Tom Briody for School Committee
Updated: Jul 2, 2022
Who am I?
I have lived in Rhode Island for over 30 years, the last 24 in North Kingstown. I was an award-winning investigative reporter in local television before opening a law practice in Providence. I represent criminal defendants and injured plaintiffs. I believe in our Constitution, in our bill of rights, and in civic duty.
I graduated with honors from the University of Iowa College of Law. I am admitted to practice in Rhode Island and Florida. I have tried cases in our state and federal courts, everything from DUIs to wire fraud to a triple homicide in Providence. I have represented wealthy and poor clients, and defended a young man charged in the deadly Station Nightclub fire. I have also handled appeals in the Rhode Island Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
My wife is a physician, an OBGYN. She has helped bring thousands of children into the world over the course of her career. We raised three children here and I feel very fortunate to live in a beautiful neighborhood and to call North Kingstown my home.
Why am I running?
I am a political outsider. I have never been involved in local government before. The last five years, however, have revealed great division in this country. We are in the midst of a culture war, where anger, fear, and conspiracy theories have ripped our communities apart. The rippling effects of this division are felt right here in North Kingstown. It is evident at Town Council and School Committee meetings. It is hurting our educators, our children, and our families.
We have also struggled with fallout from a scandal involving a high school athletic coach who abused his authority and harmed young men in his charge. Even after this conduct was discovered and the coach was terminated, he managed to find employment in another school. This is unacceptable.
I will be a voice of reason in our local government. The people of this community have suffered serious injury. Some hold the School Committee responsible for this scandal, and fear that their children are still at risk. We need to heal and move forward. To do that, there must be transparency and accountability for administrators, teachers, and yes, elected officials.
What is my platform?
If I am elected, I support the following:
1. A modern school curriculum.
This is a very different world than the one in which I grew up. Our children are exposed to disinformation and misinformation. The internet and modern technology, while of great benefit to society, also present great dangers. Of course, our schools must provide education in English, History, Math and Science. But we must also assure that children learn to think critically, to understand how our society works, and to be prepared for success after high school graduation. We have one of the best school systems in the state—we need to make it even better.
Our schools must be safe and secure. The painful memories of Sandy Hook and Uvalde cannot be lost on us. I do not believe in arming teachers. But we must have sufficient security so that students, teachers and administrators can feel safe and comfortable.
3. Mental Health.
This is a critical area for students and educators. I have heard teachers, parents and students describe the stress and difficulties they have felt with the pandemic and the recent scandal. This cannot be taken lightly. There must be resources available to our students and faculty to keep them safe and healthy.
4. Fiscal responsibility.
In a recent school committee meeting, plans were discussed for significant renovations and improvements to school infrastructure. The School Committee will be responsible for many decisions about whether, how and when to move forward with these plans. Our tax dollars must be spent wisely. They are an investment in the future of our town, of Rhode Island, of our country.
5. Fairness and acceptance of all students.
Our community is evolving. So is the North Kingstown School system. We cannot tolerate discrimination or unequal treatment of any student or teacher. This includes people of color, those who identify as LGBTQ, and those with disabilities.
6. Making sure people are heard.
In many school committee meetings I have observed members of our community complain that they are not being heard, that no one listens. There is a difference between not listening and not agreeing. Our parents, teachers, students and all citizens must know that their views have been considered and evaluated. I promise I will listen and consider all points of view.