by Guy Page
The Essex Westford School District Board will hold a special meeting via Zoom on 6:30 pm Monday, May 17 to discuss a Conflict of Interest complaint brought against School Board Member Liz Cady because she questions the district’s ‘racial equity’ program.
If found in conflict of interest, Cady could be censured by the Board “and subjected to such other action as may be allowed by law,” school board policy says.
Cady denies any conflict of interest. She insists she was elected by parents to ask tough questions to the school district. The May 6 complaint by Laura Taylor and Emily Franz says in part:
“Ms. Cady has made it clear that she does not believe in the district’s equity work, and that she is actively encouraging others to join her in this crusade, which she has made political through this post on a conservative website……This flagrant policy breach demonstrates what is apparent to many of us: EWSD School Board Member Liz Cady has a personal agenda that is not in the best interests of our schools, our students, or our community. We are both strong supporters of the EWSD and its work on equity and inclusion. We feel that each and every member of the School Board should be as well.”
The complaint seems to suggest that having a difference of opinion on board policy represents a ‘conflict of interest.’ The complaint does not list the home addresses, work status, or political/civic affiliations of either Taylor or Franz, so it’s impossible to know if they themselves have any differences with any Essex school district policies and therefore also have a ‘conflict of interest’ as they define the term for Cady.
Cady denies any conflict of interest. She insists she the voters who elected her want her to ask tough questions about school district policy. “It’s up to the people to make it known that they don’t want their voices suppressed, which means allowing me to ask the questions that they want answered.”
She has support from the Essex community. For example, one parent wrote to the school board:
“Elizabeth Cady was voted into this position; clearly indicating that a majority of town residents are behind her and not in support of Critical Race Theory being incorporated into our schools (at all levels). We, and many others, appreciate her speaking up against this and inquiring about curriculum, on our behalf. Surely the board isn’t pursuing this complaint; to do so would imply the board is in agreement with the statement – that every board member must be of the same opinion, or they aren’t welcome? She’s doing exactly what we all voted her in to do; I would hope the board would be receptive to another perspective on the subject, especially one the community feels so strongly about.”
Editor’s note: the complaint also makes an inaccurate statement against Cady: that she described herself as ‘uppity.’ A May 4 commentary clearly carries my byline and the headline “Uppity Women Unite!” Here’s what really happened: inspired by the example of Cady and freshman lawmaker Samantha Lefebvre in their respective battles for fair, Constitutional government over entrenched political power, I borrowed a popular expression from the early feminist movement. Cady did not use or even know about the story’s use of the “uppity women” expression. The headline was meant as a compliment, but apparently Franz and Taylor didn’t get it. They also should have known she didn’t write it: the editor, not the subject of the story, writes the headline.