HomeOpinionAshley Fogg: There is No Place for Bullying in Hopkinton

Ashley Fogg: There is No Place for Bullying in Hopkinton

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Ashley Fogg and family

An open letter to the registered voters and parents of students in Hopkinton:

My run for school committee last year was difficult. Although my engagement and passion for the public schools has not wavered, I had not planned to run for the Hopkinton School Committee this election year. It wasn’t until two sitting school committee members approached me that I decided to make the decision to run for office again. I was encouraged to run because they recognized that I was heavily involved in the school conversations in the last several years and reflected so many independent and involved families in this town.

After speaking in a public forum hosted by the Hopkinton Women’s Club, I was publicly and privately attacked by community members who took issue with what I said. I was yelled at and berated because I did not come right out and answer with what they wanted me to say. I offered to meet them, but they didn’t want to hear it. I offered in-person meetings, and assurance that I am for all Hopkinton students but they declined my offers. They didn’t want answers. They just wanted me to disappear and be quiet. I am not going to be silent; I will continue to speak up for those community members they sought to silence. Everyone deserves to be in the conversation regarding the education of our children.

I think at this point we can all admit that we have a bullying culture in Hopkinton. The last few years have caused a huge rift in our community and it’s been extraordinarily difficult. I have seen so many posts and comments on social media that are jaw dropping and offensive to other citizens of Hopkinton. Many of our community members have sat behind a screen and have bullied, defamed, slandered, and been outright cruel to their fellow community members, never giving a second thought to how these words may affect others and even more importantly their child. Many of these vindictive comments are a result of a person’s refusal to entertain anyone else’s opinion or view on a topic and if they are not in agreement they are name called and treated unkindly. Often these comments are veiled and dressed up as doing what’s best for the community but are condescending and have set a confrontational tone. While healthy debate, differing opinions and opposing views are absolutely important to a community discussion, the bullying has become a monstrous problem in our town. It seeps from the adults in the community down to our children where it is most certainly not setting a worthy example for the future generation. We speak of a community that is inclusive, open and loving but the bullying culture in our town speaks otherwise.

A motto of our town is Hopkinton Comes Together. But my experience has been if you don’t agree with a certain group of people in town they tell you to leave. I have lived in this town my entire life, and I have been told publicly to move to Florida or Texas. Some of these comments have come directly from members of a political party in town. Through their bullying and cyber assaults they have clearly shown that do not want to come together and embrace the model Hopkinton professes to stand by. They want to attack you and push their ideas on you. Here is my idea: Come together, and respect each other and let’s talk through how we can work together for all children in this town.

From the beginning, I campaigned on standing in the middle, refusing to be affiliated with any side. I promised to listen to all stakeholders and families. We need to come together and not tear each other down. Locally, we are not blue and red. Locally, we are all green and orange.

It should be obvious to most voters that it is important to have a candidate who reflects Hopkinton families and has a vested interest in the schools and their success. I believe it is also essential that a candidate have involvement with the Hopkinton Public Schools physically in classrooms and working with teachers, administrators and families. When I make decisions I will speak from actual experience and be able to relate to the topics being discussed. I grew up in this town, I have kids in the schools, and I am heavily invested.

We are here to come together and work as a team to support our children and help them thrive to the best of their abilities. Our children have so much stress both inside school and out of it. For their sake alone, we need to work together. Bullying starts at home with the adults, we can do better.

I strongly believe that we as families are entitled to be part of the conversations when it comes to making curriculum decisions. Our tax dollars mean that we have a say. Our children need for us to be in those conversations. We need to have a symbiotic relationship with the educators and parents. We are there to work together for our kids. No one should be concerned about confidentiality or retaliation if they bring their concerns to the educators. Through respectful dialogue our concerns or issues should be heard and considered. Our children spend most of their day with these educators; we should have free dialogue and good communication.

Thankfully we have amazing educators in this town. I am been so impressed with what they have done with regard to the pandemic. I have personally witnessed with my own eyes their flexibility and creativity when it comes to the space constraints that have resulted from the growth in our student population. They continue to show up for our kids each day and do their best. Currently my two children in the elementary schools both have amazing educators who love and challenge my children. I am super grateful to both of them. Our educators are the foundation of our schools.  

But we should keep communication open with these educators. It shouldn’t just be up to the teachers to make the decision on curriculum and what is best for our kids. We should be in the conversation, too.  We need to work with the teachers, administration, and staff to share our ideas and opinions. We need to be on the other side of the conversation. Our children need this. Certain candidates have asserted that curriculum should be left to the teachers. Do we really think its best for the decisions to be only one sided?

Throughout my campaign, I have had almost zero questions about extremely pressing issues facing Hopkinton Public Schools. No one has sought out my thoughts on the exponential growth we have seen in town, the new schools that need to be built or added onto, the budget and how it relates to our town as a whole, MCAS scores, special education and gifted learners. All of these topics are incredibly important to my role as a school committee member and they haven’t been asked.  Why not?

My hope as I run for school committee is to engage and provide thoughtful contribution, a discerning perspective, planning and problem solving for the school district. Our school committee works best when we have a balanced perspective.

I strongly believe that all children should be made to feel safe and loved at school. They should all have access to the first rate education Hopkinton provides. If elected, I promise to love all Hopkinton kids and work to represent all voices. I promise that I will listen and be an advocate for your concerns and needs for the Hopkinton Public Schools. I am there to serve the community and serve all members. I will always make myself available.

I ask for your support on May 15th. If you want your voice heard, let’s do this together. It’s not about me in the end; it’s about us working together.

Let’s really embrace our motto: Hopkinton Comes Together.

Thank you,

Ashley Fogg

Ashley Fogg is a candidate for School Committee. Elections will be held on May 15.

86 COMMENTS

  1. Ashley, nobody deserves to be bullied. Not you, not the people you have threatened to sue because they sought clarification on issues, not the teachers you have attacked. But it’s fair game for people to want to understand your position on issues and how you are willing— or not— to stand up for ALL of our students. Vague answers don’t counteract the suspicions many have based on comments you have made. When you put out public statements that you’re not going to “talk about the book” you didn’t think was appropriate for students raises questions voters have a right to ask. You can refuse you answer, but lack of transparency has a price. In all honesty, to say you were bullied because people sought to understand comments you made at the women’s club event shows a lack of fitness for public service.

    Besides concerns that our families of diverse backgrounds have expressed about your views, there remain questions you havent answered such as why did you quit the Youth Commission after only serving small portion of your term? Yes, you have a remarkable list of organizations you have volunteered for, but it appears your follow through for some positions has been lacking. It’s not bullying to suggest people should consider these things when voting for you— it’s care for the future of our schools and the oversight the school committee provides.

    As an aside, assertion on social media that gifted and talented programming is special education is patently untrue with regard to both gifted and talented students and special education students and shows a complete lack of understanding of the issues at hand for both groups.

    • “Terry O’Brien” is Darlene Hayes, Chair of Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee. Transparency, my left foot.

      • Absolutely not. I have read along this crazy train and appalled by it. Truth Bomb get your facts straight. One fact correct is that I am the current chair of the HDTC until the end of the year. I do feel the HDTC is getting unfairly attacked, I do feel Ashley should be forthcoming when questions are asked and I am proud of the advocacy the HDTC does locally for candidates and causes.
        I am also not afraid to respond as myself unlike Truth Bomb & assume the Editor here has each posters’ emails and IP addresses. If you have questions about the HDTC feel free to email me at my personal email at darlenehayes@yahoo.com, come to a meeting on the 3rd Thursday of each month at town hall. The HDTC website is Hopkintondemocrats.org .

  2. Ashley out Fogg, you offered private meetings not open transparency to questions asked.
    People wanted your voice heard, in open forum transparently not behind closed doors. You skirted direct questions being asked by concerned citizens, public officials need to be an open book and accountable to questions asked which is in no way bullying but very concerned parents.
    Vote for Munroe & Stephenson, they are experienced, invested in education & been attending school committee meetings in person (if you only watch on HCAM at your leisure this year, which is what Fogg said at the women’s club event, not a very vested approach) nor did she attend town meeting
    that both Munroe & Stephenson did, both asked questions especially with the vital budget needs for the schools being addressed.
    Hopkinton needs to come together and vote for Adam Munroe and Susan Stephenson.

    • Hi Noel, I think that claiming Ashley Fogg is less invested in HPS than the other two candidates is completely wrong. Maybe you weren’t aware of all this, but She ran in the election last year, is a long term volunteer in person in the schools and also with numerous extra curricular activities and sporting teams, shows up in person to SC meetings over the past several years to make various public comments, was urged to run by two current SC members who have also noted her extensive involvement, and is in a leadership position with the HPTO.

      • Please name the two current School Committee members who allegedly urged Ashley Fogg to run.

        • It is a very difficult campaign decision not to “out” these two individuals. I am impressed by Ashley’s strength of character, knowing in this moment that the right thing to do is protect these folks and in doing so open herself up to scrutiny and criticism.
          Happy to offline with you about this…

        • We have been keeping them anonymous to avoid further backlash on them. One of them resigned from a board and position on another committee after it was discovered by her peers (and probably contributors on this thread) that she supported Ashley. It’s pretty sad actually. But the conversations between the two SC members and Ashley happened- in writing.

          • Your comment about the board resignation makes it very easy for us to figure out who that person is. I guess you’re not trying very hard to keep them anonymous, are you.

        • For all wanting to know which SC members supported Ashley’s candidacy and one even went so far to say that Susan has only been in town 9 months and isn’t really a viable candidate in her opinion; they have intentionally been kept anonymous to protect them from further backlash. One of them chose to resign from a board position and member of another committee in town due scrutiny by her peers (who are probably also participating in this thread) It’s sad actually. But the conversations between Ashley and these two members happened. In writing.

    • Kristin,
      Your point, she attended school committee meetings in person over past several years to make comments, is self serving for her own agenda. Not attending in person in 2023, is that because unmasking is a mute point now?Which continually unnamed school committee members urged her to run? I recall three were on the ballot last year and Ashley spoke out against at least two of them. You are obviously Ashley’s friend, that’s nice but condoning lack of transparency with direct questions from parents and school leadership is not a good characteristic for a school committee member or the continual behind the scenes threats to sue community members. The school budget is high enough, I don’t want any of it wasted on legal consultation over Ashley’s personal issues.

  3. Ashley did offer to meet with me and I said that would be great. She then blocked me on Facebook. It’s disingenuous for her to suggest she offered to meet and that those offers were declined. That’s just a lie. Furthermore this narrative that that I said she should move to Florida is also patently untrue. I said “This isn’t Florida” in reference to Hopkinton not having room for the very bigoted political views held by the Governor of Florida. I stand by this comment.

    If Ashely wants people to pay attention to the issues, then she needed to stop with this false narrative of being bullied. It’s actually incredibly insulting to people who have faced real bullying. I agree that there is no room bullying in Hopkinton. There’s no room for lying either.

    • People who have faced real bullying? Like the girls field hockey team you used to coach, until you got FIRED FOR BULLYING them, Becky?! You have an established and documented history as being one of the biggest bully’s in town… which is impressive since you don’t live here and can’t even vote in this election.

      • I did not get fired. I quit and I have the emails to prove it. Anyone who works in HR at the district can back me up on that. I never bullied anyone Don’t you think if I got fired for bullying the field hockey team that I would no longer be teaching in Hopkinton? That’s the stupidest accusation I’ve ever heard.

        • It seems highly inappropriate for a Hopkinton Middle School teacher to be arguing on a Hopkinton town news site with Hopkinton parents. I question your judgement now. How do you keep your cool in the classroom with our children? Based on what I’ve seen from you online, I’m not sure that I trust you in a classroom with my children.

      • Hi Lee Burns. We all know this is you. Confirmed. So to anyone who is being harassed by Truth Bomb, please feel free to contact Lee Burns directly. Thank you.

        • To be clear, the Editor has no knowledge of the actual identity of “Truth Bomb”. We’re not sure how Ms. Abate would have “confirmed” this.

          In the spirit of free speech and open disclosure, HopNews does not require commenters to validate their identity.

    • Maybe you didn’t say directly that she should move to FL but I do believe that you stated “I take comfort in the fact that if you do end up on the school committee you now know that we will be watching to make sure that you serve the needs of ALL students.” Sounds rather threatening to me especially coming from the President of the HTA to a potential School Committee member. It’s no wonder that we have so few people willing to subject themselves to this kind of behavior by running for open seats on town committees.

      • “Watching to make sure all students needs are met” is not threatening in any way. That’s such a ridiculous comment. It truly is. You must realize how ridiculous that sounds.

        Of course we will be watching to make sure all students needs are met. That’s what we do.

      • As I read through all of the comments, I keep coming back to something our Town moderators have said over the years at Annual Town Meeting, which is “At the end of the day, we are all still neighbors” and I’m hoping that in spite of all of the animosity in this thread we can move past all of this in a way that is productive for our community.

        Thank you to the candidates for stepping up. This campaign business is clearly not for the faint of heart and I hope it doesn’t discourage candidates next year from stepping up to run for elected town positions. I hope after everyone votes on Monday that we move on with the business of our schools and being a community.

        I have seen some things posted in here referencing opinions on the School Committee— I would encourage you to please reach out and share your opinions directly with the School Committee if you have comments, concerns or questions. The School Committee strives to operate transparently and to find opportunities to connect with community members and your thoughts. The School Committee email address is HPSSchoolCommittee@hopkinton.k12.ma.us. I am also happy to connect with anyone individually.

        I don’t think we should be afraid of teachers, or anyone else for that matter, watching to make sure the School Committee is serving the needs of all of our students. That’s the School Committee’s job. Accountability isn’t a bad thing.

        Good luck to the candidates for all Town elected positions over the next couple of days to finish out this campaign season. I know only the School Committee is a contested race, but I appreciate all who are going through this process.

  4. You have our support Ashley, as a long time resident that has been thoroughly involved in advocating for our schools we believe in you and thank you for all you have done.

  5. Throughly involved? Very false narrative it is more self serving involved. To be the room mom in her kids classrooms to meddle, be intrusive to the classroom environment wanting it to confirm with a narrative you want for your children. What books did you have issue with? In a post you said several but refused to elaborate? Did you have any issue with a pride flag in a classroom? Why did you quit youth commission? Your attendance at the parent teacher board that you brag about being on yet you rarely attend a meeting? What two school committee members encouraged you to run, non admit to this? Fogg also tried to get off the ballot two weeks ago, emotionally perceives she is bullied because she doesn’t like parents questions then blocks them and threatens to sue them privately. Fogg is not fit to serve on the School Committee.
    On Monday, please vote for Susan and Adam.

    • “To be the room mom in her kids classrooms to meddle, be intrusive to the classroom environment wanting it to confirm with a narrative you want for your children.”

      This sounds like a parent attempting to be directly involved with her children’s education, good for her, and why she has my vote! And parents SHOULD have a voice in the “narrative”.

  6. Totally agreed that our school color is green and orange, but not Blue or Red. We are encouraged to hear a different voice. We feel sorry that you got so much attacks because that you are not willing to be affiliated to any party. Please keep fight for us as it will be very destructive when political parties control our schools and kids. Thanks,

    • Of course this is not a red or blue issue, so why bring it up? There are all kinds of diversity: racial, ethnic, sexual orientation or gender expression, religion, relevant professional or volunteer background, individual focus areas, and a few I’ve probably left out. None of that has anything to do with the letter after your name. I am confident that Hopkinton voters will choose the two candidates they feel will be the best for our Hopkinton kids.

      • I want to preface this comment by saying that I’m not trying to be adversarial, Amy. Personally, it has felt that the school committee election over the last few years has 100% turned into a red/blue race.

        Separately, can anyone elaborate on the bullying incident(s) with the girls sports team?

  7. This thread is yet another example of outspoken women in Hopkinton giving themselves (and their Facebook girl gangs like “Real Housewives of Hopkinton”) a bad name – juvenile and catty. Becky Abate needs to go, does not live in this town or even the state last checked and is contentious as ever in polarizing the environment at school via teacher union she uses as a weapon against the community. So many others seem to honestly think this is about politics and local town government, masquerading as upstanding citizens to always put the children at the center of debates, but really spoiled, radical, passive aggressive at the least. Criticize my view all you want and cry about not being transparent, but time is better spent to grow up and take a reflective look at this continued bad behavior & activity that has disgustingly been normalized.

    • The quick dismissal of actual concerns people have to vilify a group to say they are democrats or members of a particular social media group is a great example of how Ashley is not an independent voice. She clearly hates democrats. She dismisses any questions or comments that don’t show unconditional support for her campaign as people being a member of a group she doesn’t like. Why is it hard to believe that people of many different affiliations want legitimate questions answered from people they are electing to such an important position? How is seeking clarification bullying? People have valid questions and to earn my vote, candidates need to be willing to answer them. Maybe Ashley wouldn’t get asked so much if she would be willing to talk specifics about things like how she feels about pride flags in a classroom or how she feels about teachers being allowed to discuss and read about different family make ups, including those with 2 same sex parents, different gender identities, etc. How does she feel about transgender and non-binary students using particular bathrooms? She says she will support all students but fails to show how. What were the books that she asked to be taken out of her child’s classroom about… I think that would help shed light on her views. She claims she is being bullied for her traditional Christian values… in a town that is mostly Christian. She is running around threatening to Sue people who question her… how is she going to deal with the free exchange of ideas on a major town committee?

      Also, if she’s claiming bullying here, it’s a rich irony. How about how she bullied a candidate last year because of the candidates medical history? Is it true as I read above that she contacted the town clerk to pull out of this race? If so, is she going to leave the school committee in chaos by vacating her term at some point the way she did with the Youth Commission?

      • If you google “Terry O’Brien Hopkinton”, the only results that come up are negative comments on Ashley Fogg for School Committee content… what was it DesCartes said? “I troll, therefore I am…?”

        • When you Google truth bomb, dont see a Hopkinton resident. But from Google, Urban Dictionary: truth bomb
          “When a truth or an ironic lie is told. To either win a friendly argument, or to say a silly insult. Sometimes is totally unrelated to the conversation at hand.”
          I also cant find anonymous, HopDad and an assortment of other aliases on this disappointing thread in a Google search.

          All I see is mudslinging among neighbors, sad.

    • MadHop, you are right that Facebook pages like UnCommon & Real Housewives can be caddy, yet they both offer a place to find support and information too. You take the good with the bad, it’s the facts of life. These pages are everywhere, checkout the Wicked Women of Westboro. Whether or not a teacher who is also the president of the Hopkinton Teacher’s Association lives in town, this state or Neptune doesn’t matter because she plays an integral role in teaching students and as the person chosen by the Hopkinton teachers to speak for their concerns. Whoever is elected to the school committee better have thick enough skin to undergo public questions & complaints. Fogg spent time voicing her complaints at school committee meetings against masking, she was treated respectfully and given the time to express her concerns. She is unwilling to answer direct questions, wants to do it behind closed doors and this cannot be tolerated, candidates throw their hat in to these volunteer positions are also accountable to public input. Call it crying about lack of transparency or call it a candidate who is hiding a personal agenda like wanting to ban books and is anti-pride flags that support our LBGTQ+ residents which includes marginalized student populations who need our support.

  8. I appreciate what Ashley has to say about rudeness and the importance of listening to people, but also don’t think that all viewpoints are necessarily correct or best. I remember that Ashley, while likely well intentioned, was firmly against masking and anything the scientific community recommended during the pandemic, even bringing up during the last election how school committee members had followed (in her view wrongly) health official recommendations and asking other candidates how they would have decided. This was after the time the schools required masking.

    Now, she’s stating publicly that parents should determine school curriculum. I strongly disagree. Teachers and administrators are educated, trained professionals and curriculum follows state and other published guidelines. Interference from parents has no place in that, just as I’m sure in her professional career, Ashley wanted to be able to decide what to do based on her experience. If there is something you are concerned about for your child, ask for an alternative for them, don’t expect to be in charge of a teacher’s curriculum and change it for all students. It is not your responsibility nor right. I completely disagree that our tax dollars mean we get to decide what is taught. That’s exactly what is happening in states like Texas and Florida.

    I like some of her ideas and might consider her (for example, this district needs to meet the needs of all learners, including those who are advancing faster than their age peers), but I don’t want a school committee member who holds some of her views.

    • This is not what she said. She did not say parent should decide curriculum. She said parents should be included in the conversation in regards to curriculum. It is beneficial to have involved parents communicating respectfully about the school curriculum. They can work together with the educators to offer input.

      Please stop the references of Florida and Texas this is not what she referring to.

      • From her letter “I strongly believe that we as families are entitled to be part of the conversations when it comes to making curriculum decisions. Our tax dollars mean that we have a say. Our children need for us to be in those conversations.”

        Entitled has a very specific tone to it. Offer input is different than entitled. And the reason people keep bringing up FL and TX is because people who are against children learning about specific topics, which seem similar to those she brings up (since she says she was against a book, but won’t name it, we can only guess), have interfered with curriculum to the point where it is being literally whitewashed. It’s a slippery slope and I for one am appalled by it. We don’t know exactly what she is referencing because she won’t name it.

        For the record, I am all for parents being allowed to opt their children out of specific books/topics and have found this district does a great job of notifying parents ahead of time about things that they might worry about… so I don’t see the need for more restrictions.

  9. I get that the school committee is important, but this election does not need to be this contentious. We all love our kids and want them to succeed. We should be using this as teachable moment for our children to show them what civil discourse looks like in a democracy. Vote for the candidate that you think will do the best job and ratchet down the animosity.

  10. They are really proving the point aren’t they? My favorite is when they act like they are approachable concerned neighbors. I can hear it now too about being anonymous.

  11. For someone who was raised here, Ashley may have forgotten Hopkinton’s school colors were GREEN & WHITE! Townies know this, the orange was added maybe a decade or so ago as a result of athletic clothing that arrived with orange added by mistake. Overtime it was incorporated into the school colors that are currently green, white & orange. Blaming political parties is also BS, at one point the town was primarily governed by republicans and a scattering of unenrolled and Democrats, remember Ron Clark, Eric Sonnet, Claire Wright and now it seems to be more Democrats with a scattering of unenrolled & Republicans. A look at the town website, I see Ken Weismantal chairs CPC an R, Eric Sonnet a very vocal R is on several town committees, Board of Health has unenrolled Dr. Jacobs, Planning Board Chair Gary Tendall is a U, Select Board currently seems to be all Democrats but that has not always been the case even from recent years, Tedstone was very vocal about being unenrolled, Coutinho & Herr were both R’s. One thing they all have in common is they are volunteers, and they care about the town. Sitting behind your keyboard what have you done? blaming political affiliations is just being divisive and not having Hopkinton Come Together. Get out and vote on the 15th for the candidates you want and questions that impact our town budget. What I want is not to be taxed out, if you don’t remember Brown’s, know what a Stonethrower is or where Lumbertown is you are not a townie, I have lived in for 68 years and I always vote. I don’t vote by party I vote for the candidates that seem to understand what the town needs and they could live here ten minutes or a lifetime if they bring that understanding to the table.

  12. Ashley, thank you for running for school committee. I am sorry that you have had to go through what you did. It is disheartening to see what is becoming of Hopkinton. The bullying mentality is rampant both in and out of schools. There are so many in this town who have felt alienated and who have been forced to be silent because of fear of retaliation. There is a particular group in town who are quick to socially shun any ideology contrary to their own. This is typically the same group of people that put out signs in their front lawn, expressing that we should love everybody, I guess that sentiment doesn’t apply to a difference in political party or ideology. Hopkinton, what happened to having civil conversations, showing empathy, being open minded and kind. People have different experiences, cultures, and religious beliefs that affect their thinking and their opinions. Only when we begin to listen again, show understanding and compromise, can we begin to close the divide that is happening in this country. I don’t blame Ashley for not addressing some of the questions that were asked of her on social media. Can you imagine the outlash and name calling if people didn’t like her answer? Would you submit yourself to that? We as parents should have feedback on the school curriculum. Parents need to know what their children will be learning so we are prepared to have discussion at home. By the way, to name call parents who haven’t had such discussions with their children is insulting. We need to feel comfortable that our teachers are remaining neutral and children are being taught all sides, and are able to distinguish neurtrally written pieces verse left or right leaning propaganda. Most of all they need to be taught to have open respectful discussions and feel safe to voice their opinion. There are serious issues facing the HPS and I plan to vote, despite particular party affiliations, for the person who will fight for all our children and make our schools better a better place because it is not just all about optics.

  13. No need to write novellas on public boards, people. It appears that Identity politics and Culture Wars are being played out here in Hop mainly by the Dems. The DTC is using our children as pawns in their game of assuring that ONLY DEMS get elected not only in Hop, but all over MA. Some of the loudest voices come from local Dems who do not, or have never had a kid in our system. For the DTC, it’s all about pushing their candidates through and politicizing our kids (using them) DTC, our children are not your pawns. It’s sickening to witness.

  14. My family will be voting for Mrs. Fogg on Monday. Thank you, Ashley, for submitting your open letter to our community. It won us over.

  15. Here’s what I don’t get: Susan Stephenson has lived in town for 9 months. During debates and in-person interactions she is clearly confused about who the players are and what Hopkinton schools are known for. She is from Pennsylvania. She has no kids in our schools and never did.

    Yet she is a candidate pushed by the Democratic Machine, which has legitimized her in spite of her lack of experience and familiarity with Hopkinton. Talk about putting Party over the Person.

    Are the commenters above really disqualifying Fogg because she allegedly doesn’t share their cultural values, and in place would rather vote in a carpetbagger? As one of the previous commenters said, this is a lot of virtue signaling at best. Signs in the yard, yada. As a point of fact, most Hopkinton students are not LGBTQIA+ so these objections do not apply to the vast majority of parents or students in town.

    More importantly, what does any of this have to do with her judgement, intelligence or ability to guide Hopkinton’s schools? Candidly, I’ve watched several of those SC meetings and that crew essentially just rubber stamps whatever Cavanaugh says. I’d like to see someone push back for a change.

    • Wow, I guess the HRTC who used to control the town can no longer elect any local leaders. When only 9% of the state is registered Republican and over 75% are unenrolled. The big bad blue democratic machine of engaged citizens are supporting local candidates but elections are won local and across the state and beyond by unenrolled voters. These local elections are not won because of the letter next to the candidate’s name tgey are won by showing up, being involved & organized. Fogg is blaming people she doesn’t know for her inability to be answer questions in a public forum on local access tv and her own campaign Facebook page where she deleted posts, blocked individuals and claims unsubstantiated bullying by not being honest tgen threatens to sue by private message. I choose to vote for leaders who are receptive to constituents, Fogg is not.
      I will vote aka a carpetbagger over disingenuous any day, regardless of party.

    • For those of you posting anonymously, it speaks volumes.

      Having children or being new to town has nothing to do with whether or not one is good for SC; I see it is a positive. We have had SC members in the past that were clearly there for personal reasons and mostly concerned with issues that affected their children or the graduating class of their children.
      Susan has decades of experience in education which is more than enough to serve on any SC. In fact I would love if school committees all over the country were made up of educators or former educators from different districts. Experience coupled with the ability to be (emotionally) removed from what can be highly emotional topics is an ideal combination.
      As far as parents being a part of the conversation about curriculum – that is beyond insulting and dangerous. No, you as the parent do not get to tell any educator what curriculum or content or book they can use in their classroom. That is why we have the Department of Education, the Secretary of Education and district leaders and superintendents. Curriculum is carefully cultivated, vetted and the scope and sequencing of what is taught and when it is taught is more complicated than most people realize.
      HPS teacher ALL have masters degree and beyond. They are beyond highly qualified. Would you tell your surgeon or anesthesiologist how much of what meds to prescribe during surgery? Would you tell your attorney which court cases to use at trial for precedent? You would be part of the conversation, sure. You may have questions, or get a second opinion but I have yet to meet a doctor or lawyer allow their patient or client to decide major points of their medical care or legal action. Why? Because they are the professionals and know what they are doing. And you as the patient or client are too close to the situation. Emotions are understandably involved and when emotions are involved, good decisions are not made. What you as the parent may or may not see in the classroom is just a window. A small piece of a much bigger picture. In my experience as a teacher some people think that because they went to school or if they have volunteered in a classroom that they understand and know what is best for that classroom, students and teacher. If you ride the subway does that mean you are qualified to be a conductor? If you paint your own nails at home does that mean you are qualified to open a salon without training?
      If you have questions or concerns about content, ask your kids teacher, but being part of the decision making about content and curriculum is what teachers went to school for and what we are trained to do.

      In a matter of weeks Ashley Fogg has managed to publicly berate the sitting president of the HTA, and make false claims about being bullied. She was evasive when kindly and clearly asked questions. When she was asked to clarify those answers she blocked people and refused to respond.

      There is one thing this voter, HPS parent and teacher have in common with Ashley Fogg as she states in this one sided article “I will not disappear nor will I go away”.

      • You say you are a HPS teacher. I’ll accept that at face value. What I do not accept is your clear aversion to punctuation and hyphenation, in spite of your master’s degree.

        I also reject the premise that parents should not be involved in curriculum, and it’s an implausible argument anyway. The SC is comprised of parents. The administrators are parents. Many teachers are parents. And like every parent, they advocate for their children, just as anyone would in the doctor’s office, to borrow your analogy. The difference is that some teachers (you) seem to want to advocate only for THEIR children, and shut others out from advocating for their own.

        Also, as a teacher, you must have been subjected to many tedious and pointless meetings with a lot of people that you silently judged as “not the brightest bulb”. Your co-workers, your bosses, for example. It’s OK, it happens in every organization. Your comments are self-aggrandizing, as if to convince us that administrators and teachers are so qualified as to be infallible. They’re not. There are a few dummies in there too. So it’s good to incorporate parental feedback into important decisions so we can minimize the impact of the stooges on the rest of the population.

        • Hop Dad -, -,-, how brave of you to speak anonymously with such big words.
          Stand behind them…—— own them!

        • Speaking of unkind, which a lot of people are talking about here. You showed very little restraint when it comes to your choice of words, both here and on social media when you berate anyone who doesn’t fall in line with your far leftist agenda for our town. I cannot believe the grownups and the lack of class, grace, and humility you in particular have shown. Your words have been sharp, judgemental, and all around cruel. No wonder why we have such a huge problem with bullying all around when we fail as adults to display emotional intelligence. Your lack thereof is on full display, frequently. Do better, Kristy Canaster.

          • It’s Krissy, not Kristy. I would love to see examples of all of these posts you are referring to. Kberla@yahoo.com or post them here… I stand by what I say. The truth is hard for some people🤷‍♀️

          • How ironic is it that the two women who show little restraint online are teachers? They bully the people who don’t agree with them. Are they doing the same to our kids? What if a student disagrees or has opposing views? I wouldn’t want either as my child’s teacher based on what I’ve seen.

        • Krissy Canaster is not a teacher at HPS she is the drama teacher at Ashland Middle School.

          She is also the event coordinator at the Central Public House. You may want to consider if you’d really like to dine there moving forward.

      • Wow! This is frightening, and the sentiment is exactly why we pulled our 4 kids out of HPS. You clearly think highly of yourself. The fact that you find parents input on curriculum “insulting and dangerous” is exactly why people like you should have no part in educating children. Not everyone wants their children indoctrinated with your outspoken political views… We will absolutely be supporting Ashley

        • Good! That’s exactly where your kids should be- private school. If you as the parent want to decide what they can and cannot be taught, then public school is not for you.
          Public school is for EVERYONE. All students should be allowed have the least restrictive environment as possible and be exposed to curriculum and content that represents all walks of life not just what some parents think should be presented.
          The fact that you assumed I “indoctrinate” students with political beliefs proves my point.

          The issue isn’t that parents shouldn’t have any opinions or voice them. Speak up all you want. Yes, have opinions; speak up! Teachers are human and sometimes we do make mistakes. But a parent that is concerned about a particular lesson or piece of content and asking about it or asking about a grade or trying to understand how to help their student do better in your class is very different from deciding what curriculum and content should be taught. That is what partnering with a teacher and looks like not dictating to them what they should be teaching and what books they should not be reading. That’s indoctrination! Why should your kid and your personal, religious, ethical or moral beliefs be more important than making sure all kids are exposed and taught material that teaches them to critically think and learn about the world?
          Your knee jerk reaction that I indoctrinate my students with my political beef beliefs is exactly why parents should not be deciding what curriculum is taught. You are too emotionally invested because it’s your kid and understandably, so.

          Most of what parents don’t want in curriculum in schools have to do with issues surrounding LGBTQ community and cherry picked history. I don’t hear any parents concerned about what math and science is being taught. I hear concerns about books that include a variety of family structures and members of the LGBTQ community. I see parents assuming CRT is being taught and it’s not. It’s called history and truth. This blanketed statement that parents should have some say, in what their kids are taught is just veiled, coded language for we don’t want them to read books or be told stories about the LGBTQ community and we don’t want them to know about racism in this country and we definitely don’t want them learning about other cultures or religions. It’s just an excuse to be biased and bigoted. Because if it were really partnering, and if it were really about making sure, all kids are seen and heard and feel like they matter, this wouldn’t even be an issue for discussing.

          Other than being a parent what is your expertise on childhood development and in general education and content that would allow you to make good decisions around choosing curriculum?
          Just because you were a student at one time and now have a child that is a student doesn’t mean you are qualified to choose, decipher, comprehend, and understand what, how, why and when content should be presented.

          • Wow. This is some crazy stuff you’re putting out here. I hope you don’t teach English/ELA – punctuation is important!

            May none of our children ever find themselves in your classroom.

          • If you are actually a teacher, our children are doomed to fail. Please ask one of your teacher friends who is in the English Department to dissect the mess you wrote above. Paragraphs and punctuation matter. I sincerely hope you are joking about being a teacher. If not, this is a disgrace.

  16. Thank you Hop Dad. The democratic machine mailing postcards to every home recommending their nominees has prevented a fair competition. I also agree on how you feel about certain current committee members. They are not hearing the voices of the community they represent and rather are just go along with the superintendents direction. It should be concerning that the SC gave the superintendent such rave reviews when so many of in the community feel differently. It is also alarming, that the well loved principal at Hopkins is leaving for a lateral move with a significant longer commute. It puzzles me why anyone would vote for someone that doesn’t have children in our schools nor a pulse on what is really going on in our school.

  17. First, I agree with those who take issue with Ms. Fogg’s allegations of “bullying.” The public arena is not for the faint of heart, especially in these divisive times, but I’m not sure that anonymous internet sniping and tough questions rise to that level. Talk to a kid who has actually been bullied and you might not be so cavalier about throwing that term around. Second, the use of the term “Democratic machine” is laughable. This isn’t 1950’s Chicago. The HDTC mailed postcards urging residents to vote for their candidates, as is their right to do so. If you don’t like it, join the Republican Town Committee and throw your support (and $$) behind their candidates. Or donate to Ashley’s campaign so she can do a similar mailing. Money is speech (Thanks SCOTUS!), so pony up if you want to fight the big, bad “Machine.” All that being said, I’m probably going to vote for Ms. Fogg. While I don’t agree with some of the views that have been ascribed to her, I do agree that it seems like the current SC often serves as a rubber stamp for the Administration. Diversity of thought and some push back would be welcome. If Ms. Fogg provides that, great. At the very least it will make for more interesting SC meetings.

  18. Independent mommy & Hop dad, we could say the same for the Republicans in town. There was A LOT of loud republicans during Covid regarding anti-masking, including Ashley. For her to claim she’s Independent is a farce. I belong to neither party, and don’t approve of the bashing from either side, but let’s call a spade a spade: Ashley has made several comments that go against the Dems in town just as they have made comments against her. It’s a disaster on all sides. But for you both to come here and make it all about the Dem side being bad helps nothing. In fact, it looks like you’re trying to overshadow the real issue, which is a candidate (and this would be true for any candidate) who is not as open and forthcoming as they claim to be and is now hiding behind the sympathy vote.

    • What relevance does any of this anti-mask/anti-vax commentary have to do with today? I don’t know Ashley Fogg but she’s entitled to her opinion just like everyone else is. Regardless, her opinion on the masking matter wouldn’t have counted for much given the schools were required by law to follow state guidelines. Your argument is simple whataboutism.

      What is astonishing to me is how much a candidate for School Committee’s political party affiliation seems to matter to people in this town. Who cares if she’s a Dem, Repub, Indy, or Unaffiliated? What bearing does this have on her ability to make reasonable decisions? It doesn’t. What it does affect is her electability, because to compete she has to rely on her own funds, not pooled funds from the HDTC. So it’s pure politics.

      The simple reality is this: Almost NO ONE in this town knows anything about Stephenson. How could you? Most of her answers in the debates have been meandering at best and incoherent at worst. But how many commenters above have said they’d vote for her anyway? It’s madness.

      And FWIW, I do support Munroe for School Committee because 1) he has a track record of commitment to our town, 2) he’s highly educated, 3) he seems to have a good heart, 4) Select Board member Mary Jo LaFreniere endorsed him, and 5) he offers a different perspective (male, sorry to say) than what is on the Committee today. So I’m not playing politics here, I’m focusing on the substance of the candidate. I don’t care if Fogg has been evasive at times – not everyone is owed an answer for everything all the time. I can live with that.

      • All candidates fundraise regardless of party. There finance reports are public record and Fogg has raised more from her donors and has been publicly solicitating on her campaign Facebook page than the other two candidates. 3 x Munroe & nearly 2x Stephenson. Request the reports yourself instead of making false assumptions of HDTC bank rolling any candidates. These committees both R & D have bylaws that dictate giving. Stop spreading fake nears and call town hall and see for yourself.
        I don’t want my elected officials to be evasive. FWIW, agree in regards to Munroe.

        • It’s not entirely about bank rolling. It’s about using their ENITRE platform. Have you seen a sign in someone’s yard that just has Susan or Adam? Or are their signs always together? Do they match? Does Susan and Adam go out and put the signs out in peoples yard? Or does the HDTC do that for them? Every single sign of Ashley’s represents a personal connection Ashley has in the community. Not just a political affiliation.

          HDTC did bank roll the advertisement in the Hopkinton Independent (it says so in the ad) and the postcards that went out to all Hopkinton residents. Ashley paid for her ad from her fundraising community members.

          The HDTC use their financial platforms to fundraise for the candidates. Both of them use the ACTBLUE platform.

          Anything related to Adam and Susan’s campaign, is found on the HDTC website including candidacy statements and signs. The HDTC set up their Facebook pages.

          When Adam Monroe wasn’t able to attend the public forum by the Women’s Club a HDTC member was able to read his statement. Was that offered to any other candidate?

          Ashley may have to raise more money because it’s a David and Goliath situation. And the funds she’s raised speaks volume to her commitment and support from the community.

        • I ran for Constable and am a registered Dem. I funded my own campaign, didn’t take a dime from the party. This is not about Red or Blue it’s about our schools. I too remember a town completely run by the R’s in town for years. Well the town has grown as have the parties.
          Just vote for the people you know will do right by the job.

  19. Ashley comes off a whiner. She isnt being bullied she is being asked accountable questions regarding her issues with curriculum, perceived issues with acceptance of all and is known to have had confronational problems with several classes her children have been in.
    She can’t handle parents concerns pre-election reflects how she will be intolerant if, I shudder to think elected to the School Committee.
    My Christian family who are fiscally conservative Republicans but socially accepting of individuals rights will be voting for Munroe and Stephenson.

  20. Hop dad: the only reason I brought that up about anti-masking was because you were saying how loud the Democrats are. My point was only to show that the Republicans can be just as loud, and Ashley was one of them during Covid. So for her to say she’s independent now and then run around making clear derogatory comments toward the Democrats is like the pot calling the kettle black. That’s all.

    • Just a note to clarify as we don’t want misinformation on these posts, Candidate Fogg is not a member of the Hopkinton RTC and was not a member with my records that go back to 2020.

      Jim Mirabile
      Chair
      Hopkinton RTC

      PS, I am happy to chat with anyone about the HRTC…and no, we don’t bite! 🙂

  21. Ashley, Ashley, Ashley, you just had to start this again. Things were beginning to quiet down and you just had to stir things up again, didn’t you? This letter was so whiny, I’m sure you are hoping it’ll get sympathy votes for you. It doesn’t work like that. People are going to vote for the most qualified candidates, not for the whiniest. I also read that the conversations between Ashley and the two SC members who encouraged her to run for the school committee are in writing. I don’t believe that for one second, it’s a big lie. In case I am wrong, make them public, then I’ll apologize. Ashley, you’re just making yourself look ridiculous, and you’re bringing it all upon yourself. People of Hopkinton, vote for Susan Stephenson and Adam Munroe. You won’t be sorry!

    • Look up the term gaslighting and this response is the epitome of it. “You brought it on yourself”? You sound like a mean girl from a high school movie.

    • Nikki James you understand this is exactly the trolling behavior Ashley was speaking about in the article.

      Ashley doesn’t owe you a thing.

  22. I’m going to be voting for candidates who have been transparent during this process and don’t bash people on social media ❤️

  23. Hopkinton Community this is polarizing to read and is an example of what is wrong in our community. It is concerning that people have to use aliases to express themselves as they fear retaliation from this community. It needs to be ok for people to have different opinions especially how they feel about the directions of our school. Please stop attacking each other and agree to disagree.

    • They use aliases because they are pointing fingers that they know go nowhere…they are cowardly, not afraid.

  24. I’m disgusted that a person says they’ve been bullied, and the response is they’re a liar and a whiner, and “they’ve brought it on themselves”. No wonder kids bully each other in school, they learn it from watching you.

  25. The Women’s Club always allows a statement to be read by a candidate who is unable to attend their Meet the Candidate’s event. Sometimes Mrs. Hebden has read them and sometimes an unopposed candidate does. The Women’s Club decides, it is their event and non-partisan.
    HDTC’s mission is to advocate for democratic causes and candidates, part of that does include paying for one ad in the Independent. The ad is for all the democratic candidates, contested & unopposed and it makes sense in a contested race to feature a contested race more prominately and we publicly state that it is paid for by the HDTC. Other ads candidates take out on their own sometimes even here on HopNews.
    Signs are often planted at same locations, that can be said regardless of party. This local race, many Susan & Adam signs are together requested by community members, Susan absolutely has signs hosted by residents who requested just hers too.
    I will also note, their opponent has her signs in several yards that have hosted Trump & Diehl signs.
    Postcards and mailers are typical in all elections regardless of party, local, state, national candidates and causes they fill recycle bins everywhere.
    HDTC funding is filed pubicly with the state (so is the HRTC), want to know who donates and where funds are expensed go to the state’s website OCPF. The term bankrolling is extremely exaggerated especially if you look at the numbers, the HDTC donors are made up of community members, expenses support candidates, causes and goodwill like sympathy donations & get well support. In regards to ActBlue, is a local Massachusetts company, before that most went through PayPal.
    I am voting for Susan and Adam, niether were asked by the HDTC to run. They both pulled papers well in advance of the deadline, garnered community and HDTC support and both did get additionally endorsed at the local HDTC caucus. They have been positively engaged with the community (no mudslinging or drama, just interest in supporting HPS) attending meetings including school committee, different town departments, educational stakeholders/parent advocacy organizations & town meeting.
    For me personally & most imporrantly they have amazing educational credentials and exoerience making them very qualified to serve on our school committee.
    Vote Monday!

    • Darlene anyone who has paid attention to social media knows you have led this charge against Ashley. You have posted all over the place misinformation and have told her to leave the community. People know your bad behavior has led to the divide in this town and you are the biggest bully of them all. Quit with the novel posts.

  26. I was driving through town this morning and saw a bunch of people holding signs for Susan Stephenson and Adam Munroe. I didn’t see anyone holding Ashley Fogg signs. How sad is that!

  27. It is far too expensive to mail to every household. You must be among the chosen to get a postcard or mailer. If you dont like it, toss in the recycling bin. Nothing unfair about sending postcards, in 2022 I recall receiving at least one from Fogg too.
    Vote Monday!

  28. Did no one tell the new editor not to allow comments on these things? This is Town Talk 2.0. 😂

  29. I find one paragraph very enlightening:

    “I have had almost zero questions about extremely pressing issues facing Hopkinton Public Schools. No one has sought out my thoughts on the exponential growth we have seen in town, the new schools that need to be built or added onto, the budget and how it relates to our town as a whole, MCAS scores, special education and gifted learners. All of these topics are incredibly important to my role as a school committee member and they haven’t been asked. Why not?”

    This discussion shows that these _AREN’T_ what most people feel are the pressing issues facing Hopkinton Public Schools. Most of the conversations focus on DEI and SEL for Hopkinton Public Schools.

    I understand Ashley Fogg might disagree that these issues are important. I’d disagree that asking and pressing for answers about topics which people find important is bullying.

    Bullying is insisting that “Democrats” are the problem and insisting that “HDTC” is attacking (and at fault) for focusing on different ideas.

    “Hopkinton Comes Together” and would have an open conversation. However, when there is a difference in the topic of the conversation, it’s impossible to have any conversation.

    Ashley: If you have a specific policy topic, I’d love to hear it have open conversations on the policy topics. Instead, I’ve only heard evasion on every topic and accusations of foul play. This worries me and has me very concerned about your agenda when it comes to elected office. I don’t know what you believe and I will not support someone who is unwilling to talk about convictions.

  30. Although I don’t agree with Ashley Fogg on some issues, I will be voting for her and support her candidacy. I would urge the citizens of our community to do the same. I’ve lived in Hopkinton all my life and love this town very much. I believe Ashley Fogg is by far the best candidate.

  31. I do not get involved in any town politics, nor do I know any of the candidates for school committee. When I read Ashley Fogg’s submission to the newspaper, I was embarrassed for her. Our town deserves far more than she can bring to the schools. I prefer actual credentials, not just “I am a helicopter parent – let me in to decide for the rest of you, based on my distorted views”. How about actual educators, educational administrators, finance/budget/accounting, or just respected town leaders.

    Ashley, what actual value would you have added, other than being a concerned mother? You NEVER said you were against banning books. Strike One. You actually think that Hopkinton is rife with bullying and violent behavior. Strike Two. If you aspire to be on the school committee, please take remedial English, you cannot write well. Strike Three – You are Out.

Comments are closed.

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