Meghan Brinkley, a fifth-grade teacher, wants everyone to know how it felt to be part of the group that showed up at Wednesday's Mecklenburg County commission meeting to speak for higher teacher pay.
Commissioners' Chairman Trevor Fuller insisted that no one speak about the budget until June 11, when there's a public hearing scheduled. So instead, the people who had turned out for teachers talked about the importance of teachers without specifically addressing the budget. According to Brinkley, the speakers were respectful of commissioners' time limits and procedures, but that respect was not reciprocated.
She wasn't exaggerating the nature of James' tweets. Here's a sampling of more than a dozen comments he sent out during the meeting (#meckbocc is the board of county commissioners, #cmsbd is the school board or CMS in general, and #ncga is the General Assembly):
CMS teachers who are supposed to know the rules and follow the rules aren't really doing either.
Is the teacher that dragged down students at the wrong time at fault for not knowing the rules or for flaunting them?
Too bad #cmsbd didn't spend that time to address the #ncga since it is the legislature that has to provide raises not #meckbocc
Do it for 'the children' - that phrase has covered a lot of public school sins.
I can see why #cmsbd has such a bully problem. Mob rule. Gang of teachers attack #MeckBOCC #meckcounty over budget. Should be at #ncga
Utter contempt - distain shown by #meckbocc @BentleyCommish @meckcommish towards the group of teachers in attendance last night was epic
This rhetoric reflects poorly on all #meckbocc.
But here's what I try to remember: Coming to speak to elected representatives is a big deal. Most people hate public speaking; they're standing before the mikes only because they care so much.
And without people who care about the business our government does, none of us -- officials or the journalists who cover those bodies -- would have a job.
So I'll give the last word to this tweet from another Charlotte teacher:
A friendly reminder to our #meckbocc: we are a big voting base. If you don't value us, we'll elect people who do.