Our responsibility as educators is to best support our Island children. I feel the MVRHS track and fields project was a proposal that would do just that.

Yet another responsibility as educators is to listen to our community, and as this long review process unfolded, it became apparent that this project caused deep concerns within our community.

The Oak Bluffs planning board has made a decision. This is not the planning board’s denial. This is not any one individual’s denial. This is the denial of many folks among our Island community. I accept the board’s decision and understand that there are many reasonable people who opposed this project, some who happen to be close friends of mine. I don’t believe members of the planning board and others that opposed this project have done anything more than strongly advocate for their own beliefs and for others who have concerns.

I am hopeful we can as an Island community, come together to find a path to safe, playable fields and a new track for our children. It has become clear to me the only way to do this is to begin working together.

Richard Smith

Oak Bluffs

The writer is assistant superintendent for the Vineyard public schools.