Why are we not surprised that the Hooksett School Board is the latest public elected body to try to silence one of its members?
On Tuesday the board voted 3-2 to strip member John Lyscars of his district email account. Chairman Trisha Korkosz explained her support for the motion this way: "He is putting our district in jeopardy. He is threatening people with a Hooksett email account, sending correspondence without the will of the school board."
He is emailing people without the prior approval of the entire board? Oh, no!
Korkosz continued: "Recently he has sent emails to the Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, the Pinkerton Board of Trustees, Pinkerton Headmaster Mary Anderson, our attorneys and school district staff, and in each of those emails, I believe he is misrepresenting Hooksett School Board positions."
Lyscars, a gadfly before being elected to the board, is iconoclastic. His public behavior can be inappropriate, even strange. He once spoke at a public hearing while dressed as one of Santa's elves. His antics on the school board often are impulsive and ill-considered, even rude.
And yet he is an elected member of the school board, which grants him access to a district email account. Denying that access because he doesn't toe the party line (the real reason) and acts without decorum (the excuse) is a transparent attempt to silence a minority voice.
As board member David Pearl noted, the vote is also counterproductive. District email accounts are subject to the state's right-to-know law. Private email accounts are not. The board has just exempted Lyscars' correspondence from public review. Good job.
The board should reverse this vote at its next meeting.