, April 16, as a band of terrorists who literally terrorized a church choir practice preparing for the Easter Sunday Service.
The terrorist held the House school superintendent, his family, as well as the church pastor and the choir members, hostage for over an hour; shouting threats, insults and beating on the church windows.
How ironic for the church to be preparing for an Easter ceremony in which an angry mob calls for the crucifixion of Christ, while a real live mob threatens the people inside the church. This isn’t the Ku Klux Klan terrorizing a church in South Alabama in 1961 or even Northern New Mexico. This is House, New Mexico, 2003.
Our system provides appropriate measures for protest, but cowardly threatening and holding people hostage inside a church is not on the list.
Are people willing to just sweep this incident under the rug and acquiesce to mob rule? What can you do if you want to live in a safe community in House, New Mexico?
I suggest you give your school board members a call to help them gain some backbone. During my service as a school board member, anytime an employee was fired (and sometimes it is necessary to fire employees) all of the six superintendents that I worked with over 16 years always discussed personal action with individual board members and obtained board majority approval BEFORE making any personnel change recommendations. I would be amazed if your board did not only know, but had approved of the firing of this teacher — and probably for a very good reason.
Even brave soldiers sometimes flinch in the heat of combat. Just give them your support to let them know the mob does not represent the majority of the community. They will do what is right.
Your school board needs to reassert their authority with bold actions, because your school board is no longer in charge of the school district. The House school is now controlled by the mob. One person was even quoted in the Sun, putting the community on notice that they are now in charge, instructing that no personnel changes be made and that “We will make every effort to work as closely as possible with you.”
What will the mob instruct the board to do next? Probably they will want to select your next superintendent. You will need a superintendent who is a strong educational leader and skillful politician as the community is already at major risk of losing your school with fewer than 100 resident students, before major disruptions to make the district ungovernable. Only your school board is in a position to govern your school district, promulgate policy, and hire the superintendent.
House is a proud community. You have weathered droughts, hail storms and low commodity prices. You will weather this as well when the “silent majority” finally stands up and takes back control of your community from the mob.
R Kelly McFarland