Respect should be given when others speak

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Government public meetings generally are not well attended. That's true in Washington County and elsewhere.

But when a hot-button topic or issue hits the agenda for a city council, school board or county board, residents typically come out in large numbers.

At the most recent meeting of the Blair Community Schools Board of Education, parents showed up to voice their concerns and opinions on the district's recommendations for mask requirements for the remainder of the school year during the coronavirus pandemic. Those who wanted to speak, approached the podium and said their piece during the public comment portion of the meeting.

As discussion by board members began, some parents began whispering among themselves or even speaking out when they disagreed with what a board member was saying.

This is not unique to the Blair school board and not unique to the subject of masks. This happens all too often and on various subjects.

While debating these issues, people should be civil with one another. Talking under one's breath or to the person next to you because you don't agree with what a person is saying is just unacceptable and, frankly, it's rude.

As children, we learned the Golden Rule, which is the principle of treating others as one wants to be treated. Those who speak at public meetings want their voices to be heard, but they also need to show others respect as they are speaking — no matter their stance on a subject.

Just because a person has a different view than another, it doesn't give anyone the right to talk over them. They deserve their opportunity to share their views as well.

So please, when attending these public meetings, or even just in general, give your opinion, but then listen to what people have to say and be polite and respectful.

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