Joe Smith: I'm In Rhonda Thurman's Corner

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

I didn’t sleep well last night. It was one of those times when this old boxing coach was in a 10-round boxing match in my spirit.

 

So many people are hurting right now. I have friends that have lost their jobs and are struggling to feed their families. My 11-year-old grandson tells me, “Pops I want to go to school.” I miss Sunday morning worship with my pastor and church family.

 

I worry about so many children all over Hamilton County who have monsters that are real and perhaps made worse by being at home all the time.

People are sick with COVID-19 and too many have not made it. And now a new issue that has emerged that is NOT an issue at all. Seemingly there is a group of folks using the media to attack, devalue and defame my friend and colleague, Rhonda Thurman.

 

Some have said I can’t separate Joe Smith, the person, from Joe Smith, the school board member. Maybe that’s true. So, I want to be clear that I am not speaking for any other School Board member, although I realize that my views may be taken that way. I speak for myself as a friend of Rhonda.

 

I’ve known Rhonda for most of my life. We often disagree on School Board issues but agree fully at other times. In all the years I have known Rhonda, she has never lied about anything. As a matter of fact, be careful when asking her for her opinion because you might get your feelings hurt. She will always tell you the truth and facts as she believes them to be. Rhonda wants the same thing that I want. That’s for Hamilton County to be the best school system in the state of Tennessee. We just disagree sometimes on what it will take to get there.

 

Rhonda Thurman is being unfairly attacked right now by a group of folks that disagree, basically, with her exercising right to free speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution. These folks may not agree with what she said, and that’s ok, but it’s impossible to disagree with her right to say them. None of us have arms long enough to box with anyone’s First Amendment rights. Disagree with Rhonda if you wish, but no one has the right to personally attack her, devalue her and accuse her of saying things that she just did not say.

 

To assert that Rhonda has violated some kind of school board policy is absurd, in my opinion. We have a lot of pressing issues in Hamilton County Schools right now. This is a non-issue that needs to go away. The voters in District 1 will decide what they want to do with Rhonda Thurman in August.

 

Until then let’s all move forward with working on the things that really matter for kids, parents and teachers all over Hamilton County. I’m confident Rhonda and I will probably disagree on some things at times in the future, but never would I question her character or her integrity simply because I may disagree with her. Keep punching Rhonda Thurman I’m in your corner on this non-issue.

 

Joe Smith

Hixson, TN


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