Published Date Written by Michael KitchALTON — While Stephen Miller and his colleagues on the Alton School Board remain at dagger drawn, no blades were pulled, flashed, wielded or brandished when the board met this week under the watchful eye of Police Chief Ryan Heath, who responded to board's request for a police presence.
"It was political theater in action, a Kabuki play," said Miller, who a week ago found himself splashed over the Internet, television and newswire after displaying a folding knife at an earlier meeting while seeking to persuade the board to amend its policy to forbid anyone from carrying or transporting a deadly weapon on school property.
A video of the proceedings appeared on Facebook and YouTube and went from there to WMUR-TV and the Associated Press with most reports picturing Miller as "pulling," "flashing" or "brandishing" the knife, which the video shows him holding like an umbrella for less than 30 seconds.
Several resident interviewed told WMUR-TV that Miller's behavior was "ridiculous," showed "poor judgement," and warranted at least a "reprimand."
Heath said yesterday that when the board met this week, in both public and non-public sessions, it requested the presence of an officer. In light of the media fanfare and what he called "the politics" in the aftermath of the earlier incident, he said he chose to take the detail himself rather than place one of his officers in a sensitive situation. "I was there to keep the peace, " Heath said, who emphasized that nothing untoward occurred at the meeting.
Miller said and Heath confirmed that several individuals, who neither identified, reported the original incident to the police. He said that when the board met in non-public session this week, he asked that it place the incident on the agenda of its next meeting. "I wanted to discuss the conduct of the School Board members in a public session," he said. The other board members, he said, refused.
Heath said that he received reports of the incident from individuals who were present, which he referred to the New Hampshire State Police. He explained that not only did the incident involve elected officials but also Miller is a candidate for selectmen. In the circumstances, he said it was not appropriate for the Alton Police to conduct an investigation. Health said an investigation is underway, but no report has been issued.