Readers React

Each week, the Observer-Reporter asks Facebook friends to respond to a question about an issue in the news. This week, we asked, “What are your thoughts about moving a multidistrict alternative education program for troubled youth to Washington Park Elementary School?”

Rhonda Morris: I feel that there are a lot of vacant buildings in Washington that would be better for a school like that. Washington Elementary School is and should be for young children. Not older kids with behavior problems.

Korri Slack: It is unnecessary to increase danger to an elementary school. Any chance even a 1% chance of increased danger around our precious children is foolish. This is all about money first, then maybe safety or education. Who knows? They were thrown around interchangeably. The teachers and staff are silenced. The board and superintendent made this decision without any feedback from parents and blame us for not being at hours-long board meetings, even though we have children with activities or work responsibilities. This is just too controversial and should be repealed immediately! I do not think the kids in the IU1 program will benefit, anyway. This is a disservice to them as well, caged up in a tiny basement with little to no windows sounds horrible. They need their own safe building, so if Washington School board will not admit they were wrong and fix this, I beg the IU1 program to just remove themselves from the equation and rent somewhere else. This benefits no one involved, except for $$$ for the district. It has been thrown in my face about how educated they all are, but if indeed they were so educated I would think they would have had enough sense to not do this, and if they are so “smart,” it shouldn’t be so hard to find other ways to make the district money!

Jamie Huff: The district is looking at dollar signs, not safety. Ask the local police how many times they have to get involved or the teachers that have to go to the hospital, then see if you think it’s safe for our elementary kids.

Alyson Hollowood As a parent of three children in the school, I am outraged at the lack of judgment, lack of planning, and lies involved in this decision. I have gotten the opinion of professionals who are aware of the type of students being brought into the building, and all are in agreement that it is NOT a good idea. Our children will not be attending if this decision stands. The IU had a location to operate this program outside of the Clark building before they were approached about using the space in the elementary school. I understand and appreciate looking into money-saving options, but not when it puts innocent young children at increased risk.

Pam Jones: My thoughts are that this entire setup may be a fire safety issue. If you have gates separating areas of the school, this may be the only safe exit for those students. Also gates are not going to stop the students from overhearing what is being said or for one student to threaten someone on the other side. That being said, I believe these students should be provided with the same educational opportunities.

Pauline Patterson: I don’t feel this is a good idea. Safety is my main concern. With all that is going on in schools today, the safety of our children should be our first concern. This is not the ideal place for older, troubled children. There are plenty of other places to place them, preferably away from our vulnerable young children. Please rethink this decision.

Amanda Avelar: It’s a terrible idea! We’re talking about putting teenagers up to 21 years of age, some with a criminal background, around very young, very impressionable minds! As a mother who already has one child and soon another going to that school, I do not feel comfortable! I feel that Dr. Konrad is not putting our children’s safety first! I very well may home-school my children if this IU program stays at Washington Park!

Kodi Cimino: No. No. No. Glad my son goes to Trinity. If he went Washington Park Elementary, he would be removed because of this.

Courtnei Renay Flannigan: I feel like this is not a good idea. It does not sit well with me. Why Washington Elementary when it is multidistrict? My son will be going there, and I don’t like the idea at all.

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