After reading the article “ALTS Program Moving Forward” in the Feb. 4 edition of the Union County Weekly, we felt compelled to write as parents of students in the Cuthbertson school system.
We feel that the article makes the Cuthbertson cluster seem as though we were adamantly opposed to the program and that we all had “fears and reservations” about the Alternative to Long-term Suspension program being housed at our school. What the article did not address, however, was that most of us did not oppose the program, including many of those parents who appealed the decision, but felt Dr. Davis was trying to institute the program without our knowledge and felt no need to offer information to us when asked. This lack of respect and concern for us, as parents of students who attend Cuthbertson, was what caused the majority of the opposition.
The program was discussed and plans were made in May of the previous school year to move the program to Cuthbertson, and our opinion is that Dr. Davis knew there would be opposition or he would have held a formal meeting with parents to let us know of his plans. He decided instead to try to sneak the program into the school without our knowledge. Most of us found out, by chance, two weeks before school was to start and, much to Dr. Davis’s dismay, this is when we began to question the program.
We were parents that attended every school board meeting concerning this issue and never saw a formal presentation to alleviate our concerns. In fact, when parents asked questions of the superintendent and chief communications officer during the meetings, neither was able to answer simple questions that we posed. We feel that any parent in any school in Union County would have had the same reservations about having the program at their school if no information was provided to them to make sure their children were safe.
If we had been given a chance to meet in May or if we were given information in August to put our reservations to rest, Dr. Davis would never have had this fight on his hands, and most of us in the Cuthbertson community would have embraced the program. Even two school board members who voted in favor of the appeal felt that there was insufficient information available to the public. (Carolyn Lowder, who was mentioned in the article, was not one of those in favor of the appeal and has no children in the school system.)
We are happy that the program is a success, as Dr. Davis states, but we hope in the future that he changes his approach to the way he handles parents who have concerns in the public school system he is in charge of running. We have now lost all respect for him and cannot trust his actions because of the way he handled this situation. If he chooses not to change his ways, he will face the same opposition next time he tries to push his agenda through on his own terms. Be clear, we support the program just not the unethical way it was implemented.
We welcome the ALTS program at our school and wish all of those in the program success in high school and beyond.
Liane and Scott Miller