To the Editor:

This letter is specifically directed to voters in the town of Paris. You are being asked to vote on the recall of school board member(s) on or before January 10. To better inform your decision, I ask that you take the time to review the SAD17 School Board Handbook, which is available online at the district website.

Note in the handbook introduction on page 1-1: ”You will not be able to please all of your constituents all of the time.” Further, under the heading ‘Principles of Successful Board Service’ on page 1-2, “To succeed in your service as a board member, there are several basic principles to keep in mind.

You were selected by your fellow citizens to be a school board member, not simply to echo their views and wants but for your willingness and ability to learn about and analyze complex issues. You were selected to help the public understand the issues, work with fellow board members, and use your best judgment in making decisions.” And finally, under the heading of Board Member Code of Ethics on page 2-28, “I will at all times think of children first and base my decisions on how they will affect children, their education, and their training.”

Analyzing complex issues and using one’s best judgment based on how these issues affect a child’s education — that’s what school board members do. In Maine, school board members are selected through a voting process, but the members’ decisions are not governed by the voter. Concerns around school policy begin at home between parent and student, and if needed, in public comment at school board meetings, and further through the correct channels already in place. Hateful attempts to intimidate individual school board members through recall voting have no place in our public school system.

Betsey Cooper

Bryant Pond

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