A Lesson in Civics and Local Politics

CYB Civic Engagement for Young Professionals 127“CYB Civic Engagement for Young Professionals 127” by cityyear is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

After nearly 2 1/2 hours of discussion and comments from dozens of parents and teachers (including myself) about whether the School Committee should vote to bring all students back to the building, one thing stood out in my mind: this is how civic engagement looks at the community level.

Believe me, there were strong opinions in favor of full re-opening (from our current Hybrid Model), to a soft full re-opening (younger grades only), to keeping the current system in place. But everyone spoke respectfully, and the School Committee listened patiently to all concerned parties.

The only tinge of negativity was some parents saying they were nervous about speaking in favor of a full return because they feared retaliation from their children’s teachers (us). That saddened me, for nothing ever close that has ever happened at our school. But I guess the concern is real, from a parent viewpoint.

The meeting went later than I could attend, so I am not sure how they voted (and I don’t see anything in the newspaper’s online edition this morning). I spoke out in need for more communication between the School Committee and the town, and with our teacher union, and urged the committee to find ways to hear the voices of all parties, including students.

I suspect that meetings just like this are happening, or will be happening soon, all over the country. Maybe not all will have the respectful tone of ours, even with differing opinions, but the fact that people are engaged in the civic discourse and conversations because they have vested interest .. maybe that will spill over into some longer-lasting resonance effect of being more engaged in local politics.

One can hope so.

Peace (vote for it),

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