To the editor: It was with great distress that I watched the drama unfold at the Kent County Commissioners June 5 meeting on the county budget. The commissioners decision to dismiss the request for funding put forth by the Board of Education was shortsighted.
Since 2012, I have been a participant in the Greater Chestertown Initiative. Six years ago, the GCI identified the improvement of our schools as being instrumental to economic growth for Kent County.
In a time of voter apathy and lack of civic attention to local politics, I have followed with great interest a group of parents as they embraced their responsibility to fight for their children and provide a voice for those in the community who felt they had no venue.
The time and effort they have committed to creating a social media outlet to support their schools resulted in the creation of SOS – Support our Schools.
Speaker after speaker spoke passionately about the needs of the schools and implored the commissioners to support Dr. Karen Couch and the budget she submitted. Passions were running high and several speakers expressed their disappointment with the lack leadership the commissioners had shown. The county commissioners used the final moments of the June 5 meeting to single out the SOS members and voice their complaints about the attacks made against them in social media. Their particular complaint was about derogatory language used on several of the Facebook postings.
And yet, with all their umbrage, the commissioners failed to comprehend what these attacks were about. These exasperated parents are fighting for their children — our children — and the economic health of Kent County. The very frustration these parents expressed in their postings was often in direct relationship to the condescending and disrespectful manner the commissioners have shown toward them in meeting after meeting. Our commissioners used the word “conspiracy” and implied that the language used by a few in postings was a reflection on the poor parenting the SOS members must be guilty of in their own homes. It was a very sad state of affairs.
I encourage all citizens of Kent County to support our children. We need leadership in Kent County if we are to survive and thrive. Supporting our schools and our children is the first step. Please make your voices heard. SOS — according to Webster’s — is the international code signal of extreme distress. The voices raised at the commissioners meeting were doing just that, issuing “an urgent appeal for help.”