Letter: Are parents the only ones qualified to be school trustees?

Editor:

My doors are getting knocked on almost every night with all of these new candidates and I am painfully aware that an election is coming. Is this making me bitter?

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The other night I had a school trustee candidate come knock on my door. She was engaging, eloquent and had this excitement about her. She talked about why she was running, what she was passionate about and her professional, community and educational background. I could feel her passion but I saw it quickly fade away when my immediate and only follow up was “do you have kids?”

My husband and I went into the kitchen and just asked ourselves why we even cared if she had kids. There she was, standing in front of us in the pouring rain - confident, passionate and with this impressive history - but we shut it all down with our one meaningless question. My neighbour asked her the same thing and I bet you so did every other door. Heaven knows being a parent doesn’t automatically make you an expert at anything.

Please consider this a public apology on my behalf to every young candidate, especially the women, who have bravely put their hats in the ring in hopes of creating great change but have to put up with meaningless and insulting questions about their personal reproductive choices. We’ve been socialized to believe that only certain kinds of people belong in public office, but what I’ve noticed lately is strong community leaders and the ones that are bold and creating big change are overwhelmingly young women. I will be rethinking my doorstep manner and will be reaching out to this candidate who I greatly undermined to let her know she has my support. New Westminster, consider this the next time you’re annoyed the bell is ringing once again.

Shannon Griffiths, New Westminster

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