Letter to the Editor: What happened to due process?

Union Community Middle School - File Photo

I read the April 9th North Tama Telegraph coverage of Union Middle Teacher Mark Hookham’s resignation and as a parent of two girls and a boy who had Mark as a Science Teacher, I was saddened by the district’s loss of a good teacher. Having two children the same age a Mark’s kids, I got to know his kids at school events and my heart goes out to them as they deal with their pain in living with this situation.

I do not know the facts behind this case but what I do know is that Mark has not been charged in a court of law nor was he terminated by the School District. Marks’s resignation instead appears to be driven by pressure from social media postings led by Amanda Goodman, the Executive Director of the Family and Children’s Council of Blackhawk County. In the America I grew up in, people are innocent until proven guilty. If the charges against Mark are true, then he will most certainly be brought to justice and my heart will go out to the kids he abused. But if the charges are determined to not be true or viewed simply inappropriate in our new cancel culture society, then Mark, his wife and his children have paid a heavy price for someone’s version of the truth.

The article further mentions that bullying concerns are now being raised by some Union School District parents. I question who the bullies really are here? Amanda Goodman posted comments on Facebook on April 8th regarding an unsigned letter she received from someone in the Union School District in the mail who dared to challenge her version of the truth. She states ominously: “…just know I know who you are…And I have forwarded that along to the proper parties.” In addition, a parent quoted in the North Tama Telegraph article posted a vile, threatening Facebook comment on April 8th directed at the Union School District superintendent Travis Fleshner that included: ‘…..I will nail your ass to a coffin….”

I encourage all like-minded Union School District parents to push back against the social media mob subjecting their version of the truth and agenda upon our district. I am confident the facts behind all the concerns raised by these parents in the district will be reviewed and addressed by the School Board via a deliberate and thoughtful process. Board member Jenna Scott’s outstanding comments close out the article and end with: “We will be OK. We will recover.” We need to support the school board in achieving that end. We do not know who or what this social media mob will try to cancel next. Let’s protect the school district we love for the next generation of parents and students to enjoy.

Jim Niebergall, Buckingham