NASHUA — Doris Hohensee, the school board member under fire for resharing a student’s Facebook post that resulted in heavy backlash against the teen and a subsequent police investigation, said Tuesday the Board of Education is attempting to silence her.
By a vote of 6-3, the board censured Hohensee and has publicly called for her resignation.
“This is a political vendetta,” she told her board colleagues prior to the vote. “ … Silencing is the goal and they will do any means to do so.”
Hohensee, who had several supporters present for Tuesday’s board meeting, stressed that she shared a Facebook post that had already been posted by a community member on a public forum — not the student’s direct post.
The teen’s post highlighted the student’s discontent with a JROTC marksmanship program that had been proposed for a high school campus in Nashua. Several negative comments were directed toward the student, who ultimately removed the post because of safety concerns.
A few days later, board president Heather Raymond and Superintendent Jahmal Mosley issued a release stating that the board was calling for Hohensee’s resignation, although no official vote had been taken by the board until Tuesday.
“My opposition failed to follow the open meeting law when issuing the press release,” said Hohensee, who claims the superintendent called police as an intimidation tactic since no crime had been committed.
“I have no animosity here,” countered Raymond, saying the majority of board members complained to her after seeing the social media post.
In that posting, one person thanked Hohensee for sharing the student’s post, saying, “the student should receive heavy backlash for this.”
Hohensee replied, “ … Sadly, that is not likely to happen. Under Social Emotional Learning programs now being used in our schools, emotions are elevated over logic and reason. Their fears will be acknowledged and they will be thanked for their political activism, as common core trains students to be. There needs to be a backlash from rational parents and students, if they want reason to prevail on this issue."
Raymond characterized Hohensee’s comment as calling on people to harass the student and that was an egregious overstep, she said.
Raymond said she and other board members were appalled, so she felt a moral obligation to take a stand for the student.
Several members of the public attending spoke in support of Hohensee, others agreed with Raymond.
“She has been in the past and is still now the target of a witch hunt,” Diane Lothrop said of Hohensee, adding the board should be ashamed of its coordinated and premeditated political hit on her.
Another resident, Beth Scaer, claimed Hohensee is the victim of a smear campaign. Scaer said Hohensee is being reprimanded for questioning policy proposals and speaking up for staff.
“This is about the children of Nashua. This is why we are here,” said Maria Finnegan of Clock Tower Place. She spoke in support of Raymond while voicing her stance for human decency and honesty.
“Elected officials in our city need to be held to higher standards,” agreed Dave Scalera of Bloomingdale Drive.
He said it is not appropriate for a member of the Board of Education to openly debate with a student or try to intimidate the board president and superintendent with claims of illegal meetings.
“I believe this district is at a crossroad — a crossroad that we can overcome,” said Superintendent Mosley, adding he will not apologize for standing beside Raymond and seeking Hohensee’s resignation. “That public release was for the community to know that I need some help here. That we are all in this together,” he said.