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Letter comparing schools to killing fields both shocking and appalling

Jul 24, 2012 - Nicole M. Schoening, Riverton

Editor:

The letter "School Can Wound Kids" struck a chord with me when I read it on the evening of July 12. To say that I was speechless is an understatement.

I was shocked to see public school compared to a war zone in which children are wounded (part of you ceasing to work) or dead (meaning your spirit is killed). I find it appalling that an individual compares our public school system in this manner and felt obligated to offer another opinion.

It should be noted that I am an employee and a patron of Fremont County School District 25. My son will be entering fifth grade in the fall of 2012. I am also a graduate of Riverton High School and of the University of Wyoming, earning a master's degree in social work in 2007. I believe my experiences as a former FCSD 25 student, a current parent and a current employee provide me with a great amount of insight into the services that public school in Riverton offers to our students.

As a parent, I have tremendous gratitude for all of my son's current and past teachers. They have fostered a desire for learning and have provided a roadmap every single day so that he can learn and grow at a pace that meets his individual needs.

My son participated in an after-school enrichment program where his opportunities for learning only increased. We attended family nights, open houses and the science fair. The only thing I ever observed as a parent was pure excitement, joy and pride when we visited our son's school. Never did I feel that his spirit was at risk.

Our district offers enrichment and remediation programs available for all students at all levels of learning. We have many teachers who go the extra mile by staying after school, coming in before school, and working weekends so that they can have a curriculum that is rich in information, differentiated to meet all student's needs, and exciting so that students have a desire to learn more.

As a employee of District 25, I look forward to work each day. The bottom line for me is that I love kids. Our superintendent believes that "kids are the reason why." I couldn't agree with this statement more.

Although I cannot speak for the 300-plus employees that work for the school district, I can say without hesitation that I approach each day with the mindset that I have an opportunity to make a difference in a child's life. What a tremendous opportunity and gift I have been given. I have never considered my role to be one in which I wound a child or attempt to kill a child's spirit.

Ms. Clayton, where did you attend school and where did this "dream" come from? I am sorry if your public school experience was not a positive one, but I believe that your attempt to metaphorically compare our schools to a war zone is, frankly, laughable and outlandish. There are so many wonderful things that happen in a school outside of learning.

Ms. Clayton, I am curious about socialization opportunities you provide your children to give them the social skills that are necessary in life. How do your children learn about accepting differences, celebrating diversity, and developing tolerance for others whose values may not be similar to yours?

While I value a parent's decision to home school or not to home school, I am greatly offended by Ms. Clayton's portrayal of our schools as a killing field. Ms. Clayton, I appreciate your desire to keep your children's spirits alive, but as a public school employee I am horrified and offended that you attempt to portray public school employees as "child killers."

I sincerely hope that this is not the message you are sending to your children, but my fear is that your narrow viewpoint is not only shared but encouraged in your household.

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