I live in New Jersey and of that I am proud. I sometimes think of us as the California of the East Coast. We're a fairly progressive state.

I live in Parsippany, which is in Morris County in New Jersey. Of that I am less proud, especially today. Here's why.

The Morris County Freeholders (if you are wondering what Freeholders are and what they do, as I was, here is a site that tells all....http://www.co.morris.nj.us/freeholders/freeholderjob.asp met tonight at the Morris County administration building on Court street in Morristown, NJ to consider a resolution urging the Parsippany school board to punish the high school teacher in Parsippany who is holding a mock war crimes trial of President Bush. Regardless of how one feels about Bush's foreign policy, this is a blatant attempt to silence anyone who chooses to look at a side of an issue, probably not popular by many, especially in a Republican stronghold, like Morris County. This is about freedom of speech.

So, I wrote a letter to the Editor of our state's newspaper. We'll see if it get published. This is what I said.

Dear Editor,
I have always been proud to live in a state that is often at the head of the class, a leader and model for other states to follow when it comes to issues of Social Justice and Progress. However, today, I am less than proud to say that I am a resident of Parsippany, NJ. The Morris County Freeholders met tonight at the Morris County Administration building in Morristown and as I understand it, passed a resolution urging the Parsippany School Board to punish the High School teacher in Parsippany who is holding a mock war crimes trial of President Bush. Do the Freeholders need a reminder that the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees "the freedom of speech" and as far as I understand, this applies to High School teachers. Shame on them for trying to stifle not only the teacher's rights, but those of the students to learn all sides of the issues of our day. I applaud this teacher. I hope that many of my fellow residents will also speak out against this censure and that the Parsippany School Board will not follow the Freeholders resolution.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does." Margaret Mead


Diane S. said...

Ah Sherril,

Don't be so hard on New Jersey. Try being proud to be from Texas. Not only did we breed the current president of the United States, we just fired a teacher for criticizing him to his class.

A mock War-Crimes trial would never even make it past the "Ha-ha" stage here.

- Diane

Sherril said...

I am wondering how it feels to be in a state where the majority hold views so different from ones own. I would be interested for you to expoind on that for me sometime.