From Deborah Chapman:
This letter is in response to the Harford County Board of Education’s decision to request funding for replacements of Youth’s Benefit Elementary School and Havre de Grace High School and major improvements to Joppatowne High School in its fiscal year 2014 capital budget.
Once again, John Archer School has been ignored and passed up for new construction.
I just wanted to say I’m so proud of our students who try their very best to get to classrooms whether by walking, using gait trainers, wheelchairs, pulled in wagons or carried by staff. I’m amazed by the staff of dedicated nurses who care for our children. I’m so grateful that the John Archer School teachers and staff assist children and young adults with toileting in tiny stalls that a fully functional adult can barely fit into. I have so much respect for teachers and staff that must change diapers in the classroom and still manage to maintain some privacy and dignity for my young teenager and other students. Johns Archer School teachers, therapists and many others continue teaching our kids how to walk, communicate, feed themselves and maybe live independently one day. They teach life skills. They also teach our kids drama, music, home economics, art, physical education and many other things. I defy anyone to come to an Eagle Studios Production, Concert, Good News Assembly or JAS Graduation and leave there with dry eyes, not because you are sad, but because you witnessed something joyful that only a very privileged few will ever see. The John Archer School parents can’t even imagine what these dedicated individuals might be able to accomplish in a new facility with modern hallways, classrooms, nursing suites, bathrooms and equipment. We can’t imagine it and thanks to Harford County’s political process, we can stop trying to imagine it.
Congratulations are in order for the proponents of a new Havre de Grace High School and Joppatowne High School. I feel sorry for the high school students that have no pride in their community school and have to walk to a stadium. I have endless sympathy for the kids that don’t have modern computer labs. I feel a great amount of empathy for teachers that have no classroom and must push a cart around all day. I have the utmost compassion for students whose friends can’t get into magnet schools because they are not “academically intelligent” as one student stated at the school board meeting. I can definitely relate to the disdain for stained ceiling tiles and exposed piping. Parents, teachers, politicians, coaches, construction workers and the rest of the community, be thankful those children have sight to see those disgusting exposed pipes. Be thankful that those students can walk to the stadium or cross a street. Be thankful they can laugh, talk and make fun of their friends. Be thankful they know what pride is and that they feel embarrassment. John Archer School students do not feel embarrassment.
I however, unlike my daughter, do feel embarrassment. I’m embarrassed by politicians who are not aligned with the silent minority – the children who can’t complain. Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of schools need replacement. I know the budget is tight and I know about the economy. I am pleased that at least one of the schools on the so called priority list (Youth’s Benefit Elementary) has made it to the capital budget plan for 2014. Whatever happened to fair? What happened to the Countywide Facilities Evaluation? What happened to the existing capital budget plan and schools that have been on the waiting list for several years? What happened to the scope studies? What happened to William Paca/Old Post Elementary Schools? What happened to Homestead/Wakefield Elementary Schools? What happened to John Archer School? I’ll tell you what happened – POLITICS!
I’m also embarrassed that I voted for Craig.