To the Editor:

At the recent SAD 44 School Board meeting (reported in the August 26 Citizen), two community problems grabbed space at the table, and ate everyone else’s lunch. First: when heckling and bullying take over an official public meeting, it is the responsibility of the Board Chair and the Superintendent to close the meeting, and not to allow the civil functions to be ruled by the loudest shouters. We are better than that.

Second: Public Health is not open to political debate, any more than any other public safety issue. Fire protection is as universal as we can make it, and no one argues about that. No one says, “I have individual choice to build a backyard fire during a severe drought”. That act bears a criminal penalty. Some part of our community chose to ignore the still-raging pandemic of COVID-19, and its awful path of destruction and further threat to public safety, in order to wave their team’s flag.

Superintendent Murphy proposed use of known tools for public safety in our schools in order to preserve in-person learning. The alternative – letting the virus have free reign, as the Board voted 10-4 to do, means repeating last year’s dance of ‘open/close/open/close’ with no one ever knowing what’s next. Good luck with that. Many children will have trouble recovering from these “individual choices”.

I am proud to be a Bethel native, and stand proudly with the generations of my family, older and younger, who carry on in the institutions of this community. I hope that our neighbors can clear their heads and – as I would say to my granddaughter – decide to be the boss of the virus, and not the other way around. Thank you for your attention. Michael A. Davis

Michael Davis


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