To the Editor,

I sent the following note to the Chatham Board of Education (boemember@chatham-nj.org) a couple of days ago. With no response yet and spring break upon us, I post it here for consideration:  
  
I am a Chatham parent who has received e-mails from both Education Counts and Education Focused. I assume my address has come from a district list, and I have no problem with receiving information. Like junk mail, I can delete what I don’t want. Neither group displayed e-mail addresses themselves. Since each group presents different views on an issue, which seems to me the core of the democratic process we try to teach our children, I'm baffled as to why the Board has publicly decried the use of the list by one organization but not the other. The district has made clear its message through multiple venues including e-mails, the PTO newsletters and district website.

It seems to me that a free society encourages open debate, and the current debate is a great teachable moment for our students. It lets them witness free expression, the open exchange of ideas, and a democratic vote. We have to give the voters credit for the ability to sift through the available information, think for themselves, and reach a conclusion, understanding that we may agree to disagree after hearing both sides. Denying that there are two sides of an issue and implying that the electorate is not capable of evaluating both sides does a disservice to the entire community.  

If the Board doesn’t want e-mail used as a communications medium, will the district post a link to The Alternative Press  (https://tapinto.net/towns/chatham) on its website, with directions to click “Opinions” on the menu bar, so that voters can read all of the letters about the referendum, both pro and con, going back to February?  It makes for fascinating reading and gives insight into how we got to where we are today.  

Regards,
Katie Horan