D-Y School Committee Member Shares Thoughts on Calmer Choice Status

Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School Committee Member Michelle Conover

Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School Committee Member Michelle Conover

YARMOUTH – A Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School Committee member who previously asked for the removal of Calmer Choice is now thanking the District for taking steps on the issue.

Michele Conover said that she is pleased that the District is now sending opt out notices home to parents before sessions are started in their children’s classrooms.

The Calmer Choice initiative was under fire from Conover last month, when she said it is “psychologically dangerous” for adults and potentially unsafe for children.

“What I found most interesting is that many parents didn’t even know that this program was going on, so now that they do, they’re able to make an educated and informed decision about that,” said Conover.

She said she knows that there are disagreements about her views on the program, but that it’s okay.

“Public discord is an important part of any governing body,” said Conover. “I’ve never been one to kind of sit back and be a spectator when I’m involved in committees, otherwise that would be a waste of time. Public discourse leads to positive change and I think it’s a required part of the democratic process.”

Last month, Conover enlisted the California-based National Center for Law and Policy for help.

They sent a letter to the school district demanding Calmer Choice be immediately halted, but the school committee decided to continue the program instead.

Since then, Conover has acknowledged that the program is updating their curriculum, cleaning up their message and updating their website, which were things that were not happening before.

“While some people may not have agreed about the methods that I took, my hands were tied and I was forced in the routes that I went, I think the outcome is positive for our kids and for our community and for parents of children who choose the wonderful school district that we have,” said Conover.

Conover added that although there was pressure put on the school committee to halt the program, there was never a threat of a lawsuit.

“I was fortunate enough to find a legal firm that would help me at no cost,” said Conover. “I’m a private citizen, I can’t fund legal strategies on my own and I was very fortunate that someone helped me advocate and helped get the message out that I had tried unsuccessfully to do on my own.”

Going forward, Conover said that she will continue to look out for issues that affect the health and safety of children in the school district and will run again for her seat on the school district committee.

“I have 20 years vetted in advocating for the health and safety of kids and I’m certainly not going to stop,” said Conover.

By JUSTIN SAUNDERS, CapeCod.com Newscenter

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