Elizabeth Eames Submitted photo

Name: Elizabeth Anne Eames

Age: 65

Occupation:  Retired educator

Community engagement: Camp Middle Jubba, Community Financial Literacy, Connors Planning Committees, Farwell School Parent-Teacher Organization, Literacy Volunteers Androscoggin, Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s advisory board, police academy, Somali Bantu Community Association, etc.

Question 1: Do you believe students should be required to wear a mask in school to prevent the spread of COVID-19 under current pandemic conditions? 

Yes. Adults should model positive behavior for the young, including how to care about other humans’ well-being. Since face coverings help reduce the spread of infection, and since leaders should err on the side of safety, for the sake of vulnerable members of the community (e.g., unvaccinated children, immunocompromised staff, teachers with preexisting conditions), I think masks should be required. I understand the personal inconvenience, but these are current federal and state Center for Disease Control guidelines.

Question 2: Do you feel that issues of equity and race are being appropriately addressed in Lewiston schools? 

No. Public schools are microcosms of society, reflecting our collective strengths as well as our historical flaws. If we wish our school system to live up to its full potential as our very best “melting pot,” then successful inclusion requires work by staff and students alike. To address current inequity, we must take into account not just race/racialization, but such differentiations as class, gender, ability, mental health status, national origin, language, ethnicity and culture.

Question 3: What are two specific issues you would address as a School Committee representative? 

My first issue actually links up the Sun Journal’s prior questions about public health and equity: the unequal distribution of COVID-19 learning loss. I anticipate that those already marginalized by various special needs are being further disadvantaged by pandemic practice. My second concrete issue derives from how the current school committee appears to exist in a bubble. It desperately needs communication, collaboration, and consultation with our schools’ education professionals, current students, and less vocal parents.


Felicia Hinkley Submitted photo

Name: Felicia Hinkley

Age: 30

Occupation: Substance use counselor at Maine State Prison

Community engagement: Through my work, I have assisted community members with housing and mental health/substance use services. Recently, I was appointed to the Lewiston Housing Committee.

Question 1: Do you believe students should be required to wear a mask in school to prevent the spread of COVID-19 under current pandemic conditions?

The state has a color-coded system for letting us know the level of risk our community is at regarding COVID-19. During the vote for policy on masks this year, one idea was mentioned that I agree with. It is that we should mask according to this system. If our community is low/moderate risk then masking should be optional, if the level increases to a high risk then mandates for mask should be implemented.

Question 2: Do you feel that issues of equity and race are being appropriately addressed in Lewiston schools?

Speaking with current School Committee members and parents whose children are directly impacted by this, I feel that there have been improvements, including recently passing a statement of equity and hiring a social emotional learning and equity coordinator, but we still have a long way to go. Results recently reported from a Department of Justice investigation in our district show a large disparity in the discipline of students of color and students enrolled in special education.

Question 3: What are two specific issues you would address as a School Committee representative?

One issue I would bring to the team is the exposure to drugs by our children who are in prime development stages when the most damage can be done, particularly the snowball effect that their use has on their mental/emotional/physical health and the high risk of a criminal lifestyle and homelessness. Secondly, I aim to better support and equip our teachers and educational staff to effectively address these issues, so that they may better support our students.

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