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Letter to the Editor – March 15, 2018

Published on: March 14, 2018

‘We, as parents, have an obligation…’

Dear Editor,

I started by writing down questions I had, I didn’t expect the answers I got. My intentions were not to offend anyone, but I believe my questions deserved answers.

I strongly believe that our school [Ruskin Elementary] is not getting the attention that other schools receive. I wanted to know why our school resource officer is not on campus full time. The more I asked the more shocked I became with answers. I was informed that our school resource officer was shared with three other schools. This means that any one of those schools is vulnerable at some point during school hours. I asked the next logical question. Is this due to a funding issue? The answer I received was “yes, of course.”

My next question was who votes on these issues? Officials stated this was a board issue. I asked if the school needed something, are funds available to them? The answer was “yes, of course.” I asked them if they thought that school security was not important or needed.

The way they explained it to me was as follows: There is a budget for each child, certain amounts are for food, etc. There is an amount that parents can vote on. I want to know how many parents are voting in these meetings.

This next part will shock you. For more than 800 kids there are about four parents in these meetings. I screamed, what? I asked who are these people? What qualifies them? Who picked or voted them in? She answered in a calm voice and said there’s no qualifying and no voting anyone in. These are simply parents who care and show up to the meetings.

I dropped my head in defeat. After all, she was right. I had never attended a meeting or volunteered. I saw her frustration and vowed to help get the word out to parents. I assumed once I got the word out, parents would start showing up to these meetings.

Our school lacks certain things. We have been without a school psychologist for two years now. Our school has no social counselor.

We have 30,000 commercial trucks drive by [Ruskin Elementary] every day, yet they still insist on no crossing guard. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have their own transportation. Every morning we have people at risk in a line that backs up to a bridge where heavy trucks are passing through. They have no warning to slow down and that cars are at a standstill. Teachers park on the tennis courts because the school parking lot is so small. On rainy days it’s worse because there are double the people dropping off children. I have four children ages 18, 15, 7 and 5. They have all attended this school [Ruskin Elementary]. The reason this is so important to me is because I also attended here as a kid. My mother used to be a bilingual aide here. I still go to the cemetery and clean Mrs. Mary Libroth’s grave. She was the principal when I was there.

Our school deserves the same quality as ones in the fancy neighborhoods. With pretty landscaping and up-to-date equipment. I also believe our school has a bigger need for bilingual aides. We as parents have an obligation to ask questions about our kids, from what they are being taught to what they are being fed. What we can not do is expect other people to know our needs, We need to show up, and if we do it together we might see a change. If you care about your kids take a little time to sign up, get involved and be aware. Our kids need to be safe. One of our kids is going to change the world one day. They are our future, let’s help them be the best they can be.

Thank you all,

A very concerned parent