Vero Communiqué reported on May 25, 2022 about the lack of verbal civility during public comments at Indian River County school board meeting.
Comments cited in our report and written in comments received from the article included: “What a bunch of cowards.”
“You’re all racists…each and every one of you are racists. ““We’re sick and tired of your Commie-Marxist propaganda…and pushing axxl sex in the agenda.”
Now there’s a lack of civility in written opinion pieces.
On May 10, 2022, Jennifer Pippin, Chairman of Mom’s for Liberty Indian River Florida and Co-Founder We the People Indian River County, wrote an opinion piece in Indian River News calling out Stacey Klim, the leader of an Indian River County, FL task force. Ms. Klim leads a task force of 15 community leaders who met eight times since October for two hours each, determining that mental health was the number one priority for the School District. Related article below.
According to Ms. Pippin, “Stacey Klim isn’t someone I would trust to make decisions for my children, or anyone else’s…see how horribly she speaks of parents and community members. She spews hate throughout the county daily of sitting board members and people in the community. She’s a failed politician that lost her school board race years ago and is trying to stay relevant.”
This is a situation where someone of prominence is personally attacking a community advocate. “She spews hate.”
According to Dice House University, “Personal Harassment is abusive, unfair, or demeaning treatment of a person or group of persons that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome and unwanted.”
Simarly, Law Insider defines Personal Harassment means any inappropriate behavior that is directed at and offensive to another person, and which the originator knew or ought to reasonably to have known would be unwelcome or cause offense. It comprises objectional conduct, comment or display that demeans of causes humiliation or embarrassment.
Indian River News cites itself to be “Factual News, Conservative Opinions.” The disclaimer on Ms. Pippens op ed was that “Indian River News is not responsible for the contents of this Editorial. The author has agreed to assume all responsibility for its contents.”
Frankly, we’re surprised and disappointed that Indian River News allowed such an opinion piece to be published in the first place. According to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, the oldest organization representing journalism in the U.S, “ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public a human being deserving of respect. Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.
Mom’s for Liberty Indian River Florida is a 501 (c) (4) nonprofit organization. According to the Community Code of Contact for Nonprofit New York, an organization supporting over 4,700 nonprofit organizations over 35 years, “Verbal harassment includes, but is not limited to, offensive verbal or written comments related… to expression. It also includes deliberate intimidation.”
Nonprofit New York’s Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy are adaptations of Code for America’s Community Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy.
In her op ed Ms. Pippin curiously seems to endorse Paul Wescott for the School Board. “I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the one member in the committee [the aforementioned Task Force?] who truly represents parents. Paul Wescott is the ONLY person I know and trust on this committee and would value any and everything he has to say as a parent and community member.” In fact Mr. Wescott is running for a position as a Trustee of the Indian River County Hospital District. Local Attorney Paul Westcott has filed to run on May 20th, for Indian River County Hospital District. The Seat he is looking to run for is Seat 4.