LETTER: Gas Powered Leaf Blowers Uninvited to EMS Graduation

Submitted by Sophie Koven

Last Thursday was Eastern Middle School graduation. Three hundred students gathered to celebrate with faculty, staff and their families. More than a 1,000 people came together and the weather was glorious.

Unfortunately, halfway through the ceremony the leaf blowers started on an adjacent property, drowning out the speakers.

The leaf blowing continued on and off for 30 minutes, roaring and idling. Just when it seemed to be over, they would roar to life again. I wanted to leave and find the workers and ask them to stop, but then I would have missed the ceremony, which was only one hour long.

It was a shame given the tremendous effort that went into the ceremony and the special significance of having a ceremony after two years of a global pandemic. It was a moment to celebrate the students’ hard work, their devoted teachers and staff, and the families that traveled to be there.

One leaf blower left us all struggling to hear speeches and the names of our children read aloud. I am sure the workers had no idea that graduation was happening, they were just following orders to blow for part of the time they are at every house, even if there is very little debris on the ground (mid June is hardly leaf clean up season).

I hope our town, like so many municipalities across the country, can adopt common sense restrictions on gas powered blowers so we can peacefully enjoy our homes, yards and neighborhoods, whether we are working, exercising, caring for children, relaxing, or celebrating major life events like birthdays, weddings and, yes, middle school graduations.