Although I don’t know what Mayor Felton wrote, I do know what Jamie Strauss wrote in her Open Letter to the Mayor.
Bravo, Jamie Strauss.
Dear Pocahontas County parents and parents across the great state of West Virginia and America;
I hope this finds you well. This has been a challenging summer, and I hope you have spent some quality time out of doors with your families and enjoyed the beautiful weather.
It is mid-July now, and many of you are starting to think about going back to school. This is an unprecedented time in our lives, and many of our social and economic platforms have been changed and even cancelled and our public school system is right in the middle. I want you to know that the Pocahontas County Board of Education and the West Virginia Department of Education have been working hard for our children. We are developing plans to go back to school based on child development and safety, staff safety, family and home concerns and our community health and economic stability. After extensive review of our county public school budget, one topic of concern that I want to highlight in this letter is student behavior issues.
Every year, to date, student behavior discipline issues and associated spending has increased. We currently, as a county, spend an enormous amount of hard earned taxpayer dollars on ALC – alternative learning centers – counseling, remediation and, in some instances, the penal system for student discipline and bad behavior. We spend millions of hard earned taxpayer dollars across the State of West Virginia and an astronomical amount of dollars across the nation on student discipline. Plus, it does not stop there.
Every time a teacher has to stop class to deal with a student discipline issue, the whole classroom environment is interrupted and this lost time is immeasurable. The point of my letter is: imagine if we as parents of Pocahontas County students and across the state and great nation started insisting on good behavior from our kids and students to curb student behavior issues. Our millions of hard earned tax dollars could then be spent on proactive student instruction instead of remedial student discipline issues. This aspect of public education spending is really just that simple.
As we move forward into the new school year with an uncertain amount of physical in-class time, we, as parents, need to make sure our kids and students are prepared for school – then we will reduce the amount of student discipline issues and make every single minute of in school instruction time count. We cannot afford to lose one more dollar or even a minute of lost instruction time to discipline issues. Thank you so much for your time in reading this message.
Parent, Community Activist and member of the Pocahontas County Board of Education