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Editorial: This F-word has no place in a school board meeting

Let’s be bold for a moment and decide manners still matter. Sure, that may seem like a quaint idea in this day and age when:

• The leader of our country regularly takes to Twitter to denigrate those he disagrees with.

• Actor Robert De Niro uses the Tony Awards as a platform to oppose the president, forcing TV censors to bleep out his uses of the F-word on a Sunday night.

• A local city councilor chases publicity in his losing bid for Congress by starting a TV ad with “F— the NRA.”

It feels like our universe has turned into a giant Jerry Springer episode, with each person jockeying to shock us with even more outrageous behavior than the last one. And so, rather than stand up against the bad behavior and set an example for the students in her district, Albuquerque Public Schools Board member Elizabeth Armijo joined the madness, twice using the F-word during a school board meeting last week amid a debate about whether the district should continue to accept money from the NRA for a leadership program.

“I’m f—— sick of it,” she said at one point.

Asked by a Journal reporter about her lack of decorum, she doubled down, asserting, “My word choice is not offensive. What’s offensive is that our community continues to be divided.”

It’s worth noting she used the F-word during the board meeting – not during a whispered exchange out in the hallway or the parking lot.

Armijo is an elected school board member who represents all of us and the fact she doesn’t realize it’s inappropriate to use expletives during a public school board meeting is incomprehensible. Because if it’s OK for a school board member to drop F-bombs during a public meeting, then neither she, nor school officials, should object when students start dropping F-bombs in class.

And just because others, even high-profile others, have limited vocabularies and lack manners doesn’t mean everybody should.

Armijo owes it to the students and employees in the district and to the taxpayers who support it to conduct herself with professionalism, and if that’s too much for her to handle, she should resign.

It’s time to say enough already and stop accepting crass behavior from those who are supposed to be setting an example, especially for the youngest in our community.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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