Amherst educators are committed to confronting racism and supporting teacher Carolyn Gardner

The following statement was issued today by Amherst-Pelham Education Association President Jean Fay and Massachusetts Teachers Association President Barbara Madeloni:

The Amherst-Pelham Education Association and the Massachusetts Teachers Association are committed to addressing the myriad ways that racism harms students, educators and communities.

We recognize that confronting racism is difficult work that requires care, listening and transparency. But no matter the difficulty, we are determined to see it through.

“Educators are uniquely positioned to tackle the ways that racism enters our classrooms.”

- APEA President Jean Fay and MTA President Barbara Madeloni

Amherst teacher Carolyn Gardner’s experiences are extremely disturbing. Yet the issues raised by them are not unique to any town or city. We respect the efforts made by the Amherst community to talk through differences, acknowledge problems and engage in dialogue that increases understanding and spurs action. Many of our members have rightly taken a stand at public forums and rallies to support their colleague and to speak out against the scourge of racism.

Educators are uniquely positioned to tackle the ways that racism enters our classrooms, and we affirm the work of our members in Amherst to negotiate this complex territory for themselves and their students.

Our work to create inclusive, equitable and anti-racist schools and communities is never done. In order to do this work, we must be assured of fairness and transparency.

Justice for Carolyn – and the well-being of the entire community – can only be attained in a spirit of openness and good will. The APEA and the MTA are committed to ensuring that Carolyn is treated fairly and that the issues raised by her experiences are addressed with clarity.

It is our hope that the parties can work together to come to an agreement that allows the strength of our members, of Carolyn and of the community to bring forth a deeper understanding that reflects a shared commitment to the common good and the well-being of every child.