September 13, 2017

Vouching for Jess Deutsch’s Courage in Seeking Out, Addressing Problems Head On

To the Editor:

Students in Princeton are often taught the importance of diversity, but not always given the opportunity to practice it and reap its benefits. With each year, the number of students at Princeton High School who report high anxiety levels and staggering sleep deficiencies remain alarming and disheartening. Princeton is recognized nationally for how its best students fare as far as college admissions, but we seldom hear about, and are just starting to talk about, the mental health cost students are paying to achieve the admission results about which we are so proud.

These issues concern me not because I do not love Princeton or the experiences I have had there. It is precisely because I love Princeton that I insist that these issues be addressed, so that more students can share in and benefit from the experience I had in Princeton, or forge their own path in the community.

These issues are complicated and systemic; if they weren’t, they would’ve been addressed long ago. This is a community that has more resources, both human and otherwise, than almost any other in the country and possibly the world. The solution lies not in new resources but in new ideas.

Jess Deutsch, who is running for Board of Education this fall, has the rare blend of passion, enthusiasm, and expertise to try get at the root of some of these problems.

Jess has spent much of her adult life seeking out the most vulnerable among us and extending to them a helping hand. Whether through her work as a mental health professional and a non-profit consultant with Princeton Balance, helping quite literally change the path of entire families with the 101 Fund, or her involvement in trying to bring fresh ideas and conversations to the community through Princeton Common Ground, Jess has consistently shown that she is willing to use her voice for those who have been left behind.

The truth is that all of the candidates running are very qualified. They all want to make the district better for Princeton’s children and, in many cases, their own children. Running for office is not a decision to be taken lightly and all the candidates in the race and their families deserve a tremendous amount of credit and respect for that.

What I can vouch for, though, is Jess’s courage to seek out problems and address them head on. What I can say with absolute certainty is that she deeply and unconditionally loves this community and its children. As someone who has been the direct beneficiary of Jess and the Deutsch family’s tenacious love, I feel that there is no one I would rather have as an advocate for the students and families of the Princeton school system.

Zack DiGregorio

William Livingston Court