Newcomer Shawn Pratt running for MAU board
"I just feel we need some new people, that think differently," he said. "I believe this town runs a certain way, and there's a lot of things that are going that needs to change."
Pratt is running against incumbent Edward Letourneau and Morgan Flynn, who has confirmed he's not actively campaigning and is supporting Pratt.
In total, three seats are up for election on the MAU board this year.
Specifically, Pratt said, he's concerned about the disciplinary process in the schools.
"A lot of the rules being implemented don't help the kids," he said. He said the schools should be "lighter," on the kids, as opposed to just giving them detention.
"A slap on the wrist all the time," he said, adding that he knows students do have responsibilities and need to listen to directions.
"There's this tightness, where you always have to be on your Ps and Qs," he said of the disciplinary process.
Pratt recalled his 12-year-old son coming home from Mount Anthony Union Middle School and telling him he had a detention.
When he asked him why, the reason was trivial, he said.
"I just want to be able to change some of the thinking," he said.
Pratt, originally from Brooklyn, New York, has lived in Bennington since 1996, when he moved to attend school at Southern Vermont College.
His 12-year-old son attends Mount Anthony Union Middle School, and that helped him become more interested in the schools, he said.
"Plus, ain't no black faces anywhere," he said.
And, he said, a lot of people want change.
He said he's also concerned about the board fighting for the people, not against the people.
"People elect the board to be able to fight for the people," he said. "Because that's how it's supposed to be."
He said he went to a couple board meetings where there was a "clash" between the people and the board, and it shouldn't be that way, he said.
"I didn't want to do this," he said of running for the board. "I feel like I need to. I know for a fact that I'm going to do the right thing. I'm not going to have any agendas or nothing."
He said he wants to make sure kids are safe and teachers are able to teach without stress.
"Help the teachers and help the kids," he said. "That's what the board is for."
Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at email@example.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.
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