Open letter from the B-P Board of Education: A call for civility

To our valued community members,

As the COVID issue continues, people are treating each other with less and less kindness and respect.  We’ve all seen the news stories about health care, restaurant, and other service workers being berated by people for things they have little or no control over.  It has very likely happened to you or someone you care about.  This is not the type of community we want to live in, and we need to make a conscious effort to reverse this trend.

We all have our own opinions on how the COVID situation is being handled in the schools.  These opinions are based on our individual experiences, concerns, and knowledge.  If you disagree with how things are being done, you have the right and the ability to lobby the appropriate decision-makers and try to influence them to your point of view.  The BoE did this in June with our open letter stating our position and arguments supporting that opinion.  This letter was our attempt to alter the perspective of the people with the authority to make changes with civil discourse.  It was not intended to be, and we ask that it not be, a tool for any one community member to use against another.

It is understandable to be frustrated when you feel you have no say in policies that affect you and your family.  However, it is important that this frustration be directed in constructive ways and to the right people.

The people who work in our school district are doing their absolute best to deal with an infinitely complex, constantly changing situation.  They are not the ones making the decision and do not have the authority to change or ignore the rules and laws that are in place.  They are frequently stuck in the middle, placed in the awful position of being the person who must enforce a rule they didn’t make, on someone who objects to that same rule.  When this happens, they are too often the target of pent-up frustration and anger.  This is not acceptable, and it does not well or accurately represent the community that we all know and love.  If you find yourself in a situation where you are frustrated because a school (or any service) worker is enforcing a rule you do not agree with, please do not take it out on that person.  It is not their fault.  Try to harness that feeling and channel it into an activity that might be able to make a difference.  Write to your government officials, attend conferences and rallies, speak at a BoE meeting, etc.

If we all make this effort, we can start to pull back from the belligerence that is creeping into our lives and we can make our district and community an example that others will hopefully duplicate.

We in the B-P BoE wish you a wonderful, happy, and healthy holiday season.


The Broadalbin-Perth Board of Education