Verbatim: Choosing Questions For Interim School Committee Candidates



Verbatim is an occasional feature from Kitty Axelson-Berry that offers extended excerpts from transcripts from public meetings, quoting key people speaking about important issues facing the town.

The September 11 joint meeting of the Town Council, and what’s left of the School Committee, after three of its five members resigned, focused on prepared questions for applicants for the interim positions. Here are three excerpts: from Dorothy Pam, who emphasizes the importance of apologizing and making amends, and Jennifer Shiao and Ellisha Walker, who support a question about being actively anti-racist.

Dorothy Pam On The Ability To Apologize And Make Amends
“I think there’s only one good question to ask anybody, and that is, ‘If you discover that you’ve done something wrong or have left something out, can you apologize and make amends?’… People make mistakes. People can correct mistakes…”

Jennifer Shiao On What It Means To Be Anti-racist
“It’s interesting to hear people push back on the term ‘anti-racist’. Maybe it makes people uncomfortable because it has the word ‘racist’ in it. I know that all the town councilors have been through anti-racism training…and know that we all have to be actively and proactively anti-racist, all the time, every day because we all swim in this white-supremacy world that’s the default for many institutions and organizations. Sometimes just the way meetings are run can be racist.”

Ellisha Walker On What It Means To Be Anti-racist
“[Anti-racism] doesn’t just mean one thing, and that’s the beauty of keeping it in as a question, because we can let whoever is applying [for the position] interpret it for themselves and let us know what it means to them in whatever way they answer the question.”

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