As the parent of middle school student and a high school student, I’m writing to address the proposed school referendum from the point of view of safety.

Last year there was in incident in the high school when a student posted disturbing videos. It was reported, and the school and authorities acted upon it immediately to address the situation. However, coming out of that event there was an enormous public outcry with regards to safety in our schools, demanding that the BOE to act to ensure the safety of our students.

Well, the BOE is acting to ensure the safety of our students. With this referendum. Proposals 1 and 2 on the November 6th ballot will add 37 classrooms, 3 multipurpose rooms for lunch/gym, secure entrances to two schools, eliminate trailers, and move all 6th graders into John Walker Middle School.

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This addition of space will allow ALL students in every school to be placed in secure classrooms in secure buildings. That is the number one way to keep our children safe. As long as there are children who exist in trailers, that population of students remains vulnerable because they don’t get the benefits of whatever other security you put in place in the main building.

And without this referendum passing, we will continue to have more and more students in trailers outside of the building. Currently Yantacaw and Washington schools both have multiple trailers. If the referendum doesn’t pass, Washington School can expect more trailers, and Spring Garden School can expect it’s own double wide, stacked trailer for next year.

My children are lucky in that they are currently both in classrooms inside buildings. And, given where they are in their education, if the referendum passes, the direct benefit to them will likely be slim to none. Despite that, I will vote YES. Because they have both sat inside those trailers. And I had no choice. Now I do have a choice for every other child who will have to sit, vulnerable, in a trailer in the future. So I’m voting YES for them, and for all our children.

Best regards,

Christina Surretsky