At last night’s Board of Education meeting, chair Christine Finkelstein made a statement articulating her strong feelings regarding any anonymous letters sent to the Board–as has happened a handful of times over the last few years. Such letters, she said loud and clear, would be ignored.
“I want to let members of the community, including staff members, teachers, parents, and students, know that we will not acknowledge or address a letter that is not signed.”
She said she was issuing the statement to address what she said was “…the decision by some members of the community to try and communicate with the board through anonymous letters.” It was a statement Finkelstein said she wanted to make even before the most recent instance of an anonymous message sent to board members–an unsigned letter and photocopies of a 5-year-old lawsuit and settlement/severance agreements involving a former teacher and high-level administrator. She dismissed the material as “an anonymous rant” and “copies of discredited, 5-year-old allegations.”
Finkelstein said she did not even read the packet’s contents. “Once I saw it was unsigned, I gave it a quick skim and filed it,” adding that the school did eventually issue a statement because of the seriousness of the allegations and the fact that the documents were personnel related and obtained through a Freedom of Information
Nonetheless, anonymous documents and letters don’t carry a lot of weight, according to Finkelstein.
“Anonymous letters lack the credibility that comes with an individual being willing to put their name behind their sentiments. How can you address someone’s concerns if you can’t engage with them, ask questions and try to dig deeper into an issue? I assure you if you have a concern you’d like to bring to the Board’s attention we will honor your wish to remain confidential and treat your concern with the utmost respect. Otherwise, please understand that any unsigned letter will not be considered an official communication to the Board,” she said.
I applaud your stance on this, Mrs. Finkelstein. The public is tired of debating issues from anonymous sources. It’s a waste of everyones time. Thank you for stepping up and making this issue clear.
Thank you, Chris and BOE. I totally agree.
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