Friday, November 09, 2007

Letter To The Editor - Nov 9, 2007 - From Bonnie McPherson - Considering Taking My Children out of the Langley School District

Dear Editor:

I'm sending this to you as I believe this problem is going to affect all of us. Some districts are growing and some are shrinking in size. Population is aging. People are waiting longer to have kids, or chosing no kids at all. The education system is feeling the stresses of this demographic shift. We all know that some changes are inevitable. Schools are closing. But here in Langley something is terribly wrong.

Here is my letter:

The changes that are taking place in the Langley School District next September will affect close to 6000 students. There is very little public support. I'm considering taking my children out of the Langley School District
Here's why:

My daughters have very few OPTIONS. Only one of which is an actual school. One can attend an "experimental" school that has no support in this community. This new "Middle School" is going to be in the building that was once H.D. Stafford Secondary. There is too much research showing all the "problems" associated with middle schools for me to seriously consider this option. Too many of us opposed it. The teachers that I've spoken too don't want to teach there. The statistics from our research tells the story. Drop out rates go up. Bullying complaints go up, marks drop. I just know too much to let her go there. There are no swing sets or monkey bars. There are no "little kids" for her to be a mentor to....

There will however, be about 100 grade 12 students there as our Board of Education "forgot" about them when they made these plans. There is no room for them anywhere else. They want to stay, as H.D. Stafford has been their home. I feel like they deserve to have "H.D.Stafford" on their diplomas. But that is not where I want my 11 year old to be.

The only school that has room for my 13 year old daughter is L.S.S. Now I have nothing against L.S.S. My daughter is a soccer player. L.S.S. has the soccer academy. L.S.S. is the next closest school, although it is almost 5 km's away. It is the only highschool with room for my daugher. I have concerns about being FORCED into a school that doesn't really want us. I've been to the meetings. So has my daughter. We have a life outside school, and it is perfectly clear that there are going to be problems. There is bitterness and anger that has yet to be addressed. I have no confidence in the Langley School District to be able to effectively deal with this very real issue.

Brookswood is apparently capping it's cohort size at 250. Chances of getting in there are slim. They are expecting long line-ups come February. Tents and sleeping bags. Hope the weather isn't too bad.... R.E. Mountain - Full. Walnut Grove - Full. Aldergrove Senior Secondary.....lets not even go there.
There is friction here too. On more than one occasion I have heard "those whiney H.D. Stafford people" comments. I wonder how whiney any of you would be if this was happening to you or your children. It is not that we think our school is any better than yours. It's just that it was OUR school. And they are taking it away from us.

Abbotsford and Surrey, on the other hand, are GROWING communities and will welcome our kids with open arms. They have seats available. They put up portables to fit the kids in. There are choices there. There is a feeling of being wanted when you walk in the buildings there. Tweedsmuir has a great football team. Rick Hansen has fine arts. And they both have transportation options for our kids.

They want us.

Langley Board of Education doesn't.

What kind of Board of Education puts kids at risk? What kind of Board of Education chases its own kids out of it's district? What kind of Board of Education makes it uncomforble to be a Stafford parent or student. What kind of Board of Education takes the position of being the "victims" in this scenario. The Board are essentially using "smoke and mirrors" in my opinion. They should not use that on children and their education.
These people are bullies. Shame on you all. Look what you have taught my children.
Something is really wrong in Langley.


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