WE WANT CHANGE IN THE MILTON VERMONT SCHOOLS.
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When I enrolled my children in the Milton public schools last October I did so with a very heavy heart. We left behind Northfield schools, my three sons and I all loved the Northfield schools. I had even worked there for a while as a sub and an afterschool program leader. It was truly a wonderful school and the transition was a painful one for my children because it followed the abandonment their father has unfortunately subjected them to. I know what you may be thinking....people split up all the time I am being extreme. I wish i could say that I was, but i can't. The loss my children experienced was similar to what a child mourning the unexpected death of a parent would experience. A path of hard work and fate led me to Milton and I had very high hopes that all the bad press I have seen over the last decade regarding the Milton School district was a gross exaggeration. After the last several months with a child in 4th grade, 6th grade and 9th grade i have had a chance to interact with and get a feel for each of the three main public schools in Milton. While I feel there is room for improvement in all 3 schools I strongly feel the need for improvement comes from the need for better role modeling in enforcing policies, following procedures and communicating more efficiently and timely from our highest level school officials. There are a few things that have led me to this conclusion. Shortly after moving here my 12 year old son began having a hard time. The transition was hard, I have had to fight to get support for my son and I feel like we always hit dead walls. I understand that kids will be kids and that twelve can be a tough age but there is no excuse for adults allowing bullying, ongoing behavior to live day in and out amongst the students. Since almost the beginning i have brought my concerns and complaints to the school. I feel like every time I have done this in the past, I am given a broken promise of better communication and proactive behavior. I brought some behavior reinforcement ideas to the table as ideas to help my son (from my experience at Northfield school) and was shot down due to the fact that my suggestion was "more elementary school age". In January I received a disciplinary form which was not only eleven days late but had the name of several other students involved in this alleged situation. I was immediately furious that the school would disclose student’s names. I only worked as a sub in Northfield and training in FERPA laws was not only mandatory but pretty simple to understand and follow! Those laws are put into place to protect our children. I immediately contacted several individuals within the school district including the superintendent. I called and emailed the superintendent several times over the course of several days and when she finally took the time to call I personally felt very accused. I was required to submit my proof before she would be able to look into the situation. When I brought up the issue of the FERPA laws being broken she was very casual about it. I mean there really is no denying the law is broken when I have the names in front of me of the other children involved and their alleged involvement. I received no phone call or email or communication for this and many other similar incidents. The superintendent, in my opinion, was very casual in the way she assured me I was the only parent who received it. It was a substitute teacher apparently who filled out the form. Apparently the substitutes in Milton can easily access our addresses and are allowed to send disciplinary forms to the families of the students. I don’t know about you but I find this scary in the society we live in. There was no follow up on this and no proof of the incident being addressed or truly corrected was ever seen by me. I was assured by the superintendent that substitute teachers are not authorized to send those and it was a secluded incident.... But how am i to know if this is actually the truth? I was never given proof. Since then I have gone back and forth with the School. My son complaining, on an almost daily basis at this point, of the bullying and harassment he is exposed to everyday. Fat jokes and homophobic, mean commentary towards my son from his peers every day. Sometimes it turns physical and at times my son goes back at those kids too. Like I have said all along I don’t expect kids to be perfect all the time. But it is our jobs to guide them and teach them how to interact with understanding and compassion towards their peers, instead of interacting with prejudice and hate. All my son has wanted is to find a place within Milton where he can fit in, make friends and feel like he belongs. Surely that is not too high of an expectation for a 12 year old boy to have? Most recently the school promised me daily check ins between the guidance and support team and my child. My childs complaints have included the staff don’t follow through or at times, even acknowledge his complaints. My child doesn’t feel validated (the Superintendent wont acknowledge me so I understand his feelings). Part of our recent arrangement included multiple weekly check ins, meaning phone calls home. This was the plan made following me physically going into the school and demanding something to change and for my child to be protected. My fiancé and I received TWO check ins. After two they stopped all together. Last Thursday I sent Ann Bradshaw, the superintendent a email asking how I would have to go about having my child transferred to Georgia Elementary/Middle school, as Milton has failed my child. On Friday I received a phone call from my son in tears. It was the normal lunch time battle. He was trying to enjoy his lunch and the fat jokes and the slander began. My son walked away and called me saying he just couldn’t take it anymore. He has not returned to the school since as I have very clearly expressed that as his mother, I don’t feel he is safe in Milton Schools. A few years ago Milton was rocked at the untimely and tragic death of one of the students who had been a victim of serious bullying and hazing rituals. His death literally falls in the school districts lap and it is our job to learn from that! This boy needed help and the staff did nothing! That boy is now dead and the weight his family must feel everyday because of his absence today is a feeling I cant even imagine, nor do I want to imagine it. Our children deserve better starting with administrative staff who is involved and cares. Staff that will protect our children, not ignore the bullying and make children fend for themselves. This is my story and this is why I am here today asking you to sign my petition and please show Vermont that
WE WANT MAJOR CHANGES IN THE MILTON SCHOOL DISTRICT! WE WANT PROPER TRAINING FOR TEACHERS, INCLUDING SUBS! CHANGE NEEDS TO START FROM THE TOP. WE WANT MORE PROACTIVE SOLUTIONS TO GUIDE OUR CHILDREN. WE WANT ROLE MODELS WE CAN BE PROUD OF IN THE HIGHEST POSITION OF POWER AND ZERO TOLLERENCE TO ALL FORMS OF BULLYING, INCLUDED BUT NOT LIMITED TO HAZING. WE WANT OUR CHILDREN TO BE ABLE TO RECEIVE A FAIR EDUCATION IN A DISCRIMINTION- FREE ENVIRONMENT. WE WANT COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE PARENTS AND STAFF THAT DOESN’T INCLUDE BEING IGNORED OR BRUSHED UNDER THE RUG. WE WANT OUR CHILDREN TO LEARN TO BE ACCOUNTABLE SO WE EXPECT THE STAFF TO BE ACCOUNTABLE AS WELL! SIGN THIS PETITION TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT IN THIS . LETS NOT LET ONE MORE CHILD SILENTLY CRY WITHIN OUR SCHOOL WALLS. SIGN BELOW & THANK YOU
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