Parents’ rights key issue in Essex school board race

by Guy Page

Parental rights are at the forefront of the Essex School Board race, as seven candidates compete for three open spots. 

For Essex Village, Juan Coleman and Marlon Verasamy are vying for one open seat.  Both men have careers in the military, with Coleman being a current Air Force serviceman.    

Coleman supports parents’ rights in the school and thinks his voice will add cognitive diversity to the board, which he says is essential towards successful schools.  On Coleman’s website, he states, “I will represent diverse thinking and provide our school community with a unique perspective that lessens the hyper-focus on racial equity and encourages cognitive diversity.”

“I was educated in public schools and private schools in North Carolina and then attended a Military High School in Virginia,” Coleman says on his website. “I went on to college and attended Norwich University where I majored in English and Political Science. 

“During my time at these institutions, I realized discipline and love coincide with one another. These make up the recipe for achieving self-awareness, personal accountability, and academic success. I currently serve my country in the Vermont Air National Guard,” Coleman said.

Verasamy denies CRT is being taught in schools, supports the BLM flag, supports the EWSD Equity Policy, and supports the proposed budget.    

For Essex Town, Roger Drury and Earl Barber have teamed together to put the focus back on core academics instead of age-inappropriate social issues.  Both men have children currently attending EWSD. 

Roger Drury also has a military background, and with three children in the schools at Essex, his focus is to “listen to constituents, balance requirements vs desires, and explore the return of industrial arts to middle schools (7-8 grade).”

Earl Barber, again with a military background, succinctly says on his website: “I am a pro-parent (not anti-teacher) candidate that would like to see our schools re-focused on core-curriculum education.”

Their competition is Roger Carpenter, a man selected by the Board to fill a vacated position and describes himself as a white, straight, able-bodied male enjoying a great amount of privilege;

Al Bombardier, a decades-long member on the Board who has twice voted to fly the Black Lives Matter Flag; and Laura Taylor, who has been a vociferous critic of current school board member Elizabeth Cady. 

Categories: Education

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14 replies »

  1. Guy: In all fairness. What ‘parental rights’ are you talking about? The right to do or know (or not do or know) what?

    If a parent wants the BLM flag flown on the school flagpole and CRT taught in the classroom, and another parent wants something else, what then?

    • The only flags that should be flown on a school flag pole is the US flag and possibly the state flag. Politics and social issues are best left at home.

      • Again, that’s your opinion – and you have the right to express it. But do you have the right to impose that opinion on others? That’s the question no one seems willing to answer.

    • BLM was/is a political organization. Endorsing political parties, candidates, or groups has NO right on publicly funded properties such as schools, municipal grounds, parks, etc. etc.

      • Again, this is your opinion. And while I agree with you, the question remains: what’s the difference between an ‘endorsement’ and a ‘discussion’? Some believe the American flag is a political expression, reasonably or otherwise. My question remains: do we spend our time arguing about these nuanced perspectives, at the expense of academic performance, or is there a way to avoid these arguments altogether?

        I think there’s a way to avoid this disruption and hope others can see the obvious solution as well.

  2. To those of you in the Essex School Board Area, this is your opportunity. Know who and for what you are voting. Are you for family participation in your children’s education or not? Are outsiders going to choose the path of your children’s lives or will the values and morals of your family be the guide? Will progressive politicians, interested in controlling your children’s lives, be promoting their own radical agendas, or will those really interested in students’ health and welfare, begin to assert dominance of the Essex School Board?

    • It was BLM, but the Sickle & Hammer as well as a likeness of Karl Marx flying in the breeze are appropriate too. Just ask the COLCHESTER school board who eternally and disgracefully fly the BLM flag.

  3. It’s not complicated. Some issues such as BLM, CRT and trans/multigenderism are just too controversial and divisive that they SHOULD NOT even be discussed or presented in public schools. There is plenty of time for discussing and debating (or not) these issues in the home or among friends ON YOUR OWN TIME. If you like the BLM flag, fly one AT HOME or on your own private property. If a boy want to pretend to be a girl, do it at home and dont wave it in other peoples’ faces like a dirty sock.

  4. BTW, in terms of “diversity” of ANY type: Forced diversity has NEVER worked. And choosing who you wish to live near or associate with personally is your right as an American citizen. Ask any HONEST sociologist, because:
    People lean toward being closest to those with whom they have the most in common – religion, ethnicity, race, political/social affiliations, educational level, trade, etc. These are “commonalities” and they are neither inherently wrong or illegal. Period.


  5. I encourage candidates and community members to anchor their opinions and decisions in the present realities of our local schools and community, not partisan generalizations that have little to do with a day in the life of an Essex family, student, or teacher. We can empower our students to think critically and to explore thorny issues while being cautious not to influence them with our own opinions. We can welcome all parents as active partners in the educational process and improve transparency without stripping schools of the autonomy and trust necessary to perform their difficult jobs.

  6. We also could just work on teaching math, science, reading, writing and history where we are currently ranking between 25th and 30th globally. It seems instead we are focused on social/emotional learning which IS laced in CRT, marxist b.s…..not a fan. A lot of this is coming from the teachers union’s influence on supervisory unions and curriculum development.

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