Septermber 23, 2020
Dear Board Members,
It has been a crazy year. Our 1st grader has learning differences and did not take well to virtual school last spring. It got so bad that I was concerned I was doing damage to his love of learning overall.
This fall, he is so so. He loves seeing his friends and speaks enthusiastically of his teachers and math. But he's also sometimes scared and asks to stay home. He seems to be slowly getting familiar with this bizarre new normal, like we all are, and just starting to get comfortable with site words again. A strike would be horribly disruptive to his life and well being. And it is absolutely wild and bizarre to me that we even need to have this conversation right now.
I have no idea what sort of response you expected when you decided to attempt to dissolve the BFS union, but I just constantly wonder if what we're all experiencing now, is what you thought might happen? And was that considered and then deemed acceptable?
You had to have known about the stress it would add to our lives and to staff's lives. You had to have known that a strike was a possibility. And that our best teachers would start looking to teach elsewhere. Or that beloved staff would be fired for emailing about the union. And you had to have thought about what that strike would mean for 1st graders, scared to go to such a strange new school, trying to focus on math.
For the life of me, I cannot understand how all of this was considered better than allowing the staff to exercise their right to organize. A right that was previously recognized! And a union that was already won.
It's honestly hard for me to appeal to your ethics right now. To plead to you not to do this to our child and to our family, to our community. I'm angry that I have to. I'm angry that the massive sacrifice we've made specifically to send our son to a Quaker school feels like a bait and switch.
I'm angry that so much of the money we're paying in tuition is going to this lawyer rather than to financial aid or back into our community. It makes me not want to pay tuition much less donate ever again. But more importantly, it makes me see the school as yet another elitist institution, willing to align with Trumpian courts and borrow their faux-religious-freedom tactics to hold on to a power that is fundamentally exploitative. I'm deeply concerned that if this really is what BFS is about, it is using Quaker values as a brand rather than guiding principles.
The plan put forth by the prior board clerks is one based on Quaker values, that would allow you to work with the BFS staff as Quaker values dictate, and it's been developed by actual Quakers. As a BMM attender and member of a Quaker family, it is incredibly hard to imagine staying at a school that will use the cloak of Quaker values to union bust, but refuse the path of open communication, equality, and reconciliation when it is offered.
If this petition succeeds, it will be no win for the school. If you've listened to the BMM community, if you listened to concerned families and staff, you know that we will no longer support the school. The hypocrisy will be laid bare and we will look elsewhere for the Quaker education we want for our son.
Please do not go down this path. Please listen to us, listen to the broader Quaker community, and pull the petition.
I would very much appreciate your response to this email.
(BFS Parent and BMM attender)