I commend Lindsay Britton on her character, though I know her only through one letter to the editor. It takes strength of character to stand alone and publicly question the demands made by school administrators.
Remember, Ms. Britton, you spoke for so many others who remained silent. But silence is the handmaiden of abuse and hopefully the silent will now stand up with you.
This refers to the Cuba Elementary School administrators punishing children for their parents not buying school supplies, which teachers think they must have. Yes, the Cuba School Board is willing to allow punishing little kids to make their parents mind the teachers. It is an arrogance of power.
This is something you, the district patrons, can do something about. You may have to buy medical insurance or pay more taxes than the rich guy, but you can do something about your school’s practices.
Parents are required to send their kids to school, whether poor or rich. That’s a responsibility written in law. The school district is required to educate those kids. That, too, is a responsibility written in law. Each child has a legal right to an education paid for by the district in which he resides, so federal courts have ruled—a legal right.
They have not ruled that parents must pay out-of-pocket for an arbitrarily chosen list of supplies. These additional expenses are not for a child taking woodworking where she may prefer to build a gun cabinet instead of a simple bookshelf. This is to pay for the child’s core education the district is by law required to teach and the child is by law required to pursue.
As a teacher, a parent and a grandparent, for the last decade I became increasingly incensed at the arbitrary expense of sending children to tax-paid public schools. The very poor have always been greatly burdened even to buy their children’s basic paper, pencils and rulers that were needed.
Over the last decade, however, the list grew and grew and grew, as did the cost. Now children are to supply their teachers with red ink pens for marking papers, dry erase markers for the “chalkboard,” weekly readers, and the list goes on.
These are less what the child consumes and more what the teacher does. They are the things that have for generations been bought from the operating budget of the district. Apparently if a teacher can think of it, then a parent must buy it. (Sullivan Schools even told parents unless the items were exactly what was on the list, all the supplies would be sent back.)
So, “everyone else does it.” Parents, has that ever been a good excuse?
For a district to punish a child to force action by his parents is blatantly wrong by professional ethics, not to mention basic human decency. Is it not also wrong by legal judgment?
Perhaps there is a lawyer out there who sees a potential class-action lawsuit?