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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Another letter to the school board

I probably said too much, but I'd rather say too much than not speak up at all. Here is my letter:

Dear Sir,

This is the second year in a row I’ve found the need to write you about the situation regarding our schools.
Maybe it’s just this particular teacher… but the problem is this:

My son Timothy was put in a home economics class. His teacher expected the parents to go out and buy the materials necessary to create a doll, which they is to care for like children.

The teacher was not sympathetic when my son told him that we couldn’t afford the materials for this project, and told him if he can’t do it he fails.
Frankly, my son has a four year old sister and has had plenty of experience caring for babies. He could probably TEACH that segment of the class.
We could have easily given him a baby doll to use…

I am unemployed, and have been since the hurricanes last year, despite having looked for jobs in my field from south Miami to WPB.

We do not qualify for assistance, due to the fact that our 20 year old son lives with us, and his income is considered even though he does not support the family with his income.

There are seven of us in this family, three of which are in school this year and my husband has had fewer hours than usual this summer so it’s a struggle just to pay the basic bills and keep food on the table.
As a matter of fact, my van will be repossessed unless a miracle occurs in short order.

What I’m trying to say is, we are not starving… but we can ill afford extra school supplies, particularly at the outset of the school year when we have just had to purchase supplies for three kids. As it is, they are attending classes in LAST YEAR’S clothes, and my daughter has sewn her own bookbag to avoid the embarrassment of carrying the tattered remains of last year’s. Children whose families qualify for assistance get all of these things through those programs, but we seem to fall through the cracks.

I’m going to attempt to get my son transferred out of that class, but I believe this problem needs to be addressed. In my opinion, if the teacher wanted to assign a project like this, she should have spent her summer collecting the materials for her kids so that those with no money wouldn’t have to be embarrassed or feel like they might as well not even go to school any more. It’s very demoralizing on a kid, you know? There are lists such as Freecycle.org and Miami.craigslist.com where a “wanted” request for the necessary things could have been posted, but she gave the kids only a week to get the materials and complete the project. It was due today.

I’m going to be very upset if my son ever feels the need to lie to me and say he has a sore throat again, over something like this. He shouldn’t be ashamed to go to school because his parents are broke.
Respectfully yours,

Mrs. Lydia Shelley

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