A Modicum of Respect
Last week, I took the opportunity to join the Madison Board of Education meeting. On the heels of the governor’s announcement related to lifting the state-wide mask mandate in Connecticut schools, I was eager to hear from the board about how Madison might approach this transition.
I have attended board meetings in the past, both in person and via Zoom, but left the Feb. 8 meeting feeling shocked, discouraged, and disappointed. I think many of those in attendance assume that my shock comes from a place of disagreement regarding the message. But, truth be told, my shock has nothing to do with the message. The message is irrelevant. It was the delivery of that message that shocked me.
There was the total and complete disregard for how a productive meeting should be conducted. There was an adult who suggested that we should burn the schools down and fire all of the teachers, as though those teachers haven’t suffered, too. More than one parent used the phrase “I am done” as if COVID only impacted them. The superintendent wasn’t permitted to deliver a response/report without constant interruption and even yelling. And when I raised my hand to share my opinion on how these adults behaved, I was heckled by a mom whose son attends school with mine. It was shameful.
Every one of us wants life to get back to normal, whatever that looks like. My only hope is that normal includes a modicum of respect, civility, and grace for those with differing opinions, those who lead and have to make hard choices, and those of us who are also trying to do right by our children. If we can’t find that normal, then how do we expect our children to?