I was dumbfounded and dismayed at the Aug. 7 Montgomery County Board of Education meeting when board member Blair Ewing stated on the public record that "what is really going on" in the dispute between the board and the community over the pairing of Oak View and New Hampshire Estates elementary schools is that "certain people" in the community do not want their children to go to school with minority children, and that our opposition to the pairing raises issues of "race, ethnicity, income and social class."
Mr. Ewing's suggestion of racist motivation on the part of the community is malicious and untrue. As president of the community association and as counsel, on a pro bono basis, for the group of more than 125 parents (many of them members of minority groups) who appealed the board's pairing decision to the State Board of Education, I know firsthand that none of the people who have been active in this cause have the kind of motivation Mr. Ewing has wrongly ascribed to them.
Our community's longstanding opposition to the pairing stems simply from our desire for a community-based elementary school that reflects at the classroom level the remarkable racial and ethnic diversity of the neighborhood in which we take great pride. The pairing plan has not and will not do so, but on the contrary has had the effect of isolating minority children from our community in high (i.e., 90 percent or more) minority classrooms. It is indeed ironic that Mr. Ewing, as a leading proponent of the misguided plan, should accuse us, its good faith opponents, of having a racist motivation.
FRANK R. LINDH Silver Spring