HomeHillsborough BeaconHillsborough OpinionHILLSBOROUGH: School board president comments on Cohen’s letter 

HILLSBOROUGH: School board president comments on Cohen’s letter 

Editor’s note: This is the text of the statement read by Board President Thomas Kinst at the beginning of Monday night Board of Education meeting.
Before we introduce this evening’s agenda, I wish to address a letter to the editor that appeared in the Hillsborough Beacon on June 10, 2016, and an accompanying article in the same issue.
The letter to the editor, that was authored by one of the board members, is captioned “School board member Cohen urges public to express views on athletics,” and reflects this board member’s personal opinions that are critical of the district’s school athletics program and those responsible for its administration.
Regrettably, this caption and the contents in the letter and accompanying article can be interpreted as suggesting that the opinions expressed may represent the opinions of the board, or that the opinions expressed by this board member were authorized by the board. Neither is the case.
To be clear, the board has not expressed, and did not authorize any board member to express, an opinion that is in any way critical of the district’s school athletics program or those responsible for its administration. To the contrary, all public statements by the board have been fully supportive of the district’s athletic programs at all levels of athletic competition.
While board members have the right to make public statements, such public statements must be made in the role of a citizen, not board member. To ensure that there is no misunderstanding by the public about a board member’s personal opinion as a private citizen and the collective opinion of the board, the board member is required to make clear in the statement that it was written in his or her role of citizen and not written on behalf of the board.
Toward that end, the board member must identify his or her title as board member and expressly indicate that the letter was neither authorized by, nor written on behalf of, the board. This Letter to the Editor that was written by one of the board members did not follow these guidelines and may leave the readers of the Letter to the Editor and accompanying article with a false impression of the board’s opinions about its athletic programs and the professionals responsible for administration of those programs. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to dispel any such false impression. 
Thomas Kinst 
President, Board of Education 
Hillsborough 

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