Three questions with
Shawn Roussin

Before we even start, if you could give us a little background on who you are.
 

My wife and I moved to Exeter in 2003. She was six months pregnant with our son (now a senior at EHS). We wanted an immensely high-ranking school system in New Hampshire.  It was our top priority when deciding where to start a family and settle down. Exeter was building the new high school at the time, I think. I forget their state ranking at the time, but I believe it was Top-3, perhaps 2nd or 3rd.  We liked that PEA was here and thought that would provide some diversity, knowing that kids from all over the world would be walking the streets and engaging in local activities.  That was, and still remains important to us.
 

I’ve been a physician assistant for twenty years. It’s a honor to be a part of caring for the health and happiness of our community, truly.  I am humbled.  When my son turned nine, I began coaching baseball here and was on the Exeter Junior Baseball and Softball League Board of Directors for six years, and became the Babe Ruth Director over my final three years.  I’ve coached over a dozen baseball teams, as well as coached several basketball teams when my daughter began playing.  She's now fourteen.  My wife, Karen, spent eighteen years in the biotech industry, commuting to the Boston suburbs, but now works locally.  She got heavily involved in the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, both at a local level and state level, and has not only held numerous leadership and training positions, but has received several awards for her volunteerism.

 

Why did you want to join SaveSAU16?
 

I happened to strike up a conversation with a few dozen residents after a school board meeting in June of 2021 and upon listening to these like-minded parents voice their concerns, I realized that I wasn’t alone. I had never spoken at a school board meeting, let alone even attended one.  My public comments were heartfelt and sometimes difficult to annunciate, yet it was clear that they were immensely well received. I was blown away by the outpouring of support I received in the weeks following that night.  It felt like therapy to get so much off of my chest.  Here I am, thinking I’m alone in my feelings, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Phone numbers and email addresses got exchanged, and the next thing I know I become a part of several social media groups, just trying to navigate my place.  I continued to investigate, dig, network, and speak at these meetings.  It was so powerful to see the strength of parents and 100% of it was for our children. Soon thereafter I was approached by SaveSAU16 to consider a leadership role with them.   I knew I needed to fight for our children. This was for me. This was what I was supposed to do right now. It felt right.

 

As part of SaveSAU16, what do you feel is the organization’s top priority?
 

Easy.  Our kids.  No matter if you agree with our organization’s mission or not, I would hope that we can all agree that we are all here for our kids.  Our children are our greatest gift.  They are the legend that we leave behind.  When I ran for a seat on the baseball board, I had to stand up and give a little speech about why I wanted to be on the board.  In part, I said, “I can assure you of one thing, every single decision that I make will have the best interest of the kids in mind. This is their league, not ours.”  That statement holds true today for this organization, but for a much greater population of kids.  This is their education and their experience, not ours.

 

What has been the most difficult part for you, and maybe your family, since you entered this role as a SaveSAU16 leader?
 

That people I’ve never met before, or had a single conversation with, think that they know me, so much so that they are willing to throw around names and absolutely disgusting labels. There is so much hate driven by political divide.  None of this, meaning fighting for our kids, should be the least bit political.  I don’t think politically when I’m fighting for what I believe to be right for our kids.  And at SaveSAU16, we don’t think that way either.  There is no place for it.
 

I’ve heard people say that I’m a “flat-earther”. He’s “anti-science”.  What?  Because I consider all sides?  That’s what I am supposed to do.  I don’t close doors.  Science involves questioning.  This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.  Why?  Because I much prefer to listen to and analyze data from independent thinkers, and not government agencies?  Ok. I’m guilty then.  Of course, I find just as many folks out there who admire this approach, but .  .  .  well, there is this cancel culture craze that loves to attempt to smother and suffocate us.   An example/  because some members of this community were apparently threatened by my mere presence (giving public comments at school board meetings, I suppose), they sent video clips of me (and social media screenshots) to my employer, anonymously, of course. A bit, cowardly, no?  Well, I’m still here.  Did I take a step back from public speaking?  Yup.  And I’m certain they noticed.  I’m sure they think they shut me up.  Ha!!!!!  I don’t need to speak to be heard.  I don’t need to speak to be effective.  I don’t need to speak to stay in the fight for our kids.
 

But the most confusing, yet not surprising thing that I have been called, is “racist”.  Why not surprising? Well, it’s kind of what people do these days, right?  When they can’t poke holes in your message and mission, when they need to deflect attention away from their record (failing academics, inappropriate spending, divisive concepts), and when they can’t cancel you, well, like everything else in their world, they go right to the race card. It’s so predictable.  It’s sickening.   Overused words lose meaning, and that word should never ever lose its meaning.  Never.