Saturday, October 23, 2021

Candidate Forum statements - Oct 21, 2021

For those participating or viewing the Candidate Forum on Thursday, October 21, 2021, you're aware that there were five School Committee candidate who submitted statements to be read as due to conflicts they could not participate in person. Four of the five were shorter textual length, the fifth was longer so the quote was left out during the reading period of the event. All five are made available here. The recording will show that the first four individual statements were all shorter in length than the last one (even shortened by leaving out the quote).

"If a candidate can’t appear, and does send a statement, it can be read into the record for each role segment. Such statements should only be 1 minute in length"



I am sorry not to be in attendance, but please know I welcome any opportunity to engage with the community. You can find lots of information, including contact information, on my FB page. You can post a question, email me, or share your views in the survey I created. If elected, I will work to promote public schools and public teachers, making visible the complex work they do for our kids and our community. I've found that people support what they understand, so if I can be of service -- having taught in a similar district for more than 21 years -- in communicating our district's work to the public, I will feel I'm doing my part.

Camille Bernstein

candidate for School Committee


It has been an honor and privilege to serve on the School Committee from 1997-2007, and again since 2017.  My two stepchildren, and my son all graduated from Franklin High, and all went on to earn advanced degrees, and are successful in their chosen fields.   

Three areas that continue to be important are the budget, counselors, and communication.  The way children learn is far different today, and the costs are not coming down.  The Town has lots to think about in the coming months that will involve thoughtful discussions by the School Committee, Town Council, FinCom, and residents.  We need to continue to support students, and staff.   The need to provide information to all stakeholders in a timely manner is greater now than ever before.  

Over the years I've worked hard to ensure that concerns are addressed in an open and honest manner, asking the difficult questions, while not being afraid to respectfully disagree with people.  My experience on the SC would be helpful to provide insight on many issues.  

If I am given the opportunity to serve on the SC again I will continue to evaluate every issue from a common sense approach, and do what is right, and best for all residents of Franklin. There is no room for personal agendas on the SC. It is the responsibility of each SC to work learning about the many aspects of successfully educating our children in order to make informed decisions governing our schools.  

Please VOTE on November 2nd, and consider casting a vote for me.  Thank you!!

MJ Scofield
candidate for School Committee


My name is Denise Spencer and I am running for re-election to the Franklin School Committee. 

If re-elected, I will continue to support providing resources to address social and emotional needs that have arisen during the pandemic; while also making sure our children progress academically. I will advocate for a fiscally responsible budget that prioritizes initiatives tied to this plan. I will also continue to strengthen the relationship between the community and our schools.

As we emerge from the pandemic, our next steps are pivotal. We are confronted by the academic and mental health consequences of the  pandemic, an urgent need for more anti-bias/anti-racism work, and ever-expanding demands for our services while working with budgetary constraints. 

With your support, I will continue to work tirelessly, leveraging the knowledge and experience I have gained to best help our district. I deeply value transparency, equity and inclusion, data-driven planning and decision making, and educational excellence in its many forms. 

I would be honored to continue to represent you on the Franklin School Committee - please vote on November 2nd! 

Denise Spencer
candidate for School Committee


My name is Elise Stokes, and I’m running for re-election to the School Committee. I’m sorry for not attending tonight; we had a subcommittee meeting conflict.

I’ll share a few things about me: I’m a parent of two children in the Franklin Public Schools: one in elementary and one in middle school. I’m invested in their education and in helping all Franklin students gain the necessary 21st century skills to succeed in our global society.

I’ve worked in education for over 20 years, I’m a Senior Consultant to public school districts, and I get to work with administrators and staff in schools across the state.

My first term on the School Committee brought many challenges, including: a budget crisis, a pandemic, and a school retirement. I worked hard to fulfill my role: I attended every meeting, I represented the SC in district events, and I served on a number of subcommittees.

My parent perspective, professional expertise, and volunteer experience have helped me serve in this role as a Franklin School Committee member, and I’d be honored to serve another term!

Elise Stokes

candidate for School Committee


To the citizens of Franklin,

Thank you for the opportunity to make a statement tonight. My name is Dashe Videira, and I am running for School Committee. My 3 areas of focus are parental rights, quality education, and giving the freedom back to the town to make these decisions for their community.

I wanted to share with everyone a quote from Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. This book has been recommended by Dr. Kellett last year to high school students.
"He could have been an active homosexual but lacked the courage. Bestiality did not occur to him, and sodomy was quite out of the question, for he did not experience sustained erections and could not endure the thought of somebody else's. And besides, the one thing that disgusted him more than entering and caressing a woman was caressing and being caressed by a man. In any case, his cravings, although intense, never relished physical contact. He abhorred flesh on flesh. Body odor, breath odor, overwhelmed him. The sight of dried matter in the corner of the eye, decayed or missing teeth, ear wax, blackheads, moles, blisters, skin crusts-al/ the natural excretions and protections the body was capable of-disquieted him. His attentions therefore gradually settled on those humans  whose bodies were least offensive-children. And  since he was too diffident to confront homosexuality, and since little boys were insulting, scary, and stubborn, he further limited his interests to little girls. They were usually manageable and frequently seductive. His sexuality was anything but lewd; his patronage of little girls smacked of innocence and was associated in his mind with cleanliness. He was what one might call a very clean old man." Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye.

As a mother of four, a Christian, and a citizen of Franklin, I am appalled this is being assigned in our schools. This is embarrassing to read as an adult, let alone a child. The Ted Talk with author Grace Lin, speaking of "the windows and mirrors of your child's bookshelf", she asks parents to look at their child's books and ask if they are mirrors or are they all windows. Grace says, "Make sure children have both. Because if you do, you are setting a path for self-worth and empathy. And that is a brick road worth following". I struggle to  see how books, such as The Bluest Eye, set a path for self-worth and empathy. Adolescence being a time of confusing, and even frightening, changes due to physical, emotional, and cognitive growth, this book seems to detract from the very support our kids need during this time.

Staff at the ECDC created their own Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team. They are striving to ensure all students and staff feel included. Given how the state is moving forward with Sex Education, DEI, and Racial Equity, I find this messaging very deceiving, far from inclusive, and dangerous to the social and emotional needs of our children. We need to start asking better questions regarding the long-term impacts this will have on our community.

Thank you for your time,

Dashe Videira
candidate for School Committee

Candidate Forum statements - Oct 21, 2021
Candidate Forum statements - Oct 21, 2021

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