Transcript of Remarks By Middleborough Superintendent Carolyn Lyons During Middleborough School Committee Meeting On Thursday, April 13

Printed from:

Editor’s Note:  Carolyn Lyons is the superintendent of Middleborough public schools. On Thursday, April 13, during the superintendent’s report, she addressed the Middleborough School Committee about a protest by two adults that occurred that morning. The two individuals stood on public property near a public school with signs that said “There are only two genders” and “Keep woke politics out of our schools.”

Lyons criticized the protest, saying that “exposing our children to messages that marginalized groups of students is a safety issue.”  She also used the acronym “DEI,” which stands for “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

A transcript of her remarks is below.


It is my duty to address what happened this morning as a citizen, as a woman, and as your superintendent. I received messages today with a degree of concern about why I didn’t email or send a communication about what happened. That choice was mine. I chose not to email because I knew I had this meeting tonight and what I had to say, I wanted to communicate orally.

This morning, two individual adults arrived at the base of Tiger Drive and stood on public property, not school property, while they held two signs. As this is the only entrance to the building, every student, family, and staff member entering the property saw the content of these signs. The individuals were there starting at about 7 a.m. and remained there for about an hour. 

Today’s the second last day of school before a period of break. Further, our middle school students took an MCAS exam today, and they did their very best to put their best foot forward despite this occurrence.

When I presented to this committee in January, I discussed what I described as a community issue, namely the need for the DEI task force and the need to start having conversations about issues that are characteristically hot-button. This continues to be a community issue. It occurred on public property, and it was not endorsed or sponsored by the school district in any way. As a community, today, we failed to model what a productive conversation looks like and sounds like for our children.

Today, our division defined us instead of our similarities. Today, our children were caught in the crossfire of a debate that doesn’t belong at their feet. It doesn’t belong at their schoolhouse. This is unacceptable to me. Our children deserve the right to go to school in a safe and supportive environment. As the superintendent of thirty-two hundred students here in Middleborough, I don’t get to choose what people think. When I told you that I would represent all students and families, it invited a degree of disagreement. When have thirty-two hundred people ever agreed on anything? This is no exception.

The dividing line for me as this district’s leader is when all students are not protected, not accepted for who they are, and told either directly or indirectly that they don’t belong here in Middleborough. As a community, we talk a lot about safety and the need for our children to attend schools that are safe. Two weeks ago, we confronted yet another school shooting in our country, and I heard from many parents about safety. I heard about structural concerns of our facilities. I heard about fears and worries. I share those concerns as an educator, as a parent, and as a citizen.

Exposing our children to messages that marginalized groups of students is a safety issue. Mental health is a significant issue facing our children today. This is an issue that existed before the last few years, and it only worsened since 2020. Student rates of self-harm and suicidal ideation are at rates that are simply terrifying. We must safeguard against anything that harms our students’ mental health. Failing to model measured and reasonable discourse is also a safety issue. Whether we like it or not, our culture needs to cultivate a practice of unpacking disagreement in a respectful way that protects our children. Our children are always watching us. They model their behavior based on what we show them. I think we can do better. I insist that we do better on behalf of every student in the Middleborough Public Schools. 

I’ve spent the past nine months talking to members of this community. I’ve spoken with students, parents, staff, community members, school committee members. While I talk at length about this later in this presentation, I’ve been collecting this information in an effort to improve our system. There are lots of opinions to consider when trying to improve anything. Respectfully, it’s the students’ voices that matter the most to me. They, and all the other groups I mentioned, have told me that they want Middleborough Public Schools to be a safe place for all students. I will be renewing our effort to achieve respectful discourse on matters of disagreement, specifically racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. I will be calling on town leaders to join me in this cause.

I will be seeking the opinion of employees, families, and, most of all, students in this effort. As I’ve told you before, I don’t hold all of the answers. I will not be able to solve a community issue alone. Most importantly, I will only allow our children and the protection of those children to be our compass.


New to NewBostonPost?  Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts.  But you’ve found it.  Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months.  And join the real revolution.