By Beth David
The Fairhaven Selectboard heard from Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School superintendent James O’Brien on Monday, 5/23, to be assured that Fairhaven students were safe going to the school.
According to Selectboard chair Charles Murphy, Mr. O’Brien told the board about improvements and outreach to certain students and support groups for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) students.
The school commissioned a study by Brown University to study the atmosphere at the school after students took to social media to complain about treatment of certain groups at the school.
“He wanted to assure us that the school is taking everything seriously,” said Mr. Murphy. “He noted in the survey that they are a top notch school and they are keeping all students safe. He wanted to project that Fairhaven students are safe.”
Mr. Murphy noted that his daughter graduated from Voc-Tech and is an honors student at Johnson & Wales now.
“I think she got a tremendous education at Voke,” said Mr. Murphy.
The board also heard from MaryJo Lima of the Team Noah Foundation, a group planning to build an accessible playground at Pope’s Park in New Bedford.
The park would be built with children of varying abilities in mind, so that all children can play there.
The City of New Bedford donated the land and the foundation has raised the money for the project.
Mr. Murphy, who is also on the town’s Commission on Disability and runs MO LIFE, an organization that works with adults with disabilities, said that the playground would be the only one of its kind in the area.
Although the Wood School has Everybody’s Playground, the new one will be a public park open to the public all the time (school parks are closed to the public during school hours), and would be more modern and much larger.
He said the the nearest one like it as far away as Boston.
The Team Noah Foundation was created in honor of Noah Ferndandes who was diagnosed with M.E.L.A.S., a progressive and degenerative mitochondrial disease, at the age of 5.
Noah passed away just weeks ago, on 3/16/16.
The Noah Foundation was created to provide children with the proper equipment they need to live life to the fullest. Since 2013, the foundation has raised more than half-a-million dollars. They provide wheelchairs, audio/visual equipment, walkers, etc., to families.
“They are leaving a legacy for their son Noah,” said Mr. Murphy.
To learn more about the foundation, visit www.teamnoahfoundation.org
In other business, the board also approved annual board and committee appointments, and received a letter from Fire Chief Timothy Francis praising Rep. William Straus for his help getting funding restored for the Opticom System at lights on Route 6. The system allows ambulances and cruisers to turn lights red as they pass in an emergency. •••
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