.by Anura Guruge
>> ACS 8th Grader Claims That Bullying Is Alive And Well At ACS
>> — Apr. 5, 2013.
The crux of the issue here is very simple as I pointed out in my original post 45 days ago.
This young lady is not trying to name names, cause trouble for anyone, or asking for any special treatment for herself or her friends. What she is trying to do, selflessly, is something for the betterment of the whole school when it comes to the very damaging and dangerous issue of bullying.
What she is requesting, partly in her official capacity as Student Council President but also as a deeply caring 8th Grader who will soon be departing ACS, is that the school provide an open forum where kids can talk about bullying in public and together agree on the steps that they can all take to put an end to it. It is basically asking that the ACS kids be empowered to put an end to bullying on a peer-to-peer basis. It seems laudatory.
If nothing else this bona fide request needs to be discussed in public so that concerned citizens of Alton too can have a say in what is a very crucial issue. We home school Devanee because of the incessant bullying she suffered at ACS. So we sure have skin in this game, which is the reason that I will champion this until we see an equitable resolution.
As I pointed out in my April 5, 2013 post the U.S. Government, www.stop bullying.gov website advocates exactly this type of proactive student involvement. Here is what they say, which is exactly what this young lady is asking for at ACS.
Click to access ‘stopbullying.gov’.
As I also pointed out, with images and links, other schools around the country promote such forums.
But, the ACS administration and School Board, with the ever conscientious and diligent Steve Miller the exception, does not want to even discuss it. There is something wrong here.
The mother of the young lady, an indefatigable PTSA member, in sheer frustration at how ACS was treating her daughter’s request, wrote to the Board on May 6. On the envelope she clearly stated that she wanted this matter to be discussed in PUBLIC at the next School Board meeting. That was the May 13, 2013 meeting that took place last Monday. We were at that meeting. The Board mentioned that there was a letter that had to be discussed. I knew what it was. It was also mentioned that the parent had indicated that the letter should be discussed in Public. A number of Board members claimed that they were not comfortable with that. So a vote was taken as to whether the letter should be discussed in public. Only Steve Miller voted for the public discussion — and he did so stating that he wanted to honor the parent’s request. The other 4 members voted against. 4-1 against a simple request for transparency by a parent (plus one heck of a taxpayer). Take note. So much by the people, for the people. As Steve Miller pointed, as ever correctly, this issue was being pushed out and pushed out so that it would not come up while the school was still in session — and this young lady still at ACS.
It is very obvious that this has been the administration’s and Board’s (bar Mr. Miller) strategy all along. Drag it into July and then claim that it was no longer relevant because the young lady had left!
This is wrong.
I have, right here in front of me, as scanned PDFs, all three letters: the original to the Board by the 14-year old young lady, the Board’s totally non sequitur response and the mother’s letter to the Board in May. Yes, I also have explicit permission, from the mother, to publish all the letters. I have spoken with the mother quite a few times over the last few days.
She is, understandably, furious.
I have been told that a reporter from the ‘Laconia Daily Sun‘ spoke with the Principal about this issue today. So at least the media has been made aware of it.
The two letters to the Board contain some very disturbing phrases to do with harassment and substance abuse. I have also heard of some telling incidents that have taken place at ACS of late. That some of this is not public knowledge is disconcerting since I am sure other parents would like to know.
So, this, for now, is just a heads up. Tomorrow is another day. I just wanted Alton to know that we are not giving up on this issue. Stay tuned.
P.S., Bullying is not restricted to kids bullying other kids. Bear that in mind.
Click to ENLARGE.