Friday, October 29, 2021

A Call to Our Community: #LOVEfranklin

We are appalled by the recent lack of respect and civility shown to Mackenzie Atwood, a Franklin High School senior and student representative to the Franklin School Committee, who spoke with courage at the October 26, 2021, Franklin School Committee meeting about the discrimination she and her friends experience on a regular basis.  The interruption and attempt to silence Mackenzie by speaking over her cannot and should not be tolerated.


Over the last several months, we have become acutely aware of an increase in hate-filled rhetoric and vandalism in our community.  Hate speech and vandalism against members of the LGBTQIA+ community, racial slurs, and anti-Semitic graffiti cannot and should not tolerated.  We cannot allow ourselves to become numb to hate-filled language and actions no matter how frequently they may occur in our community or elsewhere.  We must speak out and act against hate to build a better community.


Each of our faith traditions calls us to love: to value the sacred worth of everyone, treating each person with dignity and respect.  To be very specific, let us love Franklin.  We resolve to create a beloved community where all persons regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnic background, age, stature, ability, creed, or faith can find a home.


Therefore, we commit ourselves to love Franklin.  And, we ask you to commit yourself to love Franklin too.


  • Rabbi Tom Alpert, Temple Etz Chaim
  • Susan Borchard, Franklin Federated Church
  • Rev. Eric Cherry, First Universalist Society in Franklin
  • Mary Diehl, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Franklin Interfaith Choir Director
  • Rev. Maggie Geller, St. John's Episcopal Church
  • Alisa Hansen, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Rev. Dr. Jacob W. Juncker, Franklin United Methodist Church
  • Father Brian Manning, Saint Mary Parish, Franklin MA
  • Rev. Kathleen McAdams, St. John's Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Dr. Marlayna Schmidt, Franklin Federated Church

I hope you’ll consider adding your name and encouraging others to do the same.  You can find a link to the statement along with a form to add your name here:

A Call to Our Community: #LOVEfranklin
A Call to Our Community: #LOVEfranklin


  1. Maybe all parties involved at the 10/26 school committee meeting should be heard FIRST... BEFORE making such statements. Dr. Ahern's statement to FPS is also full of inaccuracies. There was not a single person that had an issue with Mackenzie Atwood and her sexual orientation, or spoke out about this - yet this was stated all over the news. Furthermore, people were not shouting over Mackenzie either - a separate argument had occured across the room. All community members deserve the respect to be heard (without being "canceled") and unfortunately, they had to shout as they were not given the same opportunity to speak that Mackenzie Atwood was given. All that she had said was perfectly accepted by all until she made the following statement (which was unnecessary to her own argument and concerns):
    "Being someone who is Caucasian is not something that you're getting bullied about.”
    It is not clear why School Committee members and Dr. Ahern went against their own rules and that of the governing bylaws, to allow a minor (who had already expressed many times that she was stressed) to speak solely on behalf of the School Committee. MANY SERIOUS concerns and questions were raised by concerned parents (including what is a "protected class", a pornographic book / "The Bluest Eye", being read at Franklin High, and also "The Hate You Give" book, pushed on 10 year olds in Franklin - 5 years too early. Plus sex education for 9 year olds in Franklin / 4th grade. Most other schools receive Sex Ed in 6th grade). Parental concerns were expressed in a respectful manner by numerous parents and NOT ONE single concern was addressed by Dr. Ahern and the School Committee members. Please read the MOST RECENT statement about this. We should all learn from this and yes... stop ALL of the hate and divisiveness. God loves ALL of us and he deems each and every one of us as EQUALS.

  2. Regulation dictate that committee members NOT respond to citizen's comments.

    The girl was not speaking on behalf of the school committee. And she had the right to her own opinion, which she said it was.

    The lady with the Go Brandon comments was accorded the same privilege.

    If the parents had concerns which they expected to be discussed, they need to get on the agenda, so the rest of us public has an opportunity to weigh in on the subject.

    That is the way committees work and are required to work under the Open Meeting Law.

    Please do not confuse people by insinuating the committee was ignoring the parents when they were actually following the law. Better to educate folks about HOW to affect policy than just complain about it.

    The parents concerns were fine

  3. Miss Atwood was not commenting FOR the School Committee. She asked the Chair if she could comment (from her perspective) on a concern raised.

    Policy dictates that SC members do not address public comments.

    Two parents raised concerns respectfully. The others did not. The books raised as concerning are award winning novels, with pieces taken out of context, and now, have attention drawn to them. ALL families can opt out of any literary selection and choose another. As for Sex Ed, no one is "teaching" sexual intercourse to 4th or 5th graders. Should children not learn how their bodies work and we "hope" they figure it out?

    You do understand that your child has already seen or heard all of this on TikTok, Snapchat, anywhere on the internet, you tube, etc? Do you censor those venues as much as their reading selections for school?

    We should all be much more concerned that children, students are not being shown or taught kindness, empathy, patience, love, tolerance, right from wrong, community.

  4. SC members can tell a parent that they'll send her the information she needs as this parent had asked (prior) the school principal and superintendent and did not receive a clear answer.

    Miss Atwood had unlimited time to speak. Tax paying adults get 3 minutes.

    Dr. Ahern did address public comments a few weeks back. Go to Franklin TV and watch or better yet, you can show up at a SC meeting personally.

    So parents aren't "respectful" if they raise concerns over a developmentally inappropriate pornographic book assigned in school ��(describing in grotesque detail - the brutal rape of a father to his 11 year old child, who gets impregnated by him!!! Plus bestiality and violence, etc!!). It doesn't matter if it has 20 awards, it's not developmentally appropriate and it's typically read in college. There is a reason for this - the brain does not fully develop until someone is 25. Young kids can't process this information without it potentially causing harm.

    NOTHING was taken "out of context". How can exact quotes "be taken out of context"? ��

    Opting children out of books, chats, etc. in school have consequences. I did so with my child. After doing so, he basically became ostracized... many did not want to hang out with "the baby" of the class. It's also disruptive to the learning environment as he missed out on a lot of class discussions. 10 year olds should not be reading books that glorify going to parties that have "weed", "alcohol" and many are having sex at the party and "getting pregnant", in addition to many stereotypes.

    I don't know where your children go to school but my child was taught in 4th grade in Franklin... the "puberty" talk discussed male sperm, girls getting pregnant, etc., etc. Clearly a talk on sex education. Most area schools teach this same lesson in 6th grade.

    My children are not allowed on any social media. They are older and don't have smart phones - just a basic flip phone to use if needed, especially for safety. Children / teens are developing mental problems (etc.) from some social media use - please research it. Parents need to take a more active role in their child's life and set boundaries that will keep their child(ren) safe.

    Your rhetoric on your final sentence is just that - rhetoric. Most, if not all, parents want this.