School Board Member's Blog Under Fire

By: Auburn Hutton
By: Auburn Hutton

Dave Ash started the blog site about three years ago...and he says this is the first time anyone has had a problem with it.

The request to shut it down came last week, right after a story surfaced about a Fallon teacher coming to work drunk.

In Fallon, rumors and small-town talk gets around fast. If you didn't hear about it on www.daveash.net, you may have heard it at the local mom 'n pop shop.

"Places like this. People come in and talk about what they heard in the paper...you know, mostly word of mouth," said Yummee's Ice Cream Shop owner, Linda Dailey.

Dave Ash says his blog is just another place to spread the word. He says he was elected as a school board trustee, so he could keep the public informed about school policy changes, pay and other parental concerns.

"This is one way I get input from the public. I get it from letters, from visiting schools, and from meetings, also through the website. It's just a means of communication and I don't see where the problem lies," said Ash.

Churchill County Superintendent Carolyn Ross wasn't available to talk on camera, but she says the website concerns her because it violates the privacy of teachers and staff. She says school board members like Ash should only discuss school issues in a proper setting...and she says a personal website doesn't qualify. Ash argues that when he posts on his site, he's only speaking for himself.

"Dave Ash. I am speaking for Dave Ash, the person on the street, the guy who runs the website. I don't represent the board or the district on my website," he said.

He admits that as a public official, he has to be careful what he posts...but as far as what others decide to say? He calls it fair game.

And as for the buzz around town...shop owner Linda Daily says the public has a right to know.

"What are they trying to hide from the public? I think he has a right to say what he wants to say and what he knows, as long as it's the truth. I think the district shouldn't interfere."

When we spoke with the Superintendent today, she says she's not asking Ash to shut down the website, only to adhere to district policy regarding confidential information.

She also emphasized that while she believes open lines of communication are vital within the school district, she says it is a balancing act between the public's need and right to know, versus what she can legally tell people regarding her staff and students.


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