Letter: School committee, our students deserve better

Posted 9/23/21

As any parent of school age children can tell you, the past 18 months have been incredibly difficult for our students. They have juggled distance learning, social distancing, masks, reduced …

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Letter: School committee, our students deserve better

Posted

As any parent of school age children can tell you, the past 18 months have been incredibly difficult for our students. They have juggled distance learning, social distancing, masks, reduced activities and more. They have also shown incredible resilience and an awe-inspiring commitment to doing what is needed to keep themselves and their classmates safe and healthy.

Throughout it all they have been supported by innovative and committed teachers who have gone above and beyond. That is why we are so disheartened when asked by people outside of our school district, “What is going on with Bristol-Warren schools?”

In just the last 10 months, since the current slate of School Committee officers took their posts, our district has constantly been in the news, but not for good reasons. In June, they made our communities look unwelcoming by refusing to even discuss making a small schedule change to accommodate the religious practices of some students and staff — instead leaving it up to Superintendent Brice to make the change. He resigned the next day and as of last week, we have lost our second, highly-qualified superintendent in three months.

In the same period, more than one School Committee member has publicly complained that community members have tried to change their minds on critical issues. How can one lead a community if they refuse to listen to community voices? Isn’t that, in fact, the entire purpose of having elected decision-makers?

These same School Committee members likewise made their preference to ignore the guidance of local and national health officials publicly known before the governor’s universal masking mandate was instituted. Are we then supposed to expect that our school’s leaders will continue to ‘lead’ by following nothing but their own non-expert opinions on all matters?

Our children deserve better. We need leaders who will lead with integrity, humility and, where necessary, heed the guidance of experts in this very challenging time. We need to get back in the headlines because we are making our district one of the best in the state, not because individuals are impeding our path there. Our teachers, staff and students are capable of reaching that goal. Is our School Committee leadership?

Jane Govednik
Bristol

Margaret Richards 
Bristol

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