Showing posts with label inclusion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label inclusion. Show all posts

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - May 24, 2022 - 7 PM

Franklin Public Schools
Franklin School Committee
May 24, 2022 = 7:00 PM

Call to Order Ms. Spencer
Pledge of Allegiance 
Moment of Silence

I. Routine Business
A. Review of Agenda
B. Payment of Bills Ms. Spencer
C. Payroll Ms. Stokes
D. FHS Student Representative Comments
E. Superintendent’s Report
II. Guests/Presentations
A. Retiree Recognition
B. District Improvement Plan Update 2021-2022
C. Superintendent’s Evaluation – Presentation of Evidence

III. Discussion/Action Items
A. Superintendent’s Contract
The Chair recommends approval of a 3 year contract with Lucas Giguere as Superintendent of Schools - July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2025.
B. Policy - 2nd Reading/Adoption
I recommend adoption of policy ADF - Wellness Policy as discussed.
C. Boys Basketball Trip
I recommend approval of the request of CJ Neely to take the Boys Basketball team to Orlando, Florida from December 26-30, 2022 to participate in the 2022 KSA Events Basketball Tournament as detailed.
D. Performing Arts Trip
I recommend approval of the request of Dianne Plouffe to take students to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida from April 15-19, 2023 to perform as detailed.
E. Spain Trip
I recommend approval of the request of Emily Chaisson & Laura Keenan to take students to Malaga & Granada, Spain from April 14-22, 2023 as detailed.
F. Proposed MASC Resolution Regarding Sanctuary Laws for Trans Students
I recommend the School Committee adopt the proposed MASC Resolution regarding sanctuary laws for trans students for formal consideration by the 2022 Massachusetts Association of School Committees Delegate Assembly in November as discussed.

IV. Discussion Only Items
A. none

V. Information Matters
A. School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
B. School Committee Liaison Reports

VI. Consent Agenda
A. Approval of Minutes
I recommend approval of the minutes from the May 10, 2022 School Committee meeting as detailed.
B. Transfers
I recommend approval of the budget transfers as detailed.
C. FHS Gifts
I recommend acceptance of the following gifts totaling $3,171.04 for FHS:
a. $2,524.66 Shutterfly, LLC Supplemental Supplies
b. $64.38 Ohiopyle Prints, Inc Supplemental Supplies
c. $402.00 MA Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc. Supplemental Supplies
d. $30.00 Colleen Bond In-house Enrichment
e. $150.00 Paula Marano Scholarship
D. Parmenter Gift
I recommend acceptance of two checks totaling $905.00 from the Parmenter PCC for Field Trips as detailed.
E. JFK Gift
I recommend acceptance of a check for $1875.00 from the JFK PCC for field trips as detailed.
F. Oak St. Recurring Field Trip
I recommend approval of the request of Brad Hendrixson for 66 2nd Grade students to travel to Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, RI on May 31, 2022 as detailed.

VII. Citizen’s Comments

VIII. New Business
To discuss any future agenda items

IX. Executive Session
a. Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, §21(a)(3) to discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining with the FEA/RN unit as an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the bargaining position of the School Committee and the chair so declares.
b. Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, §21(a)(2) to discuss strategy in preparation for negotiations with non-union personnel.

X. Adjournment 

Meeting packet folder with documents released for this meeting ->

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - May 24, 2022 - 7 PM
Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - May 24, 2022 - 7 PM

Friday, May 20, 2022

Celebrate with PRIDE - June 26, 2022

Join the Franklin LGBTQ+ Alliance for an afternoon of celebrating.

LGBTQ+ and allies will be at the Franklin Town Commons 
performing, creating, dancing, singing, eating, and drinking. 

Come to the community party!

#FranklinCANCelebrateWithPRIDE - June 26, 2022
#FranklinCANCelebrateWithPRIDE - June 26, 2022

Performances: Krisanthi Pappas and an open mic (with day of sign up)

Activities: Community Art, Selfie Station, Crafts, Art Show, Ask a Sociologist

Venders: Escape into Fiction LGBTQIA+ Book Sale, Chrissy’s Beads, BFCCPS Rainbow Ribbons, Love People Gifts

Thank you to our community partners: Franklin High School’s SAGA, OUT MetroWest, MetroWest Visitors Bureau, Franklin Interfaith Council, Franklin Public Library, and Franklin Senior Center

Please check back and follow for updates and parking information.

If you are interested in volunteering or submitting art, please email

When: Sunday, June 26, 12 - 4 PM

Follow the event on Facebook ->

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Meet-Greet with finalist for DEI Director - May 3, 2022

Franklin Public Schools has been actively conducting a search for our Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. A committee consisting of teachers, parents, district administrators and School Committee was established to conduct initial interviews. After much thoughtful discussion, the committee came to consensus that there was one candidate who rose to the top as an exceptional leader and who they recommended to move forward in the process. The group announced earlier this month that Heidi Harris is the finalist for the position. 

We encourage parents and guardians to come meet Ms. Harris on Tuesday, May 3rd from 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM in the 2nd floor Council Chambers of the Municipal Building (355 East Central Street, Franklin, MA). 

Ms. Harris will be available to discuss her background and answer questions. 

Meet-Greet with finalist for DEI Director - May 3, 2022
Meet-Greet with finalist for DEI Director - May 3, 2022

Monday, February 21, 2022

"we can celebrate both our differences and our similarities"

The analogy of "windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors" struck me when I heard it at the School Committee meeting Feb 8 and then again at the Town Council meeting Feb 16. I was delighted to find my eyes caught a reference to this in my Twitter stream. 

Via Debbie Reese (, we find that Reading is Fundamental ( shared a re-print of the original article by Rudine Sims Bishop published in 1990.  

"Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books."

You can read the full article here ->

The Twitter thread ->

School Committee DEI presentation ->

Audio recording of the DEI segment -> 

slide from the update on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts around the district
slide from the update on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts around the district

Town Council Meeting - 02/16/22 - Audio in 3 parts

FM #735-736-737 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, numbers 735-736-737 in the series. 

This session shares part of the Franklin, MA Town Council meeting held on Wednesday, February 16, 2022. 

The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format: members of the Town Council and Town Administration personnel, the Police new hires, along with their guest and family members were in the Council Chambers, some members of the public participated in person, some via the Zoom conference bridge, all to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

I’ve split the three hour and 10 minute meeting into three (3) logical segments:

The show notes contain links to the meeting agenda. Let’s listen to this segment of the Town Council meeting of Feb 16, 2022

Part 1 -

Part 2 -

Part 3 -

Presentation Diversity, Equity & Inclusion - Sara Ahern, Superintendent of Schools ->


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

How can you help?
  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors
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Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit   or 

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

Town Council Meeting - 02/16/22 - Audio in 3 parts
Town Council Meeting - 02/16/22 - Audio in 3 parts

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Recap: Town Council views 4 police new hires, discusses Dean neighborhood parking issue; hears about diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the schools

Quick recap:
  • Four new hires for the Police Dept. were introduced to the community when they were sworn in publicly at the Town Council meeting Wednesday night. They were pinned by family members
  • Chief TJ Lynch provided a recap of the Dean College & West St neighborhood parking issues and Lt Riley provided an update on the recent efforts to quantify the problems. Ultimately, this was referred to the Economic Development Subcommittee for further evaluation on a possible increase of parking fees
  • Supt Sara Ahern and Asst Supt Lucas Giguere provided a summary of the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts underway across the Franklin Public Schools. A slightly longer version of the presentation was held at the School Committee meeting on Feb 8
  • Town Administrator Jamie Hellen was reviewed and provided feedback as "exemplary" during the prior two year period, primarily during the pandemic
  • The fiscal policies were modified slightly, one with the inclusion of the debt stabilization policy developed during 2021, and two with some adjustments on where the funds would be applied (operational budget vs. stabilization fund in the case of the hotel receipts)
Photos captured during the meeting can be found in one album

The meeting agenda ->

The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion presentation -> 

My notes taken via Twitter ca be found in this ThreadReader PDF ->


Town Council views 4 police new hires being sworn in
Town Council views 4 police new hires being sworn in

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Franklin, MA: Town Council - Agenda - Feb 16, 2022 - 7 PM

Agenda & Meeting Packet
February 16, 2022 - 7 PM

a. This meeting is being recorded by Franklin TV and shown on Comcast channel 11 and Verizon Channel 29. This meeting may be recorded by others.
b. Chair to identify members participating remotely.
a. Citizens are welcome to express their views for up to three minutes on a matter that is not on the agenda. The Council will not engage in a dialogue or comment on a matter raised during Citizen Comments. The Town Council will give remarks appropriate consideration and may ask the Town Administrator to review the matter.

3. APPROVAL OF MINUTES - None Scheduled.

a. New Hire: Police Department - Derek Mackey
b. New Hire: Police Department - Tyler Brabham
c. New Hire: Police Department - Joseph Burchill
d. New Hire: Police Department - Michael Demers
e. New Hire: Police Department - Conor Desmond

6. HEARINGS - 7:10pm - None Scheduled.

a. Discussion: West Street Neighborhood Parking - Thomas J. Lynch, Chief of Police
b. Presentation: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion - Sara Ahern, Superintendent of Schools
a. Capital Budget Subcommittee
b. Budget Subcommittee
c. Economic Development Subcommittee
d. Town Administrator Evaluation Ad Hoc Subcommittee Report

a. Resolution 22-13: Adoption of Fiscal Policies (Motion to Approve Resolution 22-13 - Majority Vote)
b. Resolution 22-14: Cable Funds in Support of PEG Service and Programming per MGL Ch. 44, §53F3/4 (Motion to Approve Resolution 22-14 - Majority Vote)

Two-Thirds Vote: requires 6 votes
Majority Vote: requires majority of members present and voting

Agenda doc and remote connection info ->

slide from the presentation on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
slide from the presentation on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Thursday, February 10, 2022

School Committee hears of the diversity, equity and inclusion work underway

Quick recap:
  • School Committee hears multiple citizen comments on their masking options and about their endorsement of Senator Becca Rausch's re-election campaign; some positive encouragement comments also came from the audience (many of these remained for the full meeting while most of the negative commentors left)
  • The key portion of the meeting was the update on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) work the district has had underway. "We don't pretend to have all the answers we are working together with humility to strive to be open"

Neither the Superintendent's Report, nor the DEI presentation were available on the FPS page as this was prepared for publication Wednesday evening. When they are, the links will be shared.

Audio recording should be available in a couple of days

Photos taken during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one album ->

Thread Reader produces a PDF of my notes shared via Twitter including the photos inline with the thread. You can read the thread here or in the embedded doc below


School Committee hears of the diversity, equity and inclusion work underway
School Committee hears of the diversity, equity and inclusion work underway

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Reimagine an Inclusive Education - Dec 13

Reimagine an Inclusive Education
A Community Forum with State Senator Ed Kennedy
Monday, December 13, 7:00 - 8:00 PM 

Please register in advance

More info at ->   and select the "Events" tab

Reimagine an Inclusive Education - Dec 13
Reimagine an Inclusive Education - Dec 13

Saturday, November 13, 2021

MIAA Statement on sportsmanship

Dear MIAA/MSAA Members:

Today marks my 35th day as Executive Director of MIAA and MSAA. I am tremendously honored to lead these great organizations and energized by the work ahead.

Over the past four weeks, I have traveled around the Commonwealth, meeting with Superintendents, Principals, Athletic Directors, Coaches, and other members of our organizations. I’ve held meetings in seven of the nine MIAA districts and look forward to visiting the remaining two very soon. In the coming weeks, I will reach out to the membership again to share some initial thoughts about my priorities for the MIAA and the MSAA, as well as my own core beliefs and values. 

However, there is a pressing matter making headlines and causing concern among many of our members that I want to address.

An altercation between two teams at a recent high school football game has brought to the forefront critical issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in interscholastic athletics. Here at the MIAA, we are deeply troubled by allegations that players, coaches, or fans harassed members of the opposing team with racial slurs or other hateful language.

Sportsmanship is one of the MIAA’s five central pillars, and we take very seriously our responsibility to help instill in student athletes a commitment to behaving with the utmost respect and dignity. One of the greatest benefits of interscholastic sports is the opportunity to meet and interact with students from other communities and backgrounds. It is essential that students and adults approach those interactions with respect and civility.

We are encouraged that the two schools involved in this matter have agreed to conduct a joint investigation, in order to examine the facts about what occurred during the game. I commend the school and district leaders for their willingness to work together in pursuit of the truth, and just as importantly, to address the issues that caused the altercation in the first place. We at the MIAA are prepared to support both teams and communities in any ways that would be helpful, particularly to make this a valuable learning experience for everyone involved.

This incident is not the first of its kind, and sadly, will not be the last. Therefore, this is an important opportunity to ask what role, if any, MIAA should play when these complex issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion arise within or between our athletic communities. Over the past two years in particular, our country has begun a profound reckoning on race and racism. Many of our schools and districts are grappling with these topics and striving to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. The MIAA and the MSAA are committed to engaging deeply in this work, too – so that we can make a difference in eradicating racism and all other forms of bias.

In the wake of the most recent case, some have urged the MIAA to get more involved in the resolution of these types of disputes. It has been suggested that MIAA could serve as an arbitrator, hold hearings, gather evidence, mandate reports, issue findings, and if necessary, impose sanctions on any guilty parties. My initial instinct is that the MIAA has a long history of emphasizing its regulatory responsibilities, which are important in some – but not all – contexts. I recognize and value the need for the MIAA to serve as a regulatory body in athletic matters, in which we have broad experience and expertise. I am not convinced, however, that the MIAA should play judge or jury as investigators or arbitrators into allegations of racism, sexism, homophobia, or other forms of bias. Our role should be to determine how the MIAA can support and guide our member schools in order to ensure that these issues are addressed with fidelity. As a former Superintendent, Principal, and Coach myself, I am highly reluctant to burden schools and districts with yet another layer of bureaucracy and compliance, especially when they are struggling through such difficult circumstances in their communities.

As the Board and staff of the MIAA consider the path forward, I believe we have a significant opportunity to begin placing greater emphasis on some of our other core responsibilities – particularly educational athletics, which includes sportsmanship and diversity, equity, and inclusion – rather than always leading with our regulatory authority. In these sensitive matters, it is my hope that the MIAA can focus more on being in service of our member schools and districts, instead of expanding our role as rule makers and enforcers.

As I embark on this role, I consider our work in diversity, equity, and inclusion to be one of the highest priorities. In the short term, we will explore a range of resources and supports that the MIAA can provide to member schools and districts to help them become better equipped to prevent incidents of bias, harassment, and discrimination – and to respond effectively to incidents when they do arise. I am particularly committed to expanding the training that we offer players, coaches, officials, and others with regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion. First and foremost, we must do our part to ensure that no one engaged in interscholastic athletics feels disrespected, unsafe, or unwelcome -- on or off the playing fields.

I look forward to working with you on these and other important issues moving forward. Sincerely,

Dr. Robert Baldwin
Executive Director, MIAA & MSAA

Statement PDF ->

Shared from Twitter:

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Superintendent's Letter to the Franklin Community - 10/27/2021

Superintendent Dr. Sara Ahern's Letter to the Franklin Community in response to the October 26th, 2021 School Committee Meeting.

Franklin Public Schools
Franklin Public Schools
Dear Franklin Community,
It is with a heavy heart and sincere anger that I write regarding the events that transpired at last evening’s School Committee meeting. The conduct, tone, and disruption by some members of the audience was appalling and a violation of Franklin Public Schools’ core values of a safe and inclusive environment and a collaborative community as well as unacceptable with respect to public meeting procedures. It is also contrary to the community’s consensus vision for our graduates of empathetic and productive citizens who demonstrate social-awareness through inclusivity and the consideration of various perspectives.

Franklin School Committee meetings are business meetings of the governing body of the school district that are held in public. They are not public meetings. The agenda for these meetings and opportunities for citizen’s comments is prescribed by School Committee policy. This is a controlled environment, however, last night I felt compelled to interrupt the meeting by asking for a recess due to a few audience members shouting insensitive comments out of turn while a student representative was speaking.

The student representative was expanding upon comments she made at a recent School Committee meeting as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in response to graffiti that was found at Franklin High School. She was permitted by the Chair to respond to a question raised during public comment regarding the meaning of protected classes within the school as well as in society as a whole. The student was eloquent and articulate in her response.

The jeers from some audience members, however, created a traumatic situation for the student and invalidated her statement of reality she so courageously shared. We are processing the impact of this traumatic event on those in attendance as well as the vicarious trauma ringing throughout the community. You can expect FPS to solidify a system to protect students during civil discourse and share plans for community healing in the coming week.

FPS plays a role in supporting the children of our community through a pivotal time of their social, emotional, and physical development. This is a time where children are trying to make meaning of the world around them, while also coming into their own identity. Whole child learning calls for our curriculum and initiatives to be appropriately tied to the developmental stages of our students. While students are getting acclimated with their own identities and experiences, FPS recognizes that the intersectionality of those identities inform the lens through which our children navigate our community. Fostering a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion means integrating those concepts into the fabric of our district as a whole. These efforts are echoed by the creation of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

The D, E, I Committee is a group of nearly 40 students, faculty and staff members, and administrators who are working towards building an anti-biased and socially-just school system. This steering committee leads the district in listening, learning, acting, and reflecting in order to affirm diversity, promote equity and accountability, reduce barriers to success, and foster a safe and inclusive school environment. We do this by applying an anti-bias lens to curriculum development, staff recruitment and retention, professional development, policies and practices, school culture, and communication. 

Goals for the 2021-2022 school year include:
Building awareness of and guidance on national months of recognition and holidays
Building upon “Speak Up At School” strategies to interrupt microaggressions
Revising discipline practices to focus on Restorative and Accountable Practices
Incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into our curriculum and instructional planning, including the expansion of literature so that all students are represented in the books they read
Continuing our partnership with the Anti-Defamation League in support of our World of DifferenceTM Peer Leader program at Franklin’s middle schools and Franklin High School
Expanding our partnership with the Anti-Defamation League to become designated as “No Place for Hate” schools
Review data for inequity and plan future actions to address these

Additionally, we are planning to recruit and hire a Director of SEL and Equity.

In the meantime, we would like to remind our community of our system of reporting. Our administrators take every incident that is reported very seriously. Reporters can make reports directly to a school administrator.

Additionally, reporters can make reports anonymously through an online form, which can be found on each school’s website. When a report is received, an investigation is initiated immediately. The facts of each situation determine the outcomes which can include support plans for the target(s), safety plans for the aggressor(s), education, discipline, and therapeutic supports. We acknowledge comments we have heard from those who feel that the administration doesn’t do anything. We are exploring the disconnect between our actions and those feelings in order to better understand how we can respond, to the extent possible within law and policy.

Some lingering questions remain from last night as a question was raised about the meaning of a “protected student” and this was an area that our student representative sought to explain. All of our students are protected by our Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan, an expectation supported by state law and our School Committee’s Bullying policy. A “protected class” is a federal and state legal definition protecting individuals on the basis of the following categories: race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, genetic information, disability, pregnancy or a related condition, veteran status, age, or homelessness. The Franklin School Committee maintains policies related to Non-Discrimination and Harassment. In addition to the legal requirements to follow the law, it is a moral imperative to protect all individuals with additional attention to these protected classes due to historic acts of marginalization, bias, and discrimination.

Our community has expressed via social forums their support for our student representative and the student population at large. Ultimately, our collective goal is to support students on their journeys. I encourage individuals to reflect on what actions they can take to support our community vision for our FPS students and Franklin community.

I want to be sure to commend our Science National Honor Society officers for their concluding remarks promoting positivity, diversity, equity, and inclusion which provided support to our student representatives.

Last night’s disruption is not an isolated incident. Vitriol in civil discourse has only been increasing in both in-person settings as well as online in Franklin and elsewhere. This is true for children and adults alike. Last night’s disruption is not limited to the schools. Bias-based behavior is permeating layers of the community. As adults, I implore you to be mindful of your behavior as you serve as important role models. Our children are watching.

This message is not intended to stifle respectful public comment including matters on which we may disagree. Citizen’s comment is an opportunity for members of the public to express an opinion on issues within the School Committee’s authority. We ask that you celebrate and practice civility in doing so and remain respectful of the rules of order. Administrative channels may also be appropriate avenues for complaints. We strive to respond in a timely manner after researching an issue.

I also encourage our community members to make advocacy and support for each and every child visible and sustained. Join us and “Speak Up” within the community. We need your help in achieving the vision for our graduates that we as a community established.

With respect for all in Franklin, 

Sara Ahern
Superintendent of Schools

Shared from Franklin Public Schools

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

"it is best to approach conflicts over speech as teachable moments"

"IN JANUARY, a few Northampton middle school students, perhaps emboldened, maybe bored, after nearly a year of remote learning, projected images of the Confederate flag as their computer screen backdrop during virtual classes. Perhaps it was a political statement, or maybe a poorly considered joke. Whatever the intent, it did not go unnoticed. The school’s principal, Desmond Caldwell, asked the John F. Kennedy Middle School community to not display or wear the Confederate flag in school, saying it disrupted learning and made some students and staff feel attacked and unsafe. 

Caldwell’s plea did not end the issue. The issue exploded with an anonymous social media post attacking the principal. Middle and high school students in the Western Massachusetts city then led a demonstration in front of the JFK School, supporting Caldwell and calling for the school district to take action. The Northampton School Committee obliged in March, banning the display of the Confederate flag in all schools, joining its neighbor Easthampton and a few other school districts across the country that have deemed the symbol an impediment to learning and banned its display outside of classroom instruction. 

If the move put Northampton ahead of the pack in clamping down on hate symbols, the left-leaning college town of 28,000 is now poised to go several steps beyond that. In September, the School Committee will take up a proposal to ban two other symbols of hate — swastikas and nooses — while also establishing a wide-ranging system in which various types of bias can be reported and investigated. It would make Northampton the only community in the state, and possibly the only one outside of Oregon, to enact such a far-reaching, anti-bias policy. "

Continue reading the article online 

Franklin has a Freedom Team to promote "Unity in the Community"

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Franklin Launches Freedom Team To Promote “Unity In The Community”

Franklin Becomes The Fifth Massachusetts Community To Form A Local Freedom Team

In the wake of 2020’s racial unrest, a broad coalition of Franklin community leaders came together to form a Freedom Team with the mission of ‘preserving freedom through unity in the community.’ The team’s members meet monthly to explore ways of offering dialogue and support to individuals and the entire community with a goal of promoting love, inclusion, and trust (“LIT”).
Franklin Freedom Team

“We, as a Town, are a community through unity,” explains Jamele Adams, Franklin resident and founder of the Freedom Team network. “And if anything happens in the community that is rooted in bias, instead of trying to figure out who to call and how to respond, we want a team to already be in place. We want a team that is proactive, reactive, and retroactive.”

Franklin Freedom Team membership follows the network’s Community 10-Point Connection Model which includes diverse community representatives, including parents, students, educators, town and school local officials, clergy, a lawyer, a trauma-informed clinician, a transformative justice facilitator, and a social media expert. In addition to their regular meetings, the Team hosts a hotline and email for residents to contact if they have experienced or witnessed bias-motivated threats, harassment, or violence. The Team promises to “offer a private and respectful space to discuss the incident using a transformative justice model not only to try to repair the harm through inclusion, trust, and equity, but also to educate and strengthen the community.”

To date, the group has met virtually every month throughout 2021 and their members have helped organize community conversations on police reform, inclusion in early education, and youth AAPI experiences. The group was in immediate dialogue following last month’s news of a swastika found in Franklin High School.

Mr. Adams, the group’s founder, is no stranger to promoting ‘LIT-ness’ in majority-White communities. Longtime Dean of Students at Brandeis University and current Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Scituate Public Schools, Adams first helped found a Freedom Team while living in Natick back in 2016. The success of the initial team – captured in a 2017
TEDx talk by Adams (– has since inspired Hopkinton, Waltham, Wellesley, and now Franklin to form similar coalitions in their communities. (More teams are in development.)

The current membership of Franklin’s Freedom Team includes:
jamele adams, founder and transformative justice facilitator
Sara Ahern, Superintendent of Franklin Public Schools
Rabbi Tom Alpert, Temple Etz Chaim
Camille Napier Bernstein, community advocate
Justin Bates, co-founder of Franklin Area Against Racism
Cobi Frongillo, Town Councilor
Jamie Hellen, Franklin Town Administrator
Elise Howell, clinician
Chief TJ Lynch, Franklin Police Department
Rev. Kathy McAdams, Rector of St John's Episcopal Church and President of the Franklin Interfaith Council
Angelina Perez, student
Judith Perez, parent
Angela Snyder, lawyer
Meghan Whitmore, community advocate

You can learn more about the Franklin Freedom Team at

To report hate, bias-motivated threats, harassment, and violence, residents of Franklin are urged to call the hotline (508-507-9693) or email

Residents who fear for their immediate safety or have an emergency should call 911 immediately.