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

Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

A recent opinion column in The Pioneer Press expressed concerns about my election to the Jonathan Alder Board of Education and the board’s accountability to the student body.

Please, allow me to address some of those concerns.

First, I want to thank the author, Maddie Saiter, for correcting a factual error in the original version of the piece and for removing a later social media post that inaccurately stated I read her column in advance of its publication.

As a professional reporter for four decades, I welcome the free exchange of ideas and prioritize the necessity of accurate reporting. That is the only way journalism can effectively accomplish its mission of oversight and accountability in a non-partisan fashion.

I also want to commend Miss Saiter on her writing talent and organizational skill in composing the piece. While it is clear we differ in our world view on some current cultural issues, I respect the time and talent she devoted to writing this article.

JA students, teachers and staff members should be assured that their safety is of paramount importance to me and to the school board and administration. I am willing to meet with anyone in our district about any physical, psychological or mental-health concern they may have in the hopes of addressing and alleviating that concern.

I would also like to clarify a point in the story that stated I was “invited” to speak with the Pioneer Press staff in 2021 and “ignored” that request. I did not receive a call, email, text or voicemail extending that invitation, which I now know came in a comment the class advisor posted below my comment on a misstatement about the Establishment Clause in the U.S. Constitution.

It was not my intention to ignore the invitation. I simply never saw it. Had I received that invitation then, I would have gladly agreed to speak with the Pioneer Press staff. Likewise, if it would be helpful to address any student or staff concerns now, I would gladly agree to speak with the Pioneer Press staff or any class.

Regarding the portion of the headline on the Pioneer Press story, “Voters and students should be more informed….”, I attempted to be fully transparent in my campaign for the board. I attended every candidate forum to which I was invited. I held an open house for any interested voters at my home. I accommodated multiple voters in my home who asked to meet with me in private. I posted detailed videos on social media outlining my values and vision for the district. My yard signs and campaign materials made clear my pledge to: “Protect Parents’ Rights; Preserve Alder’s Heritage.”

No candidate runs for school board anticipating 100% support in the election. I am grateful that, along with Bill McCartney and Steve Votaw, I was elected by a clear majority. I view my duty as a board member to serve all voters, not just those who voted for me.

I am one voice on a five-member board. I do not and will not speak for the board on any single issue. As a board, we collaborate, discuss, carefully weigh all options and are willing to fully explain our collective decisions, which are aimed at driving the best student outcomes in our district.

Recent tests of our students show a remarkable improvement in reading scores from the significant learning loss suffered across America in public education during the Covid pandemic. My social media comments critical of public education, some of which were cited in the Pioneer Press story, have always been aimed at those determined to keep students out of the classroom or at districts that compromise the learning environment with unwise decisions at the administrative or board level.

These learning gains in our district over the past two years are a tribute to Alder’s outstanding leadership, our teachers, staff members and students, as well as a Board of Education I am privileged to join.

Regarding the portion of the headline that, “(the Alder) board needs more accountability,” please know that every board member’s email is published on the district web site. We make time for and welcome community input at each public board meeting. Each board member is approachable while attending an array of extra-curricular activities in which our students participate. And, of course, each board member – if they so choose – stands for re-election every four years.

If there are additional avenues to foster “more accountability” than currently exist, I know the board would thoughtfully consider such suggestions.

– Bruce Hooley, JA School Board Member

Letters to the editor can be sent to [email protected] for publication consideration.

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  • A

    AngelicaFeb 5, 2024 at 5:09 PM

    Mr. Hooley, your attempts to dismiss your offensive comments are unconvincing and demonstrate a lack of accountability for your harmful statements on social media. It’s unsurprising that your defense mirrors the ineffective excuses presented during your campaign.

    You criticized a sign in an Olentangy School advocating for respect and inclusivity, branding it as “woke nonsense.” By opposing this message, you implicitly endorse the converse: discriminatory behavior, a stance seemingly supported by your public posts.

    Consider the following points:

    Many of your public statements could violate the Ohio Educator Code of Conduct, which demands educators maintain the profession’s dignity and adhere to high ethical standards. Although you’re not directly subject to this code, the teachers you target on your radio show are, holding them to a higher standard than you seem to uphold.

    If students replicated your tweets on clothing or voiced similar sentiments in class, they’d breach the school’s handbook. Our students are expected to maintain a higher level of conduct than what you exhibit.

    Your public statements would likely create severe HR issues in most workplaces, making you a problematic employee. Your recent departure from the radio station might reflect the consequences of your contentious behavior. This should prompt reflection, as most employees are held to a more rigorous standard.

    Despite publicly identifying as a Christian and hinting at a change of heart in your blog (“Why do I care”), your continued sharing of provocative content contradicts this message. As someone professing faith, you’re called to seek forgiveness rather than justify or excuse your action as you did in this article.

    Mr. Hooley, the core issue extends beyond differing perspectives on cultural matters or invitations to address a class. It’s about the manner in which you communicate your views. Students at JA and younger generations are moving beyond the divisive tactics you employ in cultural debates. History consistently condemns such thinly veiled bigotry, which is never recognized as a constructive approach to societal issues.

  • J

    Jackson McCoyFeb 5, 2024 at 12:48 PM

    Hi Mr. Hooley! I was the student who wrote the article in 2021 you commented on. I question why you put the word “invite” in quotation marks. The intention behind Mrs. Marling’s comment was in fact an invitation to speak to the staff, so why put the word in quotations? While it may just be you quoting Maddie’s article, it comes across quite negatively.

    I do not believe that invitation needed to be extended any more than it was. You stated in your comment you would be happy to come into our newsroom and educate us, and did not respond to a request for you to do so. Additionally, Mrs. Marling left her email for you to reach out, further indicating our openness to your presence and perspective.

    Your comment on my article was you proposing to give us your advice, insight and overall understanding of the media world. You were invited to do this, and you did not. I find it somewhat hard to believe that you stated you would be willing to give a lesson on media law to our class and then never followed up on that. You pride yourself on journalistic experience, so why didn’t you follow up — something I’m sure you’ve done with sources in the past?

    The comment Maddie mentions in particular inspired me to continue studying journalism, and in my first semester I took a Media Law course with Gregory Korte, a reporter with similar amounts of experience in the field of journalism. I hope you have a great day and continue to read Maddie’s work, my work and the work of any members of The Pioneer Press.