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This week’s edition!

Letters to the Editor

McCallister supports LGBQ youth

I attended the October 19th “Meet the Candidates” event at the North Gorham Library, and it solidified my decision to vote for Stewart McCallister and Jen Whitehead for School Committee.

I was encouraged by the responses given by McCallister and Whitehead in response to how our schools can support LGBTQ youth. A recent study found 50% of LGBTQ youth considered suicide within the past year while those who live in a community that is accepting of LGBTQ people reported significantly lower rates.

Here in our community, the Gorham Middle School Civil Rights team found that 44% of surveyed students have witnessed students being targeted based on gender identity or sexual orientation. It is clear to me we need to continue fostering a community that accepts our students as they are.

I was discouraged by the response of candidate Andrew LaPlaca who seems to think we need a “welcoming group” for all students, rather than focus on the population with an acute need. By this logic, firefighters should douse all homes, not just the ones which are on fire.

I encourage you to join me in voting for Stewart McCallister and Jen Whitehead for Gorham School Committee.

Eileen Armstrong, Gorham Resident

Voting for Schoolboard

This election I’ll be voting for Jennifer Whitehead and Stewart McCallister for Gorham school committee. Both have a proven ability to listen, collaborate, and create solutions through compromise and respect.

Listening to Stewart (up for re-election) talk about the intricacies of Aspire Gorham (a community-wide initiative encouraging students in every grade, in every Gorham school, to think about their futures), is impressive. Collaborations with businesses and community organizations in and around Gorham have been forged, a partnership with USM allows high school students to earn college credits (for free!), and Little Rams will make pre-k available for Gorham families, filling a massive need and better preparing our children for school. Stewart is well-versed in every consideration, from budgeting to understanding exactly what it takes to make things happen and is looking out for the best interests of our students, the primary stakeholders in our schools.

Jennifer Whitehead, who has vast experience as a special ed, arts, and reading teacher, holds unique insight into how best to support our educators, who are increasingly tested and challenged by COVID and attacks on their professionalism. They need to be supported by our school committee, not challenged by it.

Jennifer also started the civil rights team at Narragansett and supported DEI training in our schools. She’s a champion for all students, working to make sure they feel safe and included in their schools. Feeling safe and valued is vital to a child’s development and ability to learn. This doesn’t mean more SROs (though those have value too), this means that students feel a sense of inclusion and belonging.

Both will address the need for upgrades to our schools in ways that are fiscally responsible. As a realtor, Jennifer has a keen understanding of how taxes impact the community, as well as growth trends.

Together for Gorham! Please join me in giving Whitehead and McCallister your vote on November 8th.

Emilia Dahlin, Gorham Residen

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