Letter: Tyer has advanced successful new approaches

Posted

To the editor:

National issues such as substance abuse, homelessness, crime, education and the economy have trickled down to local communities along with the current divisive political climate. Fear of change, denial of facts and lack of knowledge permeates many of these political perspectives. Our mayor, Linda Tyer, has fearlessly addressed these complex social issues.

Under Mayor Tyer's leadership, the economy is stabilized and the city has attracted new businesses and more jobs. She was a part of the team that built a state-of-the-art school that has progressive and competitive vocational and academic programs to prepare our students for higher education and the job market. Mayor Tyer participated in securing funds to establish a pilot program to attract new and diverse teachers. It has been shown that diverse educators have a positive impact on students of all backgrounds.

As a mentor, I have had the honor of seeing our city through the lens of students for whom life has been difficult. Some were labelled and seen as doomed because of their personal circumstances or behavioral challenges, much of which were the result from the social ills impacting our nation and city. These young people, many of color, experienced punitive and inequitable systems, but now many of them today, through dedicated guidance and an investment of resources, attend colleges and universities, while others are contributing citizens.

Our mayor has sat with some of these youth and leaders. She has embraced and identified best practices to address the trauma in their lives. We need a leader who takes this kind of initiative. One who is willing to listen and engage with all people in the community. Throughout Mayor Tyer's four years of service, she has proven herself to be that leader.

You can be an innovator and a leader from wherever you sit or stand or an obstructionist to prevent implementation of new and proven practices. Clearly, the old approaches have failed. Mayor Tyer embraces new thoughts such as restorative justice that teaches our youth to take responsibility for their behavior and resolve conflict. Research shows that punitive responses that criminalize our youth have not resulted in the change sought. What it does achieve, however, is an expansion of the school-to-prison pipeline, a dehumanizing system of mass incarceration.

Linda Tyer will continue to implement initiatives that create a unified, diverse and compassionate Pittsfield. She will continue to aggressively address issues to ensure we, the citizens of Pittsfield, live in a safe, growing and thriving city. On Nov. 5, please join me in voting for Linda Tyer, a mayor for all people.

Shirley Edgerton,

Pittsfield

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