The following letter was sent to the Regional School Committee on August 21, 2023
In the wake of the departure of Michael Morris from his role as superintendent, as well as Ben Herrington’s resignation as a school committee member and chair of the RSC, I am writing to request that you change the August 23rd meeting from virtual to in person, at the high school.
The public has been making requests of the RSC for equity, accountability, and transparency, which have largely gone unmet. When we requested an emergency meeting of the RSC to vote on whether or not to put Michael Morris on leave, our requests were not just refused, on the level of one-on-one communication via email, they were blatantly ignored. The only communication (if one could call it that) that most of us received from the RSC on the matter were disparaging and contemptuous comments that Ben Herrington made to the press about the public’s concerns, which were then echoed by Peter Demling.
Once again, we are asking you to interface with the public directly, face to face, and in a transparent manner. Throughout the last few months, there has been a constant refrain from certain members of the RSC that the public doesn’t know as much as we think we do. I would argue that if this is the case, it is because you have directly and intentionally created a climate of opacity and shut the public out. As far your constituents can tell, there is no reason for the 8-23 meeting to be held virtually. Therefore, I am asking that if you deny the request for an in-person meeting, you state the reason for your refusal.
M.J. Schwartz is an Amherst resident, parent, and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community with experience as a crisis counselor for LGBTQIA+ youths.