I take issue with your newspaper’s account (Oct. 5) of the loss of two Portland school board members, which states they “are stepping away … citing a lack of collaboration and tolerance for differing viewpoints, especially those that don’t align with progressive values.”

Sarah Thompson, who is dropping her campaign for re-election, says the board was adamantly opposed to studying the question of removing school resource officers and voted simply to remove them peremptorily. “As soon as someone like myself and other community members brought up opposition …” she said, “then watch out. You’re on the other side now and you’re automatically the enemy.”

Jeff Irish, in his resignation letter, points to an incident in which he says board member Roberto Rodriguez read aloud a private email written to a City Council member by a candidate to a position in the school system. Mr. Rodriguez, he says, urged the superintendent to reconsider that appointment in light of the views expressed – essentially demanding a political litmus test for Portland schools personnel.

Neither of these actions by elected officials of the board represents “progressive values” – at least those of which I am aware and consider to be of utmost importance for those in public service. Rather, they indicate a type of “groupthink” that devalues diversity of opinion, seeks to shut down and even punish dissent, and makes clear that those who practice it are working only in their own interest, not in that of We, the People – whom they are supposed to represent.

Ellen Murphy

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