LETTER: We're In This Together, So Let's Treat Each Other With Respect

Concord resident Janet Rhodes Friedman writes that declining local discourse around the CCHS Building project's trials and tribulations sets a poor example for the very children this community would one day send to the new high school.

To the Editor,

Although I serve on the School Committee-appointed Transportation Committee, I am writing as a private citizen. 

First, I’d like to publicly thank the CCRSD School Committee, CCHS Building Committee, school administration and all Concord and Carlisle residents who have worked tirelessly the past decade on our behalf. Their mission is our community mission: to bring a 21st century high school to benefit our children for decades to come. Thousands of hours have been volunteered to make this project happen. This is no small feat; it requires significant sacrifice from each and every person involved. The process has not been perfect, and understandably some residents are upset and angry. Fortunately the mistakes have been identified and being corrected, though perhaps not to the satisfaction of all. 

Second, I want to address how we treat each other. Over the past decade, national public discourse has reached a new low and continues to decline. Some of our local discourse has mirrored this trend. The tenor, language and lack of respect used in emails, posts in the various email groups, and things said publicly has been appalling. Committee members and administration have been verbally abused, accused of a wide range of egregious acts and subjected to personal attacks. 

I encourage you to think about how this impacts everyone and what our children learn by example. If this uncivil behavior continues, it will be challenging to attract and retain qualified and committed citizens to serve in important leadership roles. Think carefully before you hit “Send” on the next email or rise to speak in a public forum. Please show respect and dignity for all fellow citizens, not just those you support. We are all in this together as one community. 

Janet Rhodes Friedman
230 Old Pickard Road, Concord

Sally Quinn Reed August 29, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Thank you, Janet, for your thoughtful letter. I completely agree with you and hope that the tone of community discussions will be improved as fellow community members reflect upon your observations. I have witnessed the tireless efforts and long hours devoted by administrators and citizen volunteers in leadership positions as they attempt to navigate these challenging issues. What is called for at this time is not more negativity and criticism but a higher level of civility and constructive engagement. You are correct that the children are watching. Let's demonstrate for them respectful public discourse and work together to understand one another's positions as we aim for the highest good for our community as a whole. Sally Quinn Reed, School Street, Carlisle


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