Stop the hate: Chelsea - We can do and are BETTER!

This post expresses the views and opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily that of The Sun Times News management or staff.

After witnessing the many challenges our public educators, children, and families faced during the Covid pandemic, including learning loss, declining test scores, declining enrollment, and increased mental health challenges, we came together as four parents with different ideas but a shared vision, who wanted to give back to our schools, our children, and our community, while supporting our educators. The ONLY answer was to take our advocacy efforts up a notch and put our names on the November ballot for a non-partisan role on the Chelsea School Board. Together, we embrace this opportunity to make a difference in our community, our schools, and foremost.... on behalf of our youth. We also look forward to working together under the direction of Mike Kapolka, our new Superintendent, whose vision for Chelsea Public Schools we share.

When it came time to file in June to have our names placed on the November 8th ballot, we did not hesitate, despite knowing it would be a challenge prioritizing our career and family obligations, along with our newfound campaign responsibilities. We also recognized that our community has become one of extreme divide and very polarized from a political standpoint, which would only add to the challenges and obstacles we would face. As with any election, we expected a certain degree of discourse, as we have witnessed in all elections - local, state, and national. While we prepared for such, we did not expect the extreme level of hateful rhetoric we have witnessed in our community. Our written and spoken words have been mispresented and taken out of context, and fake parody accounts have been created via social media to portray candidates in an unfavorable light. Sadly, no one has been spared from this unfortunate rhetoric - our families, friends, opponents, and even our children have fallen prey to these unjust attacks and misrepresentations. Even marginalized groups have been used as political pawns in a non-partisan run - we find this unacceptable and stand together to denounce these practices. It is not our intention to bring more attention to the unpleasantries that accompany a campaign in the current climate; however, it is because of these actions we feel the need to let the community know the truth about what we stand for.

From day one, individually and as a group, we have consistently advocated for:

· Students and education first

· Positive leadership and transparency

· Increased career and technical education awareness and preparedness

· Improving student outcomes

· Safe, secure, and vape/drug-free classrooms and campuses

· Political neutrality

· Listening to and working together with parents, teachers, and the community

· Anti-bullying - students, educators, parents, and community members alike; we must serve as positive role models - within and outside our school campuses.

As future board members, our goal will be to create an accepting environment for differing views and opinions while carving a pathway forward to success that will benefit all, now and in the future. We stand together as compassionate individuals who want to serve and give back to a community that has given to us and our families over the years. Our quest did not start when we decided to run for school board - we have all been advocating for the past several years by being actively engaged in our school board meetings and other events. We will continue to advocate for the betterment of our schools and our children and serve as your voice - making decisions WITH you, not FOR you. Furthermore, we will continue to run our campaigns with compassion and integrity and will always advocate for ALL groups, marginalized and non-marginalized. We believe there should be less focus on what makes us different and more on being kind and respectful to ALL humans.

Equally important, we also understand that our mission doesn't stop once elected; not all stakeholders will have voted for us, and we are committed to representing not only those that did vote for us, but will also strive to earn the trust and respect of those who may not have. As school board trustees, we will make an oath to listen to ALL parents and community members' views and opinions. Therefore, we will work with the elected trustees to make decisions or offer options that ALL families can feel good about. We will make decisions based on factual data, setting personal views and emotions aside.

In conclusion, we are not victims, nor are our opponents - our community and our children are the actual victims of the ill behavior and discourse we have witnessed. Together, we need to return our focus on our children, schools, and exemplary educators, along with ACADEMICS, KINDNESS, and a mutual RESPECT for all.

At this time, we would like to plea to our community and our opponents to stand up against the hateful rhetoric and remember why we are doing this and who we are doing it for. As adults, we must serve as positive role models for ALL of our children, or all of this will be null.

We want to thank our families and supporters for enduring with us and for their continued support. We are always happy to hear from our voting community and will continue to answer your questions and concerns one-on-one or at some of our upcoming family events.


Tom, Juli, Ross, and John

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