During public comment at the Nov. 15 Falmouth School Board meeting, a concerned parent raised the issue of a high school “hit list.” He was concerned because his daughter and other Falmouth students were on this list. He was summarily dismissed. The board showed no sensitivity to the constituent’s concern about bullying and safety and stifled his ability to speak. Never once did the board say “we hear your concern; however, this is a problem we are addressing in a confidential manner.” Instead, Chairwoman Analiese Larson came across as a technocrat reading recently developed and somewhat questionable policy from a school manual. The only other board member to speak was Chris Murry, who twice asked Larson to prevent the distraught father from speaking.
I think that the Falmouth schools could learn from the response of Williams College to a recent incident of racism. The president of the college sent out a communication to the entire school community. All classes and athletic practices were cancelled on the following day to allow the campus community time to pause and attend group dialogs with the goal of increasing awareness and a feeling of safety.
The leadership of the Falmouth schools failed both the father and this community and would do more good by addressing this bullying issue head on instead of putting a muzzle on public comment.