Teacher who quit job after attending Capitol riot wins school board seat

Early election results show Matthew Lynch secured a seat on the Braintree School Committee in Massachusetts

Megan Sheets
Wednesday 03 November 2021 18:40
FBI still needs help catching Capitol rioters
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A Massachusetts teacher who quit his job after a photo emerged of him at the 6 January Capitol riot has been elected to the school board committee in the district that previously employed him.

Unofficial election results for the Braintree School Committee indicate Matthew Lynch, 35, secured one of three open spots on Tuesday with 2,319 votes.

Mr Lynch’s apparent victory comes nine months after he resigned from the teaching post he’d held at Braintree High School for more than a decade, according to Patch.

He stepped down in February after a photo of him standing outside of the Capitol following a rally in support of then-President Donald Trump on 6 January was circulated on social media.

Late last month, Mr Lynch confirmed to Patch that he had been questioned twice by FBI agents investigating the insurrection. Details about his actions on that day are unclear, including whether he joined the crowd which breached the Capitol building.

The outlet said Mr Lynch did not elaborate on the nature of his conversations with the FBI and would not confirm if he was the target of an investigation. The FBI also declined to comment on Mr Lynch, Patch reported.

Mr Lynch alleged that the photo of him at the Capitol was shared with multiple Facebook groups in the Braintree community, and that it was referred to the FBI by several individuals.

He accused those who shared the photo of creating a “digital Lynch mob” and “slandering me as a domestic terrorist” after they “decided they would take ‘justice’ into their own hands”.

Mr Lynch provided Patch with a copy of his resignation letter, in which he wrote: "Unfortunately as the times change and situations evolve, I can no longer be true to myself while serving the role as a Braintree Public School Teacher.”

He said his experience as a military intelligence analyst had led him to fear that Braintree and the nation are “heading on a real collision course”.

"I feel I need to make my voice heard in the town of Braintree but in doing so will have unintended side effects which will be completely unfair to my students," he wrote.

Mr Lynch said he’d informed the Braintree superintendent of his intention to seek a school board seat when he handed in the letter.

A pillar of his campaign platform was “to give as much decision-making back to parents as possible”.

He also criticised remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic as causing “trauma at levels we don’t even know about yet.”

Mr Lynch echoed those messages in remarks to The Patriot Ledger after the preliminary election results signalled his win on Tuesday.

He said he will prioritise “getting decision-making back with parents and away from the state” and that students will not make up for learning lost during the pandemic until policies designed to curb the spread of Covid-19 are removed.

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