Letter: Disappointed in last week’s editorial

Posted 11/10/21

To the editor:

As a new town council member, I have not yet written a letter to the editor. And though I do serve on the town council, I am writing this from the perspective of a parent, a …

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Letter: Disappointed in last week’s editorial

Posted

To the editor:

As a new town council member, I have not yet written a letter to the editor. And though I do serve on the town council, I am writing this from the perspective of a parent, a citizen, and a volunteer for the town. I was entirely disappointed to see the OpEd in last week's Barrington Times questioning the actions of the elected school committee. One of the scariest things happening across the country is the vilification of local politicians and volunteer civil servants. While it is important to question authority and get citizen engagement, the conspiracy theories and the outrageous accusations are irresponsible, invalid, and dangerous. Volunteers and civil servants who act to protect and maintain operations of cities and towns are harassed, threatened, and name-called.

The recent OpEd in Barrington Times discounted a public health and safety issue that will only fuel the fire and bring this national trend to our doorsteps. The teachers who were placed on unpaid leave were given a condition of employment to limit the spread of a deadly virus which has shut down our country and killed 750,000 Americans. The school committee stands in service to the town to maintain the safety for our students and community. If the teachers had rejected measles vaccinations, TB tests, or background checks, and they were dismissed as a result, there would be no public outrage. In fact, there would have been nothing but full support for the decision to let them go - no call for further discussion or need for citizen input.

If something devastating had happened as a result of this refusal, the community would have held the school committee responsible for negligence. However, due to a politicized reaction to the virus, we find inclusion for dissent in an unnecessary conversation.

The teachers chose not to meet the requirements of their employment. The answer to the “why now?” is the question itself - we have such high vaccination rates because we value the science behind them, have adhered to masking, and value our students’ safety. To understand how it could be, look at Florida, Georgia, and Texas and their community spread - children out of school, communities paralyzed by virus, hospitals overrun because they rejected a simple solution.

I applaud our community for its adherence to responsible action. I’m thankful to the school committee for their thoughtful application of process and procedure. Please do not undermine the work that they are doing by questioning basic safety measures. It may feel like just a conversation, but your questioning of basic and accepted facts is part of a damaging trend that will result in dangerous circumstances for those we need to run our town. Someone is going to get hurt.

Sincerely, 

Annelise Conway 

Barrington

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.