The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

May 11, 2014

An apology

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

— I have come to conclusion that it is necessary for me, as a staff member of the Midd-West School District, to tender an apology to Rev. James Plank for what was written to him in an email by Ronald Wilson, a member of the Midd-West School District Board, though it is not my responsibility to do so.

My entire teaching career has been spent with Midd-West, and in those 30-plus years, I have never been so ashamed of comments made by a board member. Mr. Wilson’s attempt to coerce the entire staff of the district with the threatening email he sent us was bad enough, but how can anyone send such an intimidating message to a minister?

My maternal grandfather was a lay minister with the Methodist church, and the thought that an elected official would threaten a man in the same profession as to bring legal action against him simply because he disagreed with said official appalls me.

What’s more, considering the reaction of the public, Mr. Wilson’s comments may have done irreparable harm not only to the integrity of the school board but also to the reputation of the school district and its taxpayers as a whole. I do believe the majority of the board members were not aware of Mr. Wilson’s emails. Unfortunately, his actions can be perceived by some as the responsibility of the entire board.

I am no legal expert, but it seems to me that, as a representative of the school board, if any legal action is brought against Mr. Wilson, it could be leveled against the school board as a whole, tarring completely innocent people with accusations they in no way deserve. If the outcome were to fall against the school board, it would be the taxpayers of the Midd-West School District who would be held responsible for any monetary awards, and they are certainly not guilty of using intimidation tactics against Rev. Plank.

Mr. Wilson may have put the school board and residents of the Midd-West School District in what could be an untenable position. So, as I did after you apologized to the staff for your inexcusable email to us, Mr. Wilson, I call on you to resign your position on the school board for the good of not only the residents of the district but also for the board itself.

Rev. Plank, I am sure you have striven to forgive those affiliated with the Midd-West School District and even Mr. Wilson himself. However, I am glad that you “will not be bullied” by an elected official who has the outrageous belief that he can intimidate a constituent into silence when the constituent disagrees with him. 

Judy Buranich, Selinsgrove