Letter: Stop Rhetoric and Support and Guide Children Successfully through Pandemic

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To the Editor:

I have been an educator for over 15 years and have worked in the Haverhill schools since 2013. No one can deny that this pandemic has caused strain in every single aspect of our lives. However, the behavior being exhibited by stakeholders regarding reopening the schools has been downright embarrassing. The education and future of our children should not be a political issue but it has been one since discussions about reopening began during the summer months. We all know how that turned out – shoes on the steps of City Hall and coffins off to the side, horrifying parents and their children alike. This was followed by multiple attempted votes of no confidence. Votes of no confidence seek to serve one sole purpose – destroy relationships and burn bridges.  Now, as the mayor has requested a plan to send students back to school by April 1st, we are here again, tearing at relationships both personal and professional.

Part of being an elected representative is representing and that is what the mayor and the School Committee are doing. If we never even entertained the idea of increasing capacity of schools, what message are we sending those parents that are requesting us explore those options? An answer of, “no,” just will not cut it. Education is a service provided. As such, we owe it to the families of Haverhill to explore and exhaust all options to best support their children’s educational needs. The behavior of some teachers during this time does not represent the whole. Most of us want to work with families and the school committee for the best possible outcome for everyone involved. Most of us are not selfish. Most of us are not lazy. The majority of educators I work with are engaged and committed to the kids and families of this city.

We will never improve the education of our kids during this pandemic and beyond if we do not start working together right now. Stop with the inflammatory Facebook posts, the childish memes, and the unprofessional name calling. It serves no purpose. While we are engaging in these battles with administration and elected officials for a quick rush of adrenaline, thousands of Haverhill kids are the ones suffering the consequences. Let’s refocus our attention and energy on what matters most, supporting our kids and guiding them successfully through this pandemic.

Shaun Ashworth

Although many news outlets take sides, WHAV does not. Views and comments expressed are those of the writer and are not intended to reflect the views of Public Media of New England Inc. d/b/a WHAV, its staff, underwriters or affiliates. Letters are published on a space and time availability basis and may be edited for clarity, legal issues, length and related reasons at the editor’s discretion. WHAV also reserves the right to refuse to publish submitted letters for the same reasons. All letters must be signed.

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