If you haven’t yet, go to Milton Access TV and watch the rerun of the March 31 Milton School Committee meeting. Kudos to the two parents who stood up for their children and other children who would benefit from the Cambridge Education equity survey. Kudos to School Committee Vice Chair Dr. Elaine Craghead for her forceful, sometimes throaty, condemnation of some unnamed members of the Warrant Committee who crossed two lines: respect for and trust in the other town boards, specifically the school board, in how it does its work, and, looking at the needs of some school children through a jaundiced, adult lens.
Equating money spent on surveys to help ensure if all adolescents and older teenagers in the public school district are being well served — be they straight, gay, not-yet-interested-in-the-opposite sex or any sex, wondering why they don’t feel exactly right in the skin in which they were born — is not a way to honor any child. No child wants to feel like a burden to their family, school or community, especially a financial burden. Just because some frank questions about how a pre-teen or young teen wonders or feels about physically intimate relationships may make some adults uncomfortable, does not mean the questions should not be asked. The questions were voluntary and that disclaimer was noted on the survey. That a child had the trust in a parent to ask what a word meant could be ruined if the parent’s reaction was negative. As was pointed out during that night’s discussion, kids in school know more about the real world than they may let on.
School committee members must be able to serve the needs of all students, no matter how different their own child may seem to them. Don’t run for school committee if you can not feign tolerance of other children.
Further, never in the last year, particularly since June, has the Citizen’s Speak portion of the school committee agenda been so active and well attended. All the months and years before the June 2020 protest in support of Black teacher Zakia Jarrett, and the pandemic-induced lack of full in-person learning, discussions and forums about resolving school overcrowding have happened. This isn’t a new discussion.
That may be one good thing to emerge from this year: more residents attending school board meetings, understanding the role of the school board and later, how to pay for temporary (portable classrooms or trailers) as a new grade school is built for a permanent solution.
– Lisa D. Connell