What to do: Gilford School Board Stonewalls a Right-to-Know Demand - Granite Grok

What to do: Gilford School Board Stonewalls a Right-to-Know Demand

Gilford School District

2+2 = 5: 

“…it is about the SAU, as a subdivision of the State of NH, assuming a Power to grant Rights to someone as well the Power to obviate the First Amendment Rights of anyone who happens to be on SAU property”

In my last post, it was determined that the District WILL answer a question contained in an RTK (even though I had been told that the District is not required to answer questions or lists).

So, I asked the same question within yet another RTK:

On Fri, Nov 15, 2019 at 2:31 PM Skip <Skip@granitegrok.com> wrote:

Thank you for answering my RSA 91:A QUESTION [on SB142 pertaining to free menstrual products to be provided by the District -Skip]

Now that you have established that the District WILL answer a question posed to it, here is another:

Did the District simply declare or assume that it has the Power to grant a new Right (on its own recognizance) upon an Individual that ALSO places a legal Obligation upon anyone around that person that subverts THEIR Right to Free Speech? 

-Skip

If nothing, I can be persistent (or as others have told me, annoying as all get out). Note that each time, given the previous responses, I narrowed down question so as to eliminate ambiguity and wiggle room EVEN THOUGH THAT WAS MY FIRST QUESTION at the second School Board meeting on this topic…coerced speech leads to coerced thought that, as we know from history, Totalitarianism.

THAT opened up a can of worms and I’m betting I can get my hands on the lawyer’s invoice for the time spent on that one.  Well, that money was wasted as this was the return answer:

From: “Beitler, Kirk” <kbeitler@sau73.org>
To: “Skip” <Skip@granitegrok.com>
Sent: 11/15/2019 2:57:52 PM
Subject: Re: SB 142

We are not experts on the First Amendment. However, we do know that First Amendment rights are not unlimited.  For instance, First Amendment rights of students can be limited where they invade the rights of othersSee Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Com. School District, 393 U.S. 503, 513 (1969).

Kirk

Kirk Beitler
Superintendent of School
Gilford School District
2 Belknap Mountain Road
Gilford, NH 03249

“INVADE THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS”?????  Seriously?

Bad move, really bad move.  Really, you wanted to use Tinker as your example?  You can read about it here but the jist is that high school students put on black arm bands to protest the Vietnam War and the principals moved to “shut down this act of free speech” as being disruptive.  Long story short, the Supreme Court ruled against the school district as

“It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate”

So Tinker doesn’t apply at all.  First, there was no “speaking” involved – only the wearing of arm bands. Second, well, Free Speech. Government was trying to shut down speech it didn’t agree with (in this case, “words” protesting the current war). The result was that GOVERNMENT was limited in what it could do in this case (which turned out to be nothing – the Government was “silenced” if you don’t mind me putting it that way).

Having opinions on just about any issue (ESPECIALLY these two issues), I replied:

From: “Skip” <Skip@granitegrok.com>
To: “Beitler, Kirk” <kbeitler@sau73.org>
Sent: 11/15/2019 4:26:19 PM
Subject: Re[2]: SB 142

>>First Amendment rights of students can be limited where they invade the rights of others

And you have just proved that you flunked Civics.  And Tinker held:

  • “It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate” in the case of SYMBOLC SPEECH.
  • Neither did it say anything about the SAU demanding coerced speech patterns that students (or adults) must follow.

Policy JBAB is not related to Tinker at all – it is exactly the opposite.  In Tinker, it was the students “speaking”. With JBAB, it is Government (the SAU mandating or coercing speech). In a strict sense, the SAU is mandating that a student’s “disruptive” speech is an Obligation on everyone else.  My question has always been: where does the SAU derive the Powers it is assuming it has? You are complete wrong about Tinker; while did place restrictions on what students could say, at no time did the decision state that Government (the school) could force other or modes of speech on others – as the Gilford School Board is planning on doing.

And what ARE those “rights that are being invaded”? What about the true Rights of those the SAU is looking to stomp on? Like other students, staff, and the general public?

So let’s go back to basics.

A true, natural Right, that of which the Founders spoke and enumerated (not created, and not granted – simple enumerated) in the Bill of Rights, is standalone entirely from any others and exists outside of Government.  A Right depends on nothing else other than someone is a Citizen.  With the First Amendment’s Right to Free Speech, which severely limits how Government can censor it, I can speak my mind and say pretty much anything I wish. Given it is a Negative Right, Government cannot stop me unless I am trying to incite IMMEDIATE harm upon someone else by others (yes, I am allowed to yell “FIRE” in a theater, especially if there IS a fire).

However, my Right ends with me – YOU do not have to listen to anything I say.  You don’t have to supply me with anything – opportunity, venue, audio equipment; nothing.  In fact, you can simply walk away – you don’t have to listen as the negative of that Right also exists.  There is no legal Obligation for you to do anything just because I am speaking.

Guidance C says a student has the right to be called by their preferred name and pronouns. The SAU is now claiming it has the Power (as in “Government has Powers, Individuals have Rights”) to Grant such a Right.  Further, it is also claiming the Power to OBLIGATE others’ speech to conform to what the SAU demands.  That is coerced speech – and not allowed by ANY level of Government. And the NH Constitution denies the ability of Government to coerce someone’s Right to Conscience.

So this will now be the sixth time (and the Superior Court judge will not be amused at the number of times you and the SAU have blown me off by refusing to answer a simple question) I have asked.

NH is a Dillon’s Rule State which limits what mere subdivisions are able to do (such as the SAU) unless granted a specific Power by legislation.

Thus, what is/are the authorizing legislation(s) that allows the SAU such Powers to:

  • Create and bestow a new kind of Right
  • Obligate others to conform their speech to that of the SAU’s mandate (e.g., to demand coerced speech of others).

And Tinker doesn’t apply in this case as it is the SAU that is “invading” MY Right to Free Speech and Right of Conscience (NH Constitution). JBAB Guidance C is an example of coercion of Government of someone’s speech.

I remind you that YOU responded to someone else’s question that ANY Citizen (and not just a “student”) on SAU property will be subject to this coercive attempt by this SAU mandate.  Thus, Tinker doesn’t apply at all; that was about student speech. This IS about the SAU demanding speech of others ( as you have made it clear that you will go after Citizens if they call “Frieda” by his birth name, “Felix”. Or any other example you wish to use).

This issue isn’t about Free Speech (even as it is couched in those terms) – it IS about the SAU, as a subdivision of the State of NH, assuming a Power to grant Rights to someone as well the Power to obviate the First Amendment of anyone who happens to be on SAU property.

-Skip

I never did get a response back from Superindent Beitler.

But I DID get a response at the next School Board Policy Committee meeting!

To Be Continued…