We posted earlier this week about a threat we received targeted at someone named Matthew. Like we said before, they got our names wrong, so we don’t have much to worry about on that front but now that we’ve had the time to process this, we think that the kind of threat they offered is worrying – and deeply telling – about the opposition here in Montclair.
To start: some folks asked why we didn’t report this to the police, if it was a real “threat”. Obvious answer: because – to the best of our knowledge – it isn’t illegal. People are and should be free to express their opinions about issues. And even the most troubling action threatened – trying to poison our kids’ teachers against our children – also isn’t illegal.
But while it might not be illegal, it’s deeply wrong and horribly toxic for our community. We should be able to have a debate in this town about the important issues surrounding our schools without fear of retribution. No parent should feel scared or silenced and intimidated from voicing their opinion by these kind of threats and this sort of bullying. Unfortunately, it’s marked the behavior of many folks on this issue here. And at too many school board meetings, this sort intimidation – led by Gayl Shepard – had been rampant. These sort of threats are only the latest extension of that sort of aggressive, threatening behavior.
It needs to stop. It doesn’t serve the interests of our kids or our community, and it’s shameful.