Editorial: Ms. Kann embodies a democratic spirit that should inspire us all

Many of us remember having Ms. Kimberly Kann for middle school technology education. We remember her as someone who was unwaveringly committed, deeply respectful, and incredibly knowledgeable. Even those who never had her remember her love for the world around her as manifested through an educational trip to the Teton Science School she routinely coordinates. We remember her for an adventurous and loving attitude, which is why many of us were surprised to learn that in April, she was arrested at a town meeting.

And then the facts came out.

The meeting was held by the Conestoga Township supervisors in order to educate citizens about home rule. Because the meeting was meant to be strictly educational, attendees were asked to sign a paper detailing that comments were only permitted if they were questions. During the meeting, Kann believed that some of the information was presented incorrectly, so she spoke up to correct misinformation. When directed to sit back down because she was not asking questions, she refused, and police were called in to escort her out of the building. She was cited for disorderly conduct, and fined $25.00. She appealed, citing that this case is a matter of principle.

Kann’s appeal hearing was scheduled for October 21. However, when she and her attorney arrived, the judge stated that he did not have to time try the case that day. Kann's attorney says he called weeks in advance to explain that he would need at least two hours to present his case, and somehow, that was never communicated to the judge. The hearing had to be rescheduled for a later date, and her legal battle will continue.

But more importantly, her civic battle will continue as well.  She is fighting against the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project that wants to put a 35-mile long, 42-inch gas pipeline straight through historic and scenic Conestoga.  Kann says she has spent thousands of dollars trying to defend her opinions. In doing so, she is proving once again that she is not in it for the money. A school teacher doesn’t appeal a $25.00 case unless there’s something serious occurring. Not only is she willing to stand up for her beliefs -- an action that is highly admired by many but performed by few – but she is going the extra mile to set things straight. She is not using violent or illegal means to put her opinion out there, either. In fact, she is using arguably the only device she can – her voice. And in this case, even that is being taken away from her.

The politically motivated actions of Conestoga Township supervisors who directed police to arrest her because unlike others who violated the rules of the meeting, her commentary threatened their agenda, are reprehensible. Stymieing democratic debate directly contradicts the principles on which this nation was founded. And when a teacher wages a fight outside the classroom to preserve those principles in support of something in which she ardently believes, she should be commended. Go Ms. Kann!

This opinion piece reflects the collective opinion of the LSNews.org editorial board, and does not necessarily reflect the position of the Lampeter-Strasburg School District, or the administration or faculty of Lampeter-Strasburg High School. The piece was co-authored by LSNews.org local editor Alyssa Van Lenten and editor-in-chief Benjamin Pontz. Questions or concerns can be directed to lspioneernews@gmail.com


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