The student news site of Jonathan Alder High School

The Pioneer Press

The student news site of Jonathan Alder High School

The Pioneer Press

The student news site of Jonathan Alder High School

The Pioneer Press

Voters and students should be more informed, board needs accountability

Jonathan+Alder+High+School+front+office
Maddie Saiter
Jonathan Alder High School front office

According to the Ohio School Boards Association,The board is a policymaking body and members are the chief advisers to the superintendent on community attitudes.” Since these responsibilities have potential to change the course of learning and student lifestyle, it’s important for both students and the community to stay informed on who is running, what their beliefs are and what qualifications they have met in order to make rational decisions about all of their responsibilities. Voters should always speak up when they need their voice to be heard.

The Jonathan Alder School Board election was held Nov. 7, 2023 with six candidates running for three seats. Two members were reelected, Steve Votaw and Bill McCartney, and a new member, Bruce Hooley, who took office Jan. 8.

When I think of the qualities of a school board member from a student perspective, I picture mine and my teachers’ biggest advocate, someone who believes in the capabilities of preparing me for life after high school. I expect them to have high standards and to celebrate when I step out of my comfort zone. Moreover, since I can’t vote for myself, I expect community members to research and vote according to what will be the best for students.

When I look at our current school board, I worry that they will have trouble meeting these standards. Hooley in particular has never been an advocate for public education, or students who are in the public education system. He even removed his own children from the district he represents. 

An instance of Hooley not supporting students is when he commented on one of The Pioneer Press’s articles in April of 2021, two years before Hooley became a candidate for school board. Sophomore at the time, Jackson McCoy wrote about ways the school board could be better in an article titled “Plain City, do better.” The reaction to the article was strong, and Hooley was one of many who left a comment. In his comment, he criticized one sentence in the article and followed it up with, “I would be happy to educate the author or the adviser on matters of journalistic integrity and the practices that have served me well at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Salem Media Group. Or, perhaps you would simply prefer to continue in ignorance, which is the choice to ignore available facts that would expand your world-view beyond your [preconceived] notions and opinions.” 

McCoy took the feedback and corrected his error, and our advisor replied and invited him to join our journalism class as a guest speaker.

Hooley never replied, passing up an opportunity to share his experience and support the students of our district. Hooley’s failure to respond makes me wonder if the true purpose of the comment was not to offer sincere support, but to belittle a 16-year-old journalist who was still writing his very first articles at the time. 

Hooley’s X, formerly Twitter, account also contains substantial evidence which shows he does not support the public school system. He made a post in 2021 saying, “Put your kids in private school or home-school them. Otherwise, they’re just pawns of NEA and its woke branches, like UA Education Association.” The NEA is the National Education Association, which is the national branch of local chapters, like our own Jonathan Alder Education Association.

At the same board meeting where Hooley was sworn in, the board also approved In-Lieu-Of Transportation requests for two of his children, who attend Worthington Christian, in addition to six other families. Hooley abstained from the vote. 

Elsewhere on Hooley’s X account are comments showing transphobia, sizeism and homophobia.

It’s public posts like this that make me worried. Someone who calls students in the public school system “pawns of the NEA” and alludes to mental illness because of gender identity should not be on a public school board. Since Hooley is so comfortable making heinous statements about the public school system, I worry about his policy making abilities and if his opinion on public schools and their students might interfere with helping to make our school a place where all students feel safe. 

JA BOE meetings (Maddie Saiter)

These are not a representation of the views of the Jonathan Alder community. 

Imagine being a Jonathan Alder student who is transgender, plus sized, an immigrant or someone who needs affordable housing and reading a board member’s post completely alienating you and deeming you less valuable than another student. In his posts on X, Hooley implies that encouraging students to respect differences is “nonsense,” but teaching students fundamental respect is crucial for life after high school. 

This is why the importance of informed voting comes before voting for whoever aligns best with your political views. You might not agree with people who identify as trans, but they still exist, and they go to school right here at Jonathan Alder. Just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t make their life less valuable than a cisgendered person, and they have the same right to an education as anyone else. 

Going forward, I think it’s important for all students to know that even if you’re not able to vote, you can still hold school board members accountable. After all, they don’t know what life is like in the modern classroom. The Jonathan Alder School Board holds meetings on the second Monday of every month, where you are able to attend and sign up for a slot to speak. Information about the school board and their meetings can be found on the Jonathan Alder Local Schools website

As the school year continues, if you feel like your voice isn’t being heard, I encourage you to sign up for one of these slots and hold the Jonathan Alder School Board accountable for their policy making. 

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article inaccurately used a tweet from a parody X (formerly twitter) account impersonating Bruce Hooley. Hooley’s actual X account handle is @BHOOLZ. This was inaccurate and we apologize for any misunderstandings that resulted in that printing. We are student journalists committed to learning through the process of writing–and from the mistakes that we make along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Contributor
Maddie Saiter, Staff Writer, Social Media Manager
Maddie Saiter is a second-year journalism student, who is a senior this year. You can recognize Maddie by her awesome hair. You’ll often see Maddie playing the guitar, or at least doing something musical, as she is also in the Marching Band. Maddie intends on being a marketing major at Ohio University. 

Comments (20)

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  • S

    Sidney TroeschFeb 2, 2024 at 8:09 AM

    So proud of you Maddie!!!

    Reply
  • E

    Emma ShepherdJan 28, 2024 at 2:00 PM

    This 100% needed to be said. I am not only SO impressed with this piece, but I am SO proud of you for how maturely you wrote it. The board is supposed to represent the school district, but how can that be true if not everyone within the school district can impact the election. This makes me so proud to be a Pioneer Press alumni, keep up the great work and keep sticking up for yourselves and the student body!

    Reply
  • M

    MikaylaJan 26, 2024 at 11:42 PM

    Such a powerful article! It’s nice to have a peer that can advocate for the student body. I’ve been concerned for myself and others that have unique circumstances; and if anything will change to put everyone’s concerns at ease

    Reply
  • G

    GideonJan 26, 2024 at 11:36 PM

    This is a well written piece that is cohesive and obviously well thought out. However, I think it contains a logical flaw that should be addressed, as well as the implicit assumption causing it. You said in the article, “[Mr. Hooley’s views] are not a representation of the views of the Jonathan Alder community.” Is it not true that Mr. Hooley was democratically elected through the voting of his constituents in Madison County and Union County? Didn’t Mr. Hooley have to win over a large number of his constituents– people in the Johnathan Alder community– in order to be elected? If I recall correctly, there were certain candidates who held views reminiscent to yours on the ballot. If the views you represent in the article were a representation of the views of the Johnathan Alder community, then these candidates would’ve been elected. But Mr. Hooley was elected and they weren’t.
    The implicit idea that drives this article is the idea that those who voted in favor of the candidate you don’t like are either bigots or uniformed. This idea is exemplified when Hooley’s public Twitter account is treated as bombshell evidence that no voter could have possibly known about prior to voting for him. People in the community were just as educated or more about his stances on different issues then you are, and they voted for him anyways.

    Reply
    • M

      Maddie SaiterJan 27, 2024 at 6:47 AM

      Hey, Gideon! Thank you for your response. I wanted to explain the importance of why I said “Jonathan Alder community” instead of “Plain City community.” I completely agree with you, the Plain City community did vote for Mr. Hooley, but the Jonathan Alder community did not. The Jonathan Alder community is students who aren’t eligible to vote and teachers who don’t live in the district. Maybe people in the Plain City community are completely aware of Mr. Hooley’s online presence, but the actual idea that drives the article is that students can hold their board accountable at school board meetings.

      Reply
    • L

      lilyJan 27, 2024 at 6:59 AM

      womp womp :p

      Reply
    • A

      AngelicaJan 27, 2024 at 1:48 PM

      Hi Gideon,
      I want to point out a few thing as a fellow fan of logic. Your post contains several logical fallacies:

      The first is a False Dilemma / Excluded Middle. The argument you make presents a binary view of voter motivation – either they support Mr. Hooley’s views or they are bigots/uninformed. This ignores other possible reasons why people might have voted for him, such as name recognition, lesser of two evils, or agreement with some but not all of his policies. You reduce the Complexit of Voting Behavior to this single issue. Your argument oversimplifies the reasons behind voting behavior and election outcomes. It neglects factors like voter turnout, the influence of political campaigns, Hooley’s name recognition, and his radio platform could all impact voter decision-making, and the possibility of voters prioritizing certain policies over others. We do not know that all voters were “just as educated”.

      Hasty Generalization: Your argument assumes that because Mr. Hooley was elected, the majority of the communitv must share all his views. This overlooks the complexity of political views and the fact that peoble mav vote for a candidate for various reasons not necessarily aligned with all the candidate’s views.

      You appear to make an Ad Hominem argument when you imply that Maddie’s views are invalid because they represent a minority viewpoint in the community, as evidenced by the election results. This attacks the author’s circumstances rather than addressing the argument’s content.

      You also set up a classic Straw Man because vou claim all voters of Mr. Hoolev are either bigots or uninformed. The original article did not make this claim, your argument is refuting a point that wasn’t made.

      You also use an Appeal to Popularity. Your argument implies that Mr. Hooley’s election victory validates his views, suggesting that because a majority voted for him, his views must be a true representation of the community. The popularity of a view does not inherently make it more valid, true or moral.

      Reply
  • H

    Hilary FrambesJan 26, 2024 at 10:57 PM

    Maddie… this is an incredibly well written and thought out article. And, you brought the receipts! Whenever I start to feel despondent about the future, I look to your generation because I know you truly understand and care about equality for all. And, you will go the extra mile by bravely and publicly calling out injustice.

    Reply
  • K

    Kayci BrahlerJan 26, 2024 at 8:36 PM

    As a voter and as a JA alum, I would only hope other voters would want to elect officials to the board who care, respect, and want to represent ALL students in their community. I continue to be proud of students like Maddie, and now former student, Jackson, who write articles like this. Keep it up, Pioneer Press. Thank you staff for allowing the students to have a voice.

    Reply
  • M

    Meygan BJan 26, 2024 at 7:58 PM

    Well written Maddie! I agree with everything you have pointed out and our community needs to take this into consideration for next vote. Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
  • A

    Ashton KennedyJan 24, 2024 at 1:07 PM

    Preach Maddie!! Glad someone had the courage to take action!! Awesome writing!!!

    Reply
  • A

    AshleyJan 24, 2024 at 12:39 PM

    What a way to be an advocate. Well said, Maddie!

    Reply
  • O

    Olivia ZimmermanJan 24, 2024 at 12:34 PM

    This is a wonderful article Maddie!! So proud of you for bringing light to a serious issue!

    Reply
  • J

    Jesus MJan 24, 2024 at 11:56 AM

    Such a well written article Maddie!! They need to do better!!

    Reply
  • C

    Caitlyn FeayJan 24, 2024 at 11:37 AM

    Wonderful article Maddie. I liked how you used details to back your claims and how you’re speaking up for people who might not be heard. I appreciate how detailed your writing is!

    Reply
  • J

    Jacob CameronJan 24, 2024 at 11:32 AM

    The students who Hooley called mentally ill and those he speaks out against didn’t even have the opportunity to vote against him. Someone hateful like him should not be allowed to have power over students. Very well-written Maddie, this is a very important topic for PC residents to know about.

    Reply
  • J

    Jack BairdJan 24, 2024 at 11:23 AM

    It’s important that ALL Jonathan Alder students feel safe and welcomed.

    Reply
  • E

    Emma KennedyJan 24, 2024 at 11:20 AM

    Awesome writing Maddie!! I’m so proud of you!!

    Reply
  • F

    fionaJan 24, 2024 at 11:19 AM

    Very well said! Thank you for calling attention to this, do better bruce hooley!

    Reply
  • J

    Jenna KeifferJan 24, 2024 at 11:18 AM

    As a Jonathan Alder Alumni, it brings me so much hope and pride to see students speaking out and standing up for what they believe in. This article is well written and you can feel the passion in the writer’s voice. Very impressive!!!!

    Reply