To the Editor:
I can’t stand around any longer and watch as our school (Berne-Knox-Westerlo) is being destroyed by the people we elected to the board to “help us.” We have supported and voted for these members and what have they done for the students?
To me, it seems like nothing. Where on earth is the interest in the children who attend?
The school is not a place for politics, or résumé building. If you come here for a job, then you should want to teach or help students grow, not just make some money and then move on.
It is a teacher’s job to teach tomorrow’s citizens to succeed in life. It is an educational institution that should be focused on making our children the best and brightest.
Being a student my entire life, I can say our school used to be a great place to come to, but now I don’t know what to think. It’s sad for children who have to move and attend BKW and for my sisters who still have many years here.
The lack of communication and self-interests of many school employees is hard to fathom and the lack of respect the board has for its teachers and students is incomprehensible.
Regarding the increase in security, it has been mentioned by both parents and board members that teachers haven’t been at the doors to open them or supervise them.
You know what? They shouldn’t be!
Teachers are here to teach and help students learn, not sit around and guard a door all day (especially with the generous salaries some receive). The security of the school has been a hot topic lately but I don’t think the board really understands what many community members are talking about.
I urge them to come to the school one day and watch as children aimlessly cross the parking lot and walk from the high school, all the way in front of the buses and into the main doors by the elementary school. If you want to talk about safety, then that should be your first priority.
And will this added security stop all the high school students from leaving the school grounds, walking over to the church, and taking a smoke break? Will they be allowed to do this all day long and still be allowed back inside as if nothing happened? How is this going along with our mission statement of “helping our students be all they can be?”
I am quite sad that our board members have made careless decisions over the last few years, especially regarding the dean of students’ position. They had a dean who did a quality job and was well liked among students and then, a year later, fired him.
Then when the school gets “out of control” again, they want him back. He made a wise decision to turn down the position because a year later he would probably be fired again.
With the new dean of students, I am once again, not surprised by the lack of communication with which the board and school officials operate. No parents received a letter nor was there a simple e-mail on the School News Notifier or a post on the school website about this individual. As a student, I don’t even know this individual’s name or what he even looks like.
Lastly, our school should not need a dean of students. With a high school that has fewer than 500 kids, is a full-time position or the position entirely, really needed?
The principal, in my mind, should have the responsibility of disciplining students. I’m sure the superintendent and his $127,000 salary could cover a few tasks while the principal deals with those students.
In all, the board members need to realize that what they want for the school is not what the parents who elected them and the children who attend, want at all. We, as students, want a stable learning environment with quality courses, quality teachers, and teachers who are around year after year.
The board needs to think about only the children. Raising our parents’ taxes will not help accomplish this task either.
Nobody has the money to throw away at the school, especially with the waste of space the construction project was. It may look all nice and fancy but, with a declining enrollment and a rural school, who cares? Nobody sees it.
Our taxpayers’ money could have been put to better use, such as paving the over-used, pothole-infested, car-destroying, parking lot in front of the school. For years, we have needed new paving and, instead, the board wastes our money on buses that sit around and are never used.
Also, if the school is going to permanently place the buses in front of the school, it poses a very high risk of death to students who could be walking behind the buses. However, it seems the students are not important to the board members, and they may do nothing.
If the buses must stay, though, then there needs to be communication on where parents should be able to park their cars during the school day.
It seems I could go on and on about the issues our school faces, but I am limited to my word count, so I will end by saying, as a graduating senior, I am quite anxious to leave this school, not only to major in the field I love, but because of what is happening in the Hilltowns. Of course, I will miss the teachers I have come to know and love, but it seems the board members are trying to think of themselves more, and not the children they represent.
And this letter comes from the mind of me, and me only. Not my parents, friends, or school employees. Just me.
Editor’s note: See related story on page 12.