Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

June 7, 2013

Armed school guards parody has town fuming


CNHI

— GLOUCESTER, Mass. — A school board member is drawing the wrath of this seaport community for accidentially emailing a satrical letter to a mother about her concern over a new breakfast program and linking it to student security proposals that arose in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre.

Roger Garberg, the school committee member, said he intended the email only for his private journal and mistakenly clicked a button that sent it to Lisa Fornero, whose 5-year-old son will enter the town's public school system this fall.

Fornero had written to the school board last year questioning the experimental breakfast program. Her sister, Amanda Kesterson, led an effort to place security guards in local schools after 20 first-graders and six educators were killed Dec. 14 by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Garberg's parody of Fornero's letter quoted her as saying, "The money used for breakfast could be better spent arming staff and training them in the use of modern weapons."

Fornero, a teacher in a nearby town, said Garberg's email popped up in her inbox Monday night, and that "while I was agnry, I wasn't surprised." She said she received a "lacking" apology from Garberg for having missent the email, but not for having written it.

"As an adult, when you sit down at  your computer, whether it's email or a word processing letter, you are putting thoughts to paper," said Fornero. "So whether or not he sent the letter to me, those are the thoughts in his head."

Other school board members said they were outraged at Garberg's intended satire, describing it as horrifying and bullying. Mayor Carolyn Kirk recommended the board consider censuring Garberg.

"This is not an indication of how public officials should behave," said the mayor. "And it should not be condoned in any way, shape or form."

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Details for this story were provided by the Gloucester, Mass., Daily Times.