LTE: Not Voting for Geoffrey Coram

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Dear Editor:

I write so that others may know the reason I choose not to vote for Geoffrey Coram, Candidate for The Reading School Committee.

Imagine that your young child, not yet two years old, is diagnosed with a developmental disability. With the news of this diagnosis, comes the realization of the challenges, hardships, and up-hill battles that lay ahead not only for your child, but for your whole family.  You do what any parent would, and you research ways to best support your child. You must decide which therapies if any, you will have provided for your child, and you decide on the best school choice for your child. These may seem to be simple choices to be made, but I assure you; they are not.

As your child approaches their third birthday and you prepare for him or her to enter the Reading Public Schools, you add researching the various state and federal laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (which mandates that the school districts must provide children with a Free Appropriate Public Education), and attending the meetings of various town committees pertaining to the Reading Public Schools, to your seemingly ever-growing list of tasks and responsibilities.  You realize that in order to best support your child with special needs that you must listen and learn as best you can about the school system which your child is about to enter. It is this that brings you to a Reading School Committee Meeting on January 24, 2019.

Imagine sitting in attendance at this meeting as a man approaches the podium during the public comment portion of the school committee meeting to express concern regarding increases in special education costs, and he indicates a hope that “we are able to stay on top of those.”   As the parent of a child with special needs with an understanding of those aforementioned laws, you are very aware of the fact that the district spends what it must in order to meet these state and federal mandates.  You are aware that these laws saved the very lives of children with special needs.  How could someone feel so strongly against properly funding the very education and services that not only does your child need, but those very services to which he is lawfully entitled?

Now imagine that man runs for School Committee.  

I will not be voting for Geoffrey Coram for School Committee. I certainly do not want Geoffrey Coram making decisions for my child who attends the Reading Public Schools.  The link to January 24, 2019, Reading School Committee Meeting can be found here (Mr. Coram’s remarks can be found at the 3-minute mark): Reading School Committee Meeting 1.24.19

I have attempted to get Mr. Coram to respond to his public comments. As of the time of this writing, it has been over a week and I have yet to be able to get him to address his statements. Reading needs a candidate that supports the diversity, equity and inclusion of ALL students of the Reading Public Schools, including those students who have special needs. That candidate is not Geoffrey Coram. 

Laura Noonan
Pennsylvania Avenue

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