Letter: Wanting the Best for Cornish Schoolchildren

Wanting the Best for Cornish Schoolchildren

To the Editor:

The Cornish School Board is made up of five elected volunteers. They all have jobs and families. In addition to having monthly meetings (sometimes more), they are also on subcommittees that require time and dedication. Before being on the School Board, the current chairman, Mr. Troy Simino, was on the Board of Selectmen for the town of Cornish, again volunteering countless hours of service.

Columnist Jim Kenyon (“Infantile Restrictions,” May 21) suggested that the board is against volunteers and on a witch hunt against one person, Kate Barber, who helps out with the school’s yearbook. I find it hard to believe that five people volunteering hours of their time and service don’t understand and appreciate other volunteers who help in the school That’s downright ludicrous. All five board members care about children, education and the Cornish community. I would say they have a vested interest.

Barber, the volunteer at the center of this controversy, was regularly bringing to school an infant for whom she babysits and allowing students to hold and walk around with the baby. The superintendent told her to stop; she did not. The circumstances went beyond a volunteer occasionally bringing in a child while volunteering — she was bringing the baby several times a week. Usually when an administrator tells someone to stop, the person stops; in this case, the person continued and started sending out emails to select parents and community members about the situation. The board offered to have a nonpublic meeting with Mrs. Barber to answer her questions, but she refused. She wanted to discuss her situation publicly. The board was trying to protect her. The only person who made this personal was Mrs. Barber herself.

This isn’t about her. It’s about someone refusing to adhere to the administration’s request and therefore creating a need for a new policy to clarify acceptable and unacceptable practices for volunteers. As far as a witch hunt, there is a core group of community members that are hunting Superintendent Middleton McGoodwin, as well as the current board members. In the past year, board members have been publicly disrespected. It is time for everyone to stop behaving this way. It’s time for the mud-slinging to stop and for everyone to agree to disagree. It’s time to shake hands, roll up the shirt sleeves and work together as civilized adults. There is a common goal: wanting the best education for our children.

Karen Strout

Cornish Flat