Education

BLM flag pushback: and then there were four

Despite growing opposition, Essex-Westford school board gives BLM flag another year

By Guy Page

Three more Essex-Westford School Board members Tuesday night joined longtime Black Lives Matters flag opponent Liz Cady in voting against flying the BLM flag on school property. However, the board voted 6-3 to continue flying the controversial flag. 

According to school board bylaws, the votes of Westford board members each count as only half a vote. The “No” votes were Elizabeth Cady and Jack Behlendorf (both of Essex), and Westford board members Andre Roy and Scott Cooledge. 

This spring, Cady was the only board member to oppose the BLM flag. However, strong local grassroots activism – including a large crowd present Tuesday night – has led other board members to vote with her. The flag has become a lightning rod of public opinion for and against the district’s controversial CRT-based ‘equity and diversity’ instruction.

Also, the decision to fly the flag will be reevaluated in a year – in contrast to the original motion which would have let it “fly indefinitely.”

Board members voting ‘yes’ and up for election next spring are Al Bombardier and board chair Kim Gleason. Behlendorf also is up for re-election. Gleason has come under criticism for no longer owning a home in Essex while living in Grand Isle. She has refused to resign. 

Categories: Education

13 replies »

  1. This is a tactic of life long politicians that agree with the silent majority when their vote makes no difference in the outcome. I will wait to vote for anyone who Liz Cady believes to be worthy of my vote. Al and Kim at least have integrity but i will vote them OUT. The others who have changed their vote to secure re-election don’t deserve my trust or the salary I pay them. This is our town and we deserve better.

  2. Speaks volumes when most elected officials temain silent. Starts with scott, AG donavan and every school board member who has allowed this madness.

  3. Only a woke racist would believe somebody who opposes BLM has got to be a racist. Ronald Reagan was right. ” “Fanaticism will come to America in the form of liberalism.” שלום

  4. I attended this meeting via Zoom and was extremely disappointed, as the school district is not serving the taxpayers, which is one of their core responsibilities, according to the Vermont School Board Association. The Association guidelines state nothing about children writing school policies and then demanding that school boards enforce them. school districts like Essex only serve their own political agenda, using children, which they feed propaganda and unsubstantiated claims of systemic racism. District students are not thinking critically in an attempt to prove or disprove what is being presented to them. They are only parroting back what the establishment tells them.

    What scared me most was that the students stated that they plan to start a leadership program for k-6 students. You would need to have critical thinking skills to qualify as a leader. While, well intentioned you ladies, they are certainly not qualified to hold such a role. Let grade school children be children. They are not emotionally or mentally ready to be leaders and social activists.

    I have sent many testimonials to the school board from members of the black community that have been involved in the BLM movement, in leadership and otherwise. The former Saint Paul, Minneapolis, BLM chapter leader publicly resigned, stating that the BLM organization and teachers unions care more about their political power, then poor inner city black children. The second testimonial of a young black man from a middle class family who shared that he almost committed suicide because he bought into believing he was a victim and that he would never amount to anything, as the system would not allow him to be successful. Needless to say the EWSD board responded with a form letter. It saddens me that our children actually believe that the only way to show black and brown commity members that they matter is through the flying of a flag.

    There are so many more meaningful ways to show this segment of the community that they matter, such as a mentoring program for black and brown students. I work for a large global company. My manager is a wonderful, intelligent, educated and qualified black woman. Her manager shares the same attributes. Other leaders in my organization are Hispanic and Indian. We all hold great respect for each other. It would be so beneficial to black and brown students in the district to be mentored by such successful people. Although, the school board refuses to acknowledge that these people exist, as their success does not support systemic racism.

    I would like to thank those board members that voted to remove the flag, as their vote to remove the flag will result you in harassment from flag supports.

    Vermont recently make the national news. I attached the article for those who would like to read it.

    https://www.foxnews.com/us/vermont-school-district-votes-flying-black-lives-matter-flag

    • The actions here in VT insist that systemic racism exists in VT. It is a circular argument. VT is one of those places that has simply grown beyond the systemic racism which existed may have existed in the past.

  5. There was considerable feedback from the community that the flag was divisive. There were also assurances from the same people that our schools should definitely be working to eliminate barriers to opportunities for ANY student. But these messages were hardly discussed when deciding whether to continue to fly the BLM flag. The only question was: How long before we re-evaluate.

    This board is clearly NOT listening. It is time for new board members.

    Kudos to Liz Cady. Her approach was terrific. Kudos to our Westford representatives for voting against the continued flying of the flag.

      • I was one of the parents who suggested last year that students create their own flag. The school board flatly said, no. They then allow a black political candidate, running for office, to speak at the flag raising. I asked about why the school board would allow a political candidate to do this, as schools should be free from politics. They responded that the democrat candidate had been helping the students with some things. The school board refused to define “some things.”

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