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Letter: What Happened to Civility?

Writer enjoys an open dialogue but not the verbal abuse often exhibited in comments.

Dear Editor,

I’ve lived in Short Hills for 14 years. I’ve been to my fair share of Board of Education meetings, Special Education Committee meetings, I get The Item and I read the Patch daily. I consider myself well informed about what is going on in my hometown.

I know about the budget woes, the teacher contracts, and everything else that has made the front page of the news lately. But none of those things worry me half as much as the way the people of this town treat each other. What am I talking about, you ask? Well, take a minute and look at the comments after some of the articles on the Patch.

When did it become OK to be verbally abusive? When did it become OK to mock someone because their opinion was different from yours?  Is this the example we want to set for our children? Do what I say. What about do what I do?  If we recorded everything we said and did each day and had to play it back for our children, would we still be making these comments? Our children are only in school 7 hours a day. Who do you think they are leaning from the other 17 hours? 

I am very much in favor of open dialogue and discussion. No one is going to agree all the time. What I am talking about is respect and civility. It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. Differences of opinion should be valued and celebrated. Taking nasty shots, both anonymous and in person, should not. You don’t have to agree with me. But you should disagree respectfully.

Sharon Cohen

Short Hills


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