News Release: Immediate
May 22, 2019
Member, Nashua Board of Education
Rebuttal to Nashua Board of Education President Heather Raymond, an unidentified quorum of Board members, and Superintendent Jahmal Mosley’s Press Release issued on May 10, 2019, asking for Board member Doris Hohensee’s resignation.
Their press release violated Board policy, the open meeting rule of the Right to Know law, and included many false allegations against Board member Hohensee. It was an over-reach of authority and inappropriately used district funds and resources.
Given the illegal meeting and misleading press release regarding Board participation and approval, an immediate apology and withdrawal of the press release ought to be forthcoming from President Raymond and Superintendent Mosley.
President Raymond, the undisclosed Board majority, and Superintendent Mosley have acted outside the law and outside their legal authority. They have no business being in the public service. They should resign and allow others, who are willing to uphold the law and focus upon academic achievement, to oversee the district.
FALSE REPRESENTATION OF BOARD ACTION – Nashua Board of Education President Heather Raymond misled the public to believe that the Board legally met and voted on a motion asking for Board member Doris Hohensee’s resignation.
On Friday May 10th, President Raymond wrote in an email that:
“a majority of board members each individually contacted me to express outrage and concern over Doris’s behavior.”
The correct action would have been to call a special Board meeting to discuss the matter in public. Instead, Raymond convened an illegal meeting that violated the open meeting rule of the Right to Know Law, RSA 91-A. Raymond met sequentially with a quorum of Board members via email, phone, and direct contact to discuss an issue outside of a publicly noticed meeting. This illegal effort included President Raymond’s admission that she drove to Board member Bill Mosher’s house to inform him and discuss the disagreement with him. Apparently, Mosher did not “individually contact” President Raymond despite her protestations to the contrary. Later, President Raymond denied that she spoke with a majority, or quorum, of the Board, which is contradicted by her May 10th email.
On May 13th President Raymond wrote:
“I agree that we ought to take a vote in public. However, at no time did I discuss this with a quorum of the Board. Several members complained to me as is their right. There was no illegal meeting. The discussion about an imaginary illegal meeting is a calculated distraction to take attention Doris’s behavior.”
No public Board meeting was ever noticed or held. Hohensee was never afforded an opportunity to defend herself publicly from the allegations. No public vote was taken. No minutes of the illegal meeting exist.
President Raymond repeatedly violated the public’s Right to Know law, RSA 91-A by misrepresenting her illegal actions as official actions of the Board and using district resources to do so.
OVER-REACH OF AUTHORITY – Nashua Board of Education President Heather Raymond had no authority to issue the press release on behalf of the board without official board action.
Board President Raymond’s assertion of authority to speak on behalf of the Board on this matter violated Board policy, BBAA – Board Member Authority, which states:
All powers of the Board of Education derived from the State Statutes and the State Board of Education are granted in terms of action as a group. Therefore, individual Board members exercise authority over District affairs only as they vote to take action at a legal meeting of the Board.
The President shall have power only when the Board, by vote, has delegated authority to him or her.
No legal action can be taken except at a duly warned meeting of the Board and by a quorum acting as a unit.
It shall be the practice of the Board of Education to make its members, the district staff, and the public aware that only the Board acting as a whole has authority to take official legislative action.
PRESIDENT RAYMOND COLLUDED WITH SUPERINTENDENT MOSLEY AND UNIDENTIFIED BOARD MEMBERS TO USE DISTRICT RESOURCES – President Raymond conspired under the color of law with Superintendent Jahmal Mosley and an unidentified majority of the Board to use district resources to politicize a difference of opinion.
With the assistance of Superintendent Mosley, President Raymond posted her press release and letter using district stationery on the district website, assuming a false assertion of authority, credibility, and Board approval. Superintendent Mosley knew that there was no legal board meeting or vote authorizing the press release, yet he assisted in this action, using the services of district employees to type, post and disseminate the press release.
Superintendent Mosley, President Raymond, and an unidentified majority of the Board colluded to intentionally deceive the remaining members of the Board, teachers, staff, administrators, parents, students and the public.
President Raymond and Superintendent Mosley’s false and misleading statements resulted in the issuance of press releases by Nashua Teachers’ Union President Adam Marcoux (May 10, 2019) and Greater Nashua NAACP Vice President, Nashua Alderwoman and State Representative Linda Garthwaite (May 15, 2019).
FALSE ALLEGATIONS REGARDING STUDENT PRIVACY – President Raymond falsely accused Doris Hohensee of privacy violations and endangering a student.
Hohensee has never had access to any student records as alleged. She therefore could not have violated FERPA or even “the spirit of FERPA.” The Federal Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects private student information and records that are held by the school district, not public Facebook posts.
The fact is that the student publicly posted political comments on Facebook and requested her information be shared. A Nashua resident shared the student name and information with another political Facebook group and on her own Facebook page, resulting in more re-sharing. Hohensee re-shared this information to a single group and suggested, when asked for clarification, that people simply read the arguments posted on previous Facebook pages to learn what was being said for or against the recently approved JROTC marksmanship program.
Courts have previously determined there is no reasonable expectation of privacy on social media platforms. Hohensee re-shared information that was already in the public domain.
The student gave information to the public in hopes of reversing Board approval of an on campus JROTC marksmanship program. The student also contacted a Union Leader correspondent who wrote a news article naming the student. Of course, the correspondent has not, and never will be, accused of violating the student’s privacy, nor will any other individuals who shared the student’s post, because that does not fit President Raymond’s, the undisclosed Board majority’s, and Superintendent Mosley’s agreed-upon narrative that Hohensee single-handedly “endangered” the student.
Raymond’s unauthorized press release twisted the facts to accuse Hohensee of inciting violence against the student which warranted police protection, after the student received both favorable and unfavorable comments on her public post. Those comments were hardly surprising, given the current polarized political climate and the nature of the student’s post.
Hohensee never asked for a backlash against the student. In fact, she attempted to redirect someone else’s comment asking for a “heavy backlash” to a discussion of the Social Emotional Learning curriculum being used in the district, which is a social engineering program that, among other things, encourages student activism. The blame should be placed on the district, not the student, for any backlash that occurred. But that does not fit Raymond’s, the undisclosed Board majority’s, and the Superintendent Mosley’s narrative, so those facts were omitted.
Hohensee’s response to the request for a “heavy backlash” was:
“Under Social Emotional Learning programs now being used in our schools, EMOTIONS are elevated over logic and reason. [Student] fears will be acknowledged and they will be thanked for their political activism, as Common Core trains students to be. There needs to be a backlash from rational parents and students, if they want reason to prevail on this issue.”
LOGICALLY FALLICOUS “GUILT BY ASSOCIATION” ARGUMENTS USED – President Raymond accused Board member Hohensee of “reckless” behavior for posting a quote from a 1922 American Harvard historian because the author had a radical background.
Holocaust survivor Fred Teeboom points out:
There is nothing wrong with quoting from a despicable Nazi source to make an effective counterpoint, in this instance the evil of social engineering in public education.
For example, when I quote Joseph Goebbels’, “tell people a lie often enough, and they’ll believe it,” does not make me a Nazi.
Raymond attacked Hohensee’s character and motivations rather than the position or argument. That is an “ad hominem” attack. It appeals to the emotions rather than logic or reason.
Ironically, this was precisely the point Hohensee was trying to make, that elevating emotions over logic and reason, via experimental Social Emotional Learning programs in our schools, is dangerous for students. It undermines civil discourse and can eventually lead to violence. Hohensee asserts that this type of behavior modification program is completely inappropriate in public schools.
Hohensee recommends eliminating these behavior modification programs. Hohensee never recommended a backlash against any student. That would be short-sighted, because the curriculum is the problem, not the students.
REQUEST FOR RESIGNATION USED DISTRICT FUNDS – President Raymond, the unidentified Board members, and Superintendent Mosley posted their press release and Raymond’s letter calling for Hohensee’s resignation on the district website and on ETV in an unprecedented politicization of district resources.
As private citizens using their own resources, President Raymond, the unidentified Board majority, and Superintendent Mosley are within their rights to call for a public official to resign. They are not, however, entitled as elected officials or as a district employee to use district resources without formal Board approval. District employees were used to type, post and disseminate the press release. That is a fraudulent use of taxpayer funds.
Any demand for a public official to resign is simply that: a request. President Raymond, the undisclosed Board majority, and Superintendent Mosley have no binding legal authority to remove a Board member. Any such request is simply an expression of opinion. It is yet another example of a hostile Board environment combined bullying by Superintendent Mosley.
Under the requirements of Board policy and the Right to Know law, a majority of Board members must vote in a public session for any action to be a legal Board motion.
Given the illegal meeting and the misleading press release regarding Board participation and approval, an immediate apology and withdrawal of the original press release ought to be forthcoming from President Raymond and Superintendent Mosley.
President Raymond and the undisclosed Board majority have acted outside the law and outside their legal authority. They have no business being in the public service. They should resign and allow others, who are willing to uphold the law and focus upon academic achievement, to oversee the district.
Respectfully submitted by,
Howard Coffman, member Nashua Board of Education
Doris Hohensee, member of Nashua Board of Education
Editor: Image courtesy of a screen grab of Heather Raymond’s unauthorized request for resignation.