County Boards Get Message From Federal Court On Censorship Of Their Constituents

February 6, 2023

Last weeks settlement in Federal court between the Forsyth County School Board, the Mama Bears and the Institute for Free Speech Stops the Board’s censorship

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Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a Pubic Servant as “a government official or employee.”

It seems some “public servants” have forgotten for whom they work.    Some speak and act as if the public – their own constituents – is a group to be instructed, controlled, and sometimes sharply corrected.   

This seems particularly the case when a public official has been appointed rather than elected.   Is this because their allegiance lies primarily with those who made the appointment, instead of the real authority of the land:  The People?


In recent meetings, some say members of the Cherokee County Election Board appear to exhibit these qualities.  During a meeting of this Board last month  a member of the Cherokee County Republican Party was stopped from reading a written Resolution before the Board, apparently because they didn’t care to hear it.  At one point, the newly-named Chairman, Mr. Steven Devine slammed his gavel to stop the speaker. The speaker pointed out he was reading the Resolution and continued. Ms. Casey Castello again leaned over to the Chairman and said something whereupon he interrupted the speaker again.    Attendees said Ms. Castello added “You need to sit down now.”

This brings up two questions:  1) Is it the purview of the Election Board (an unelected group of five “public servants”) to suspend civil rights whenever they choose?    2) If a person is reporting the findings of an organization or simply stating his or her own wishes, is it in the Boards authority to decide that some of their statement may be stopped – effectively censoring their comments?

Recent disclosures regarding Twitter have shown how dangerous censorship can be, It can be part of limiting the public’s knowledge and understanding, and can cause individual opinions to be based on incomplete or erroneous information.

Unfortunately, the Cherokee Election Board seems to have a track record of contemptuous statements to constituents who speak out.  In an Election Board meeting in 2022, constituents were admonished by a member of the Board saying “After last month’s meeting…enough is enough…”  Attendees reported that in further comments the Board member said, “what is wrong with you people?”    

As an unelected “official” not directly chosen by the People of Cherokee, perhaps the Board member feels here are no repercussions for such conduct toward those who, through their taxes, ultimately pay their salary.    Certainly any private-sector employee would think twice before saying such things to their employer. 

It must be noted that, at the same meeting, the Election Board had to be reminded to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, something all meetings include prior to beginning their business.

As we go forward, perhaps public servants will realize once again who employs them, and to whom they owe respect and allegiance.   Those who fail to understand this may find themselves no longer welcome to serve in public office.

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I'm confused by this article. The title references Forsyth County School Board, but the article is about the Cherokee County Election Board. There's a link to the Federal Court settlement with Forsyth but it's behind a login. Can you explain?

Sandra Bearden
S. Webb

As we know it is war. And it is the political elites who we are fighting. State board member Mashburn shut me down like that. Felt like bullying to me. I suppose they have a lot to hide.. or cover up.
Do you know if state board members are required to take an oath of office?

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