Most political races focus on the differences in candidates’ viewpoints, failing to acknowledge the things upon which they can agree. My opponent, Heather Reynolds, and I have some similarities amidst our differences.
Like Heather Reynolds, I, too, grew up in a Jewish family. Unlike my opponent, I never felt different or marginalized. I am proud of my family’s Jewish heritage and don’t feel victimized at all.
Like Heather Reynolds, I, too, support an environment of inclusivity and belonging. Students deserve to learn in schools that foster resilience and develop confidence. Unlike my opponent, I support and encourage the acceptance of all viewpoints, which is why I hold firm in my stance that students should be taught how to think, not what specifically to think.
Like Heather Reynolds, I, too, believe we should be tolerant. Unlike my opponent, I believe that tolerance should extend to those whose views are in opposition to our own. Seeking to understand someone’s opposing viewpoint is an opportunity for appreciation, not vilification. Demonizing those who think differently serves only to divide. I respect Heather Reynold’s right to believe that teachers should use their positions to influence students’ political beliefs; still, I believe it is inappropriate for teachers to impress their political stances on the children over whom they have such influence. I support classroom environments free from the promotion of any political and sociopolitical content – classrooms that do not exclude anyone because of their beliefs and values.
Like Heather Reynolds, I, too, believe that our students’ mental health and wellness are of utmost importance. It’s why our current school board has aggressively supported hiring eight additional mental health counselors and the formation of a student services division that encompasses a wide range of services and supports aimed at nurturing the well-being of all students.
Unlike my opponent, I do not believe that facilitating a child’s gender transition without including parents is an appropriate component of mental health. Keeping parents uninformed about pronoun changes, name changes and gender transition isn’t a form of mental health support – it’s operating under a veil of secrecy that goes against the very transparency my opponent so frequently claims is lacking in Central Bucks.
Like Heather Reynolds, I believe our LGBTQAI+ students deserve to be heard and supported. It’s why we have books on our library shelves that focus on the LGBTQIA+ experience for adolescents. However, unlike Heather Reynolds, who believes books with graphic sexualized content should be accessible for students under the guise of being supportive, I believe our students can be respected and supported without exposing them to graphic books that promote adolescent sexual debauchery, complete with visual depictions of sex acts and other lewd descriptions of sexual contact and practices.
Like Heather Reynolds, I believe that students and staff should feel safe. It’s why our current Board fought to provide School Resource Officers at our three high schools and security guards in each of our middle schools. Unlike my opponent, who is a self-proclaimed Ambassador to the Defund the Police Movement, as she describes in one of her many recently deleted social media posts, I am willing to fight for anything that will provide our students, staff and parents with the feeling of safety and security they deserve.
I do believe that Heather Reynolds wants our district to be successful, as do I. Unlike Heather Reynolds, who claims that student achievement is plummeting, I maintain that the opposite is true. Niche.com ranked Central Bucks the top district in the county, and our three high schools (East, South and West) in the top 1 percent in the entire state. These rankings include academic achievement, among other factors. U.S. News and World Report concurred, ranking Central Bucks among the best districts in the nation.
Recently, Central Bucks East was named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education, a recognition that only one-third of one percent of schools ever achieve. We’ve enacted a dynamic strategic plan and are actively pursuing large systemic changes to provide full-day kindergarten, move our middle schools to grades 6-8, and our high schools to grades 9-12, all under the clear and capable leadership of our administrative team and superintendent.
Are these the accolades and actions of a failing district in need of overhaul?
We should be thrilled by what is happening in our district, committed to ensuring the very best for our students, and partnered with our community, and that includes respecting the rights of our parents to be involved and informed. Mrs. Reynolds would have you believe we are imploding.
She speaks of fiscal irresponsibility as she maligns our district for defending itself in a lawsuit and compensating our superintendent at a proportional rate. What she fails to mention is that she has interacted with a plaintiff’s lawyer to gauge the likelihood of our district settling on a case that has no merit, has not even gone to trial, and would cause a tax increase of over 50 percent to all district residents while eliminating essential services like transportation, and activities like athletics, band and more.
Heather Reynolds and I are both running for School Board in November. One of us will win. Let’s make sure that our students and families do as well.