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I am writing a response to the Shakopee Valley News article dated Oct. 7 called "Banker on leave following Facebook post."

The article goes in detail about a local Shakopee banker Tara McNeally, who is a parent of children in the Shakopee School District going to a Sept. 27 school board meeting.

McNeally took issue with the school board member after a supposed lack of interest by those members, when another parent was raising concerns over facemasks causing further problems with the parent’s daughter' disability, which led to McNeally calling out the actions of her local school board officials on Facebook.

Let’s remind everyone that school board members are publicly elected officials like city council, state legislatures, etc. McNeally statements on her Facebook account were not anything out of the ordinary in criticism of public officials. There was nothing threatening or violent about her statements of those school board members in which did not need to result in the school official contacting her employer, which apparently led to her being suspended from her job without pay

This display of school officials and social media sets a dangerous precedence in civic engagement. The issue is school officials that cannot take criticism or dissenting opinions acting in a way that could silence opposition, which is the dangerous precedent.

This happened at the Shakopee School Board and can happen at any school board or other elected boards of government. This situation reminded of a quote by our first president George Washington in an address to the officers of the army which he stated “For if men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter.”

You as an American have a right to criticize a public official in a non-violent civil matter without the type of treatment McNeally received from school officials and her employer.

Josh D. Ondich

Prior Lake

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