Most important races this election season?
Published 9:12 am Friday, November 11, 2022
This local election season is in the rearview mirror now, but it isn’t too late to say that the races that deserved the most attention were the boards of education races.
School boards have enormous responsibility. There are millions of dollars to spend in our school districts, but beyond that, these boards provide oversight and community monitoring. And, as we all know, their meetings provide an opportunity for anyone to express their opinions, which occasionally are long on hellfire-and-brimstone and short on veracity.
The North Carolina Constitution establishes the right of people here to receive a public education and requires that the legislature “provide by taxation and otherwise for a general and uniform system of free public schools … wherein equal opportunities shall be provided for all students.”
School boards must deal with a variety of issues that make it onto their agenda. Many of those issues are straightforward, sometimes perfunctory. But occasionally the issues are hotter than a poker left too long in the wood stove. Politics sometimes raises its head, opens its mouth and behaves badly.
Teachers should be held to a very high standard, not only in their classroom performance but also in their public behavior.
A prime local example of that occurred in 2018 when a Rutherford County board of education member posted on Facebook that a woman who accused a U.S. Supreme Court nominee of rape could not have been physically assaulted because she wasn’t attractive enough. That member, Brian Gosey, was the subject of serious backlash from a variety of people, including female teachers.
He subsequently decided not to seek re-election. He also has failed for some time now to attend board of education meetings.
Some might be inclined to assume that meant that Gosey, who teaches at a charter school in Cleveland County, saw the error of his ways.
Gosey recently posted a picture of one of his students wearing a costume in a contest at the school. His costume was a dead ringer for the horn-topped one worn by an insurrectionist who stormed the Capitol on January 6. The kid won.
“Tonight one of my students won first place in his age group for best costume. He’s a free thinker with his own opinions and beliefs,” Gosey said in his post, adding, “Every child deserves the same opportunity.”
I emailed Gosey giving him the opportunity to provide his side of the story, but he never responded.
He also did not respond to a local reporter’s questions.
Among the obvious questions would be why a public educator would celebrate and promote a child-student dressing up as a notorious lawbreaker who was part of a black mark on our democracy. One imagines Gosey laughing and joking about it all, thus encouraging other children to do the same.
But Gosey isn’t likely to be called on the carpet because he works for one of the state’s charter schools, which the General Assembly has worked hard to shield from accountability while encouraging their operations to be kept secret from the public.
One wonders whether if that child’s costume had been one depicting General George Thomas, would it have ever made it on stage.
Larry McDermott is a local retired farmer/journalist. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org