New Bedford Needs Local School Leadership [OPINION]
The New Bedford City Council must end the practice of giving residency waivers to people who want to work in New Bedford schools but refuse to join the community.
The charging of female students for tampons and pads in the New Bedford public schools is a great example of why the city desperately needs local residents managing the day-to-day operations of the city. Gouging desperate young girls for a quarter while they are attempting to manage their menstrual cycle is something out of a Charles Dickens story.
For the folks collecting the money, it is a dream come true. They have a captured a customer base in an embarrassing situation. Best of all, the captured customer is a child who has been taught to trust and obey adults.
I recall the illegal aliens at the Bianco factory in the South End of New Bedford were charged for toilet paper by the overseers at that sweatshop. The city was outraged when they heard about the bathroom procedures at that sweatshop after it was raided by federal law enforcement. The owner of the sweatshop lived in the wealthy suburb of Pembroke. The two lead federal agents on that raid grew up in the South End of New Bedford.
And how much cash has been collected from the young teen and pre-teen females in the New Bedford public schools? Has anybody audited that account to see how much money is involved in this scheme? Some of the tampons and pads in the schools are donated to the schools. Please tell me the New Bedford schools aren't selling those donated products to the children.
There has been a residency requirement for most City jobs for over 40 years. Anyone who wants to work for the City but doesn't want to actually live in the city needs a majority vote by the City Council in favor of granting them a one-year waiver from the city residency requirement.
The genius of the waiver system (when done properly) is it allows the City to hire the best talent no matter where they currently live and it gives them a year to move into the New Bedford. Unfortunately, the system has broken down and the council members routinely grant waivers year after year after year to the same employees.
The councilors help these out-of-towners who clearly want the municipal paycheck, health insurance, and the pension from the City but they don't actually want to live in the city. They don't want to invest in a home in the city and they don't want to send their children to the public schools in the city.
Two of the main figures in this disgraceful scheme to gouge female children during their menstrual cycle, Superintendent Thomas Anderson and Assistant Superintendent Andrew O'Leary, both live in the suburbs rather than the city of New Bedford.
Assistant Superintendent Andrew O'Leary of Rochester (the town calls itself "God's Country") admitted in a statement to the Standard-Times that the school department receives donations of feminine hygiene products from non-profits. He also went on to explain that the 25 cents charged per item is merely a "token" in his opinion.
Some of the young ladies who don't live in "God's Country", but rather in the city of New Bedford, don't think it is a "token," especially when they don't have it on them at that very personal moment in their young lives. Some of the kids who don't live in "God's Country" don't have active parents in their lives to help them and they look to the only adults they believe they can trust—the school employees—and they are met by a greedy man in a green eye shade looking for all their dimes and nickles.
Keep giving out those waivers, Councilors, and see how many votes you get from the people who live in the city and who once had to pay a "token" to the out-of-towners who run the day-to-day operations of your schools.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.