LTE: Calls for Brandt to Resign

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Dear Editor, 

It was my hope this letter would be unnecessary, but it has been several weeks since the emotional School Committee meeting of 7/22/21. The need to state publicly what is obvious to many is now. It is time for Shawn Brandt to resign as a School Committee member. His lack of integrity and inability to follow the ethical policies stated in School Committee member Ethics Policy BCA, especially as they pertain to children, suggest he is unfit for the position. As was stated at the meeting, no policy exists to remove him from office; therefore, he must do the right thing and resign.

Mr. Brandt’s own words which he posted on Facebook, describe his inadequate and unethical action, “I read only one email which contained any sensitive information and immediately began researching the multitude of Federal and state laws related to privacy to ensure I was taking the appropriate next steps.” His next steps included withholding information from fellow SC members in violation of Policy BCA which states, “A School Committee member in relations with his fellow School Committee members should: ….Not withhold pertinent information on school matters….either from members of his own Committee….” In addition, Policy BCA states, “A School Committee member in his relations with his community should: Realize that his primary responsibility is to the education and safety of children,” and “Accept the office as a Committee member as means of unselfish service with no intent to ‘’play politics,” in any sense of the word…” His role was not to “research” what he should do. His role was to immediately deal with the situation in unselfish service to the community.

Mr. Brandt failed his ethical responsibilities when he waited at least two months to act on the information he received about children in the Reading Public Schools. This is unconscionable and appalling. It was painful to see the impact of his actions on the family members who were willing to speak up at the School Committee.

We all make errors in judgment. When those errors are as egregious as what Mr. Brandt has done as an elected official, it calls for an appropriate response and consequence. Mr. Brandt, do the right thing, admit your egregious error, apologize to the families impacted, your fellow School Committee members, our new Superintendent and the community. Then resign.


Karen Janowski, former School Committee member
30 Azalea Circle

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