To the Editor:
As a candidate for the Board of Education and the father of soon to be middle schoolers, I read David DesRoches’s recent article “Young students happy, older kids want change” with great interest. Thank you for taking the time to write an article summarizing the survey results and posting the raw data on your website. I would encourage everyone to look at the actual survey results. I focused primarily on the Holmes School responses for this letter as my sons recently finished fifth grade there. I think it is important and fair to point out that while the article characterizes Holmes as being a “nearly split student body,” the 201 students who rated the school gave it positive responses by an approximate 94%-6% score. I was particularly impressed with that number as the survey was taken in March of this year which is probably the most challenging part of the school calendar for both teachers and students. I understand that the split student body characterization comes from the writer’s fair interpretation of the 119 student comments as opposed to the full 201 survey results. I just think that the environment at Holmes is far more positive than portrayed in the article.
That said, I would not dismiss the student comments, especially those concerning bullying that were cited throughout the Darien schools. I believe this is an important area where the Board of Education can assert leadership. It is the role of the BOE to ensure not only that adequate policies and procedures are in place concerning bullying but also that they are carried out by staff adequately trained.
Again, I hope that concerned parents and or taxpayers take the time to read the results fully and draw their own conclusions.
The writer is a Democratic candidate for the Board of Education.