Outgoing Carroll Commissioner Rothschild reflects on 8 years of service, talks small government, God, schools
By Jennifer Turiano
Carroll County Times|
Nov 27, 2018 | 5:20 PM
After eight years serving on the Board of Carroll County Commissioners, Richard Rothschild’s and Doug Howard’s tenures are up — and the former took about 20 minutes at Tuesday’s meeting to share his reflections on American government, God and schools.
The conservative, constitutionalist commissioner for District 4 — which includes New Windsor, Union Bridge and Mount Airy — opened up his speech stating the 59th and 60th boards had “the nicest group of guys” he’s ever worked with, before breaking down the way American government was established according to its Founding Fathers and their belief in God, and talking about issues conservatives face in public schools.
To help resolve many of the issues he said conservatives face, he has two recommendations the incoming Carroll County Public Schools’ Board of Education.
“The first resolution should command tolerance in Carroll County toward students and teachers of conservative and/or Christian values,” Rothschild said, “and second, every school should restore Christmas celebrations within all of our schools during our national holiday known as Christmas.
“And no,” he said, “nothing prohibits schools from including other songs or symbols of other religions in these celebrations when administrators feel it’s appropriate.”
He said his requests come from conversations he’s had with local residents about their experiences, and even though “Carroll County schools and teachers are among the best in the United States,” this is one way it can be improved.
“Too many of our public schools are like shiny cars with hidden damage,” Rothschild said, “pretty on the outside, but when you look under the hood, you’ll see the frame has been seriously bent to the left.
“Even within Carroll County, too many conservative teachers and students have told me personally they feel seriously persecuted within our schools whenever they dare express their opinions,” he said. “In some cases students were baited to debate into disputes with teachers and subsequently experienced reprimand when they defended their conservative values.”
He gave examples.
“One student defended his parents’ decision to vote for Trump and was ordered to leave the classroom,” Rothschild said. “Another teenage student who opposed the school walkout was targeted by school activists who attempted to have him fired from his part-time job. These stories are not anecdotal, I have seen the hard evidence.
“Bias against potential employees by virtue of the fact they happen to have conservative political views is a reality in public schools,” he said, “and it needs to stop. Apparently the tolerant left within public school administrations is not so tolerant of anyone who disagrees with their agenda.”
Board of Education response
The top vote-getter in this November’s Board of Education election, Patricia Dorsey, will be a member of the new board that Rothschild called upon to command tolerance for conservative and Christian students and teachers.
“I didn’t watch the meeting, nor was I in attendance,” she said in a phone interview Tuesday, “But I think it needs to really be a certain level of tolerance and respect for everyone. It’s certainly a public school system, and it’s serving the public.
“I know everybody comes from their own set of values,” said Dorsey, “and again it’s just a matter of respecting everyone’s values, not putting any one over another group.”
“It’s not unusual to have the traditional Christmas.”
Also related to education, Rothschild said that North Carroll High School should not be reopened, and there isn’t a enough money to do all the work required at East Middle School.
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, sitting Board of Education members Donna Sivigny and Marsha Herbert did not return request for comment on Rothschild’s statements about CCPS.
Other commissioners respond
Rothschild also took time to talk about protecting the desires of Carroll County residents, which he said include keeping large-lot houses, rather than introducing more townhouses and apartments, and giving them a reprieve from the taxes and government overreach experienced in larger counties.
Howard told the board he would share his departing comments on Thursday, but said he appreciated Rothschild’s words Tuesday, Nov. 27.
“It has been most assuredly interesting serving together,” Howard said. “I think we’ve done a lot more good for each other than not. I think the times that we were at odds, I hope the citizens revel in the fact that they saw the real deal.
“They saw the passion,” he said. “They saw different ideas and the evolution of ideas. And sometimes I hear from folks, if ‘sometimes you could be a little more cohesive’ or ‘coordinated.’ And I say, ‘You know the bottom line is a lot of good things came out of a lot of those discussions.’ … It certainly has been a great experience and I appreciate your comments very much.”
Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, said that he will not be present to say goodbye to Rothschild and Howard on Thursday because he will be representing the BOCC at the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. He had some comments to share as well.
“Whether I’ve agreed or disagreed with both of you, I’ve learned something from both of you each and every day,” Wantz said. “It has been not only a privilege, but an honor to serve with both of you.”
Wantz said if he were to put together a debate team, he would appoint Howard as captain because of all the times he brought up interesting points that made him think deeper on important issues.
He also said that Rothschild is one of the most intelligent men with whom he has ever worked.
Incoming District 4 Commissioner Christopher “Eric” Bouchat said although he did not see the speech, he did speak with Rothschild about the position this week.
“I did, however, meet with Commissioner Rothschild [Monday] night to go over responsibilities and advice about assuming his position,” Bouchat told the Times in an email. “I look forward to serving our constituents and reflecting their values.”
In a separate email sent later, Bouchat wrote “We are a Christian-based nation that honors religious freedom of all its citizens. I am unaware that the schools don’t respect the Christmas season. They are closed for all, during the holiday. I am Catholic and [incoming Commissioner Ed] Rothstein, [R-District 5], Jewish, so we are representing a diverse constituency. Separation of church and state is the best policy.”
Bouchat and Rothstein — as well as incumbents Wantz, Richard Weaver, R-District 2, and Dennis Frazier, R-District 3 — will be sworn in as part of Carroll County’s 61st Board of County Commissioners at 3 p.m. Dec. 4.