Maggie Brown Cassidy


Maggie Brown Cassidy recently retired from teaching French at Brattleboro Union High School. She was also a teacher trainer and founder of the BUHS Swiss Exchange, which provided homestays and immersion experiences for hundreds of students in Vermont and Geneva. She continues to teach adults and has written many features for the Brattleboro Reformer.


Teachers, family members, employers - and in fact almost anyone who interacts with other people - have more power than they can imagine, to hurt or to support, and most of the time we’re unaware of the effect we have on others. So I was astonished when a former student contacted me out of the blue to tell me that in going through her father’s papers she’d found reports from when she attended Brattleboro Union High School.

Erin Jenkins

Two current exhibitions at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center are stunning – and very different.

Community of Vermont Elders - Vermont SMP

My new Medicare card recently came in the mail as part of an effort to cut down on identity theft.

Many news sources report that the Vermont Department for Children and Families, or DCF, is having to take responsibility for rapidly increasing numbers of children.

I’ve been a Guardian Ad Litem for a year now, and I’m beginning to see some patterns in how children manage the disruption and stress of being removed from their parents and placed with foster families.

At least 30 years ago, when a student brought a gun into the middle school where I was teaching, I realized with a shock how vulnerable we were.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Current headlines about the resignation of Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the FBI, and other controversy surrounding the US intelligence establishment, have reminded me of a recent disturbing story that got little notice beyond brief mentions by CNN and ABC.

A recent New Yorker article described how a private guardian convinced a judge to give her the power to remove an elderly Nevada couple from their house and send them to a nursing home, sell off their personal belongings and take control of their assets, completely shutting out their daughter, who visited nearly every day.

In Ken Burns’s new PBS blockbuster, Vietnam, veterans interviewed for the series express a range of emotions.

By insisting that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem, President Trump may have actually validated their exercise of free speech under the First Amendment.

A few weeks ago I heard a former Stanford University dean discuss the perils of overparenting. Julie Lythcott focused on college students, but her message also applies to younger children.

This week as part of our Gunshots series, we asked Vermonters about the role of guns in their lives. Commentator Maggie Brown Cassidy had this to say.

I just happened to be in France during the recent presidential election there, and discovered the French candidates had some interesting things in common with our current president.

Immigration has always played a vital role in Vermont’s history. First, a sparse but long-established Native American population was joined by the English – the first European settlers in what became Vermont. Then came Italians, Spaniards, and French Canadians, followed by more recent waves of refugees – Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, Bosnians and Somalis, among others.

News from Washington is coming in waves, as each new appointment, executive order, and White House action washes over and obscures the last. So it would have been easy to miss one action that barely caused a ripple but could have alarming implications for news itself in the U.S.

When my daughter, who has her own infant daughter, mentioned that many local people would be marching in Washington, New York, Boston, Montpelier and Greenfield, Mass., and asked if there were any marches closer, I realized that there weren’t.

In recent months, the Southern Poverty Law Center has reported a nationwide spike in incidents of harassment against minorities, particularly immigrants and African-Americans. Sadly, Vermont too, has seen examples: the Islamic Society of Vermont posted on its Facebook page a letter vowing to try to prevent the future entry of Muslims in this country.”

This summer France was in turmoil about, of all things, a bathing suit. A few Muslim women, constrained by their religion to cover their bodies, appeared on public beaches in so-called burkinis – garments with a striking resemblance to wetsuits. When other beachgoers complained, several rightwing mayors responded by banning burkinis and head-coverings on public beaches.

A recent statewide poll by the Castleton Polling Institute found that Vermonters’ attitudes toward refugee resettlement varied sharply between lifelong residents and those who’ve lived away for at least 10 % of their lives. When lifelong Vermonters were asked whether they would support refugees resettling in their community, about half said they would. Roughly a third were opposed and the rest said it depends or they weren’t sure.

In this most unpredictable of political seasons, gun safety has re-emerged as a major issue. Lawmakers have long been reluctant to debate gun laws on both the state and federal levels, but recent violence and inflammatory political rhetoric have brought the second amendment back to the forefront. So the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center’s main exhibition this summer is “Up in Arms: Taking Stock of Guns,” is surprisingly timely.