Helen Cochran, who was the spokesperson for a group that opposed the recent Wichita school bond, received a few email and telephone messages as part of the campaign that were a little over the top.
In one set of messages, a Wichita High School East English teacher (we’ll call him “Kurt”) carried on the legacy of former superintendent Winston Brooks, who called an opponent a racist just because he didn’t support the bond issue. That was in the 2000 campaign. Here’s “Kurt” writing to Helen in October:
People need to know that your organization is against the bond, not because you think it will put an “undue” burden on property owners and utility companies, but because your bigoted minds don’t want to give your money to students of Wichita who aren’t “like you,” i.e. urban students.
George Wallace would be very proud of you.
I looked at this person’s profile page in Facebook. He is, believe it or not, a youth director at a Christian church. He describes his duties as: “Organize church youth functions, teach Sunday school, and provide Christian guidance to the high school and middle school age students in the youth group.”
Then, after the election Helen received this:
Hmm, all that money, effort, hate, and bigotry for nothing.
Now, you’ll be paying for a new track at my high school, new classrooms, storm shelters; oh yeah… and tennis courts and swimming pools.
The people have spoken. And they’ve spoken louder than you.
When your motives are based in bigotry and hatred, your guise of being “gracious in defeat” is merely a front for the truth of your flawed motivations. And that “one day” of which you speak when I stood for something culminated yesterday when PRESIDENT Obama was elected.
So thanks in-advance for your mandated contributions to the betterment of the facilities of USD 259.
I hope he doesn’t gloat like this in front of the Sunday school class or when providing Christian guidance.
Besides these messages, Helen also received one from him that parroted the USD 259 official line about smaller class sizes, etc. This is ironic in light of this sentence from his Facebook page: “I encourage everyone to be a free-thinker, to ‘think outside the box,’ and continually broaden their capacity for conceptual abstract thought.”
Nothing about this bond issue could be described as resembling “out of the box.” Everything about it is more of the same.