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Letter to the Editor Regarding School Sit Out Planned for Monday April 12

So many of us have been long term, strong advocates and supporters of the Huntington School District and our shared community. That hasn’t changed, but, as safety issues at JAI continue to increase in proximity, numbers and severity, our growing concerns as citizens and parents can no longer be challenged. We have demonstrated our ability to be flexible, open-minded, communicators and collaborators with both our Board of Education and the Huntington Town Hall Board.  Most of all, we have demonstrated an undying amount of patience in the hope that our collective efforts and concerns would be heard in order to create the safe, educational environment our children desperately need and deserve.

As we know, this has not happened.

Our hope is that the meetings in the coming weeks will outline immediate, actionable steps toward making the safety of our children a reality–not another plan, or discussion, or report, or committee to be formed. None of us will be surprised when Monday night’s Board of Education meeting adjourns and once again we find ourselves without answers and fulfillment of action. Again, we will be reminded that politics were chosen over the safety of our children.

We believe a “Sit Out”, (Keeping our children home from JAI, Flower Hill, Washington, Woodhull, Southdown and Jefferson), is THE most powerful demonstration to accomplish the most critical issues we are faced with:

1. Our children’s safety
2. We are no longer willing to be complacent–waiting for action and seeing no results
3. Break the cycle of control. The current cycle goes like this: There is a crime-related incident in our children’s school/community. We have a board meeting, concerns are expressed and we are told they share our concerns and they will be proposing solutions. We send our children to school and wait for solutions. Those solutions never materialize.
4. Put the school and town board in a position where they are forced to respond and come to the table with a resolution–something at the very least we can negotiate and say “Yes” or “No” to.

Effective Monday, April 12, 2010 our children will not attend school as another step to accomplish our goal of letting the leaders in the district and town know that their lack of concern/action is not acceptable and will no longer be tolerated. We realize there are many working parents and we’re happy to help however possible if you want to participate. The true impact of Monday’s Sit Out will only be realized if we have “Strength in numbers” behind it.

Meryl Otis Kessler
Michele Kustera
Huntington, New York

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4 comments to Letter to the Editor Regarding School Sit Out Planned for Monday April 12

  • Michele

    Thank you JAI Mom (II). We can all disagree on our methods but I think we all agree the issues surrounding JAI will not be tolerated by any of us anymore. We also can all agree to disagree that we want the school moved or not. I have learned so much these past few weeks and I am happy to see so many engaged. What saddens me is that although this is one district I believe the BOE really has at least 2 areas if not more they are contending with. If those parents that live in the Southdown/Jefferson/Woodhull zone were in our collective shoes (for and against JAI staying where it is) I can bet you we would be having the same discussions/debates just with a different group of people. There has been support from some parents but I think many of them view it as “it’s not our problem”. Regardless of how we go about getting our voices heard let’s all keep our pressure on local, state, county officials as well as our BOE to do the jobs they took oaths to do!

  • mary

    All of you who think your were making such a strong statement today by keeping your kids out of school will be the first people complaining about the ELA results!

  • tracy

    To concerned parent – The kids have already been dragged into because of the police zone JAI has turned into.

    To Get real- I didn’t realize you knew me personally and are able to speak for everyone involved in the sit out. I am concerned with safety but I am also concerned with my children going to a school that needs to have police supervising recess, gym and dismissal. I am not opposed to diverse areas as I went to Grad school in Washington Heights. I am opposed to shootings near a school and police being a daily part of the school day.

  • WH-FMS-HS Mom

    Hey anonymous…. You are so tough not to use a name. Your comment about Woodhull parents “crawling” out of the woodwork was very ignorant. I love that some parents that do not attend any board meetings are now all engaged now that “their kid” is in “harms way”. Guess what? Anyone that drives on New York Ave is in harm’s way. You need to redirect your anger toward the town board and the county executive. This is not a school board issue. It is a town issue. Also, this Woodhull-Finley-HS Mom attends most board meetings, even when they are not about my children. Those meetings and this school district is about ALL our children. You don’t like it, go to private school. It will give our children more room in the schools we love.

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