Letter to the editor

A furious grandmother speaks

To the editor:

I have five grandchildren who all attend school in Amsterdam. First, I would like to address school supplies. The supply list for a kindergartner is ridiculous. Not only do we have to supply the basic crayons, folders, glue sticks, scissors and pencils, but now we supply baby wipes to clean tables and dry erase markers to write on the board. Give me a break.

Whatever happened to soap and water and paper towels? I don't ever recall purchasing chalk for my children to be taught. Schools want to upgrade to dry erase boards instead of chalk boards then you pay for it. Don't keep expecting the rest of us to pick up the slack. The financial burden on middle class families who actually "work" is getting unbearable. The cost of living is going through the roof as are our school taxes. What's next? Send in toilet paper so your child can wipe their rear end? Yes, it's getting that bad.

Now on to our community basket school supplies. Not only do we have to purchase an absurd amount of supplies for a 5-year-old, but some of them such as pencils are all being thrown together in what we call a "community bin."

Each child is required to bring in 10 pencils. There are approximately 25 children per class. That's 250 pencils for one kindergarten class. How do the parents know who supplied what? And, if everyone doesn't contribute, that means the rest of us supply someone else's child in these tough economic times. I don't wish to see any child go without, but we all have our own families to worry about. We also do not receive any community basket items home at the end of the school year. So, where do they go? I think we all know the answer to that.

Now on the dress code. My 10-year-old grandson wore a nice pair of gray shorts and a gray and white stripped shirt on the first day of school. He was made a spectacle of and was embarrassed in front of his whole class because he wasn't wearing a solid shirt in his school colors. He was forced to go to the nurse and put on a used t-shirt for the school day. Talk about a great first day of school, huh? Who do they think they are? This is a public school.

We have no other choice than to send our children to Amsterdam without paying tuition. How would you like to go to work, Mrs. Principal, and have me tell you "I don't like your skirt, take it off." I don't think you'd take that too kindly, so why should our children? The dress code is supposed to unify the school and to lessen children getting picked on and to stop inappropriate dress. How about making the parents accountable for their children's behavior and for inappropriate dress? Stop punishing the good kids. They have the right to express themselves in age-appropriate clothing. Not to mention, the spread of disease such as MRSA, scabies and lice to name a few that are not irradiated in normal laundering process. If the district won't bend on the dress code, then they can provide five new outfits for each child to wear. Don't think that's going to happen.

I would also like the community to know that we have one elementary school in the entire district that is in "good standing." How about focusing your energy on academics instead of what color shirt their wearing. How about making teachers accountable for maintaining an acceptable passing rate. With the amount of supplies we purchase, and the cost of our "unified" clothes, it sure paints a pretty picture doesn't it? Shame on you.

Peggy Thomas,

Fort Johnson