To the editor:
It is with great disappointment that I read the anonymous comments in the Sound Off column that denigrate Haverhill's schools, the new superintendent, teachers and administrators. Schools are often scapegoats for the failures of a society. We live in an age where we blame those least able to control situations.
Neither teachers nor principals can control a child's behavior if that child comes to school without a basic upbringing that stresses respect for those in authority. Children often come to school talking back, harassing and bullying. Don't expect the school to be able to solve the problems that parents have neglected.
Most students are wonderful. Most enjoy the social aspect of school. Most really want to learn. But, more often than not, one or two severely behaviorally disordered children with parents who have relinquished responsibility take a disproportionate amount of time to control. The public too often blames the school — the place least able to control a recalcitrant child.
Americans are great at scapegoating others for their failures. Currently we blame immigrants, legal or illegal, and Hispanics. When Americans turn to demagoguery and name calling, you can be sure schools are next on the list to blame.
Some of Haverhill's schools are old, by school-age standards. Kids are hard on buildings. A school shows its age beyond its years after a short 10 years. Imagine if all the money wasted on Trump's vanity wall was used to erect fancy new schools across America.
Lately the phrase “gang of four” has been appearing in the Sound Off column, the place for cowardly people who refuse to put their names to their statements. The last time I heard that phrase was during the days of Mao and the communist revolution in China. Teachers were paraded through the streets, humiliated, had food thrown at them, beaten and forced to wear signs on their bodies.
Using a phrase like that proves undoubtedly that those who use it have no idea how terrible it is, do not know their history and want to bring down good people.
Our School Committee members are some of our finest people. Scott Wood has grown into a fine gentleman, knowledgeable about educational issues. Maura Ryan Ciardiello knows more than a thing or two about education. No one, but no one, is more qualified than Gail Sullivan to serve on a school board. If Paul Magliocchetti would dedicate himself to Haverhill's schools instead of seeing them as a springboard to other elective offices, he would have my vote too.
While it is acceptable to disagree with any of them, it is not acceptable to use hateful speech or ridicule them.
We are living through a contraction. It is like an infection that spreads outward from Washington — name calling, reviling people with whom you disagree, lying, swearing, immoral behavior, white collar crime, even calling for their deaths.
Some people blame President Donald Trump. But he is very “slippery.” His tactics are to incite the violent. He’s simply good at instigating the worse elements of society, then turning around and condemning the very thing he instigates.
Let's view a tiny community of Haverhill as a place that people would like to visit and live, rather than a community of blowhards and ignorant name-callers. Vote for whom you will. Write letters about candidates and their credentials, but not simply to say someone is “good.” Write a letter elucidating why someone is good, what he has done for the community and where he stands on issues.
But, it is time to stop bullying people and trying to humiliate them with the same tactics coming from Washington.
It is behavior we ought not normalize.