The Reading Post accepts Letters to the Editor. All letters must be signed. The Reading Post reserves the right to edit or not publish any letters received. Letters do not represent the views or opinions of the Post. email@example.com
To the editor,
How often have we heard and thought about that famous quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
That is what is on my mind when I contemplate the potential recall of School Committee member Shawn Brandt over the issue of the unredacted student information contained in a release of records from the School Department several months ago: Justice.
We all agree, many of us are or have been parents of children in the Reading public schools, that the release of that information was a terrible invasion of privacy for the affected children and their families and that it should not have happened.
What then is our response to that as a community?
What is the just and fair response to the staff who inadvertently released this information? What is the just and fair response to the citizens of the town, including current and past volunteers who did not request, but received this information?
The first step is, of course, to determine how this occurred.
The second is to offer sensitive and sincere apologies to the families involved.
The third is to implement clear protocols and procedures to prevent such a release of personal information again.
Should more be done? Should town employees involved in the information release lose their jobs, their livelihoods? Should valued town volunteers lose their positions and have their reputations stained permanently by a potential recall? Would those be just and fair responses?
No. Those responses speak solely to revenge and retribution. This incident has been a very painful one, for the families, the employees, and community members touched directly by it.
Painful and important lessons have been learned.
The attempt to recall Shawn Brandt, who neither asked for nor passed on the private information, is unjust whichever way you look at it.
If you are asked to sign a recall petition, please say “No.”
Mary Ellen O’Neill