Helen Rogers is a soft-spoken grandmotherly woman who one could imagine might offer a cup of tea and sugar cookies to her house guests. So when the former school board member shares her memories of tough times on the board it's reason to perk up your ears, open your eyes and pay attention.


In this week's Star in both our print and online editions Rogers chimes in regarding a series of letters by board member Hardy Black, who takes board president Chris Bentley to task for alleged bullying of school district officials. While she says Bentley "did bully me," she asserts that she considers "his bullying only minor" compared to the treatment by Black and former board members Robert Kirk and Ella Lee Rogers, who is not related to Helen Rogers.


"At one closed session I became so upset with what was going on I walked out," Helen Rogers writes.


What seems clear is that cordiality and working as a team has given way to power blocs and in-fighting. Certainly when the venerable Jack Hamilton was helping to lead the board before he chose to not seek reelection several years ago, Hamilton and others didn't always see eye-to-eye. Not every vote was 5-0. But, thanks in part to Hamliton's keen ability to build consensus, the board of education carefully, calmly and politely took care of the business at hand.


The Hesperia Unified School District is going through its toughest days. The most difficult decisions must made. Should school libraries be closed? Should the school district shut down its own school police department and instead contract with the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department? Should the district charge parents to bus students to school?


These questions have to be answered. Cuts must be made. That doesn't mean anyone likes to do the dirty work. It's tough. It's hard. Frankly, it stinks.


We, the people of Hesperia and especially the 20,000 or so students who attend our public schools need our elected school board members to transcend their differences. We need them to continue their tough work, roll up their sleeves and do what they were elected to do.


It's not an easy job. But it's one you signed up for. We are grateful for your hard work and tough decisions.


But please, try to do it with a smile on your faces. Even if you have to fake it a little bit now and then.