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FRAMINGHAM – As a Framingham resident and the parent of a neuro-diverse child, the remarks of Framingham Democratic Chairman Michael Hugo (purportedly speaking on behalf of the Framingham Democratic Committee) at last week’s City Council meeting appalled me

Implying that children with “defects” such as  “a heart defect, an organ defect, spina bifida” are better off not existing because of their cost to our school system demonstrated at best horrific ignorance and at worst a 1920’s eugenics mindset.

With his statement and email to our City Council, Mr. Hugo effectively told every student who receives special services in our school system that their cost to the system outweighs their benefit to society.  The message he sent to every struggling student in our schools is horrendous. Our special education student population is already wrestling with enough challenges after living through a worldwide pandemic during their formative years without the chair of our city’s Democratic committee publicly stating that they cost taxpayers too much money and implying they shouldn’t exist.

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What’s actually worse than the statement itself is that according to the recent Framingham Source article, there are four members of our City Council who are on the Framingham Democratic Committee (which Mr. Hugo purportedly spoke for) and have yet to publicly disavow the statement. Councilors Stewart-Morales,  Steiner, Ottaviani, and Bryant, your silence speaks volumes. Do you not find anything wrong with the statement? 

(Kudos to Councilors King, Stefanini, Cannon, former Councilor Tully Stoll, and Representative Sousa for clearly and publicly stating that Mr. Hugo’s words were not indicative of our community values.)

Finally, to my child and ALL of our citizens, whether physically diverse, neurodiverse, or any of the other myriad of ways we are different from each other; YOU matter.  

We as a community are enriched by the joys and challenges we each bring to the table, and we grow as a community when we listen to each other and learn from one another.  I, and so many other citizens of our community are grateful you exist and grateful to live alongside you.

Mary Doucette


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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.