Updated, 8:32am: I have just heard from a few sources that the district has changed their meeting to their district office at 4pm. And the meeting will be held in a conference room that holds a maximum of 15 people. Apparently there is a Town Hall at Stubbs Elementary School tomorrow night which is being led by Wilmington Councilman Darius Brown, which precipitated the time change for the board meeting. The district did reach out to advise me this is the reason for the board meeting change. Several folks were upset about this, and I did suggest to the district they might want to change the board meeting to another night when parents and members of the community are more easily able to attend. There is another Town Hall this week for parents to talk about the situation. I will update that information when I know when and where. One thing I would remind everyone to do is think of Amy and her family and friends. And please continue praying for all of them.
Howard High School of Technology belongs to the New Castle County Vocational-Technical School District. The district has a board meeting Monday night, 4/25, at St. George’s Technical High School in their Media Center at 7pm. Howard was the high school where Amy died last Thursday. I believe the district has a lot to answer for. While I don’t believe the district is directly responsible for what happened to Amy, there were circumstances that allowed the situation to happen in the first place.
Why are students allowed to enter the school at 7:15am in the morning to gather and do what they please. I’m hearing hall monitors are sparse, when they do come, and when they arrive on time. I’ve heard many who want to blame the teachers for what happened. Nope. They are in district mandated professional development during some of these mornings. To accommodate this, the district changed the start time for the first classes a couple days a week. Let’s make one thing clear right off the get-go: teachers hate professional development. I don’t care how many surveys the Delaware Dept. of Education dredges out. The abuse of Delaware teachers doesn’t begin and end with their evaluations.
Our school districts have become so enamored with the Delaware Way, that horrible situation where all tables must come to the table and compromise while the more powerful of the parties ends up getting their way (in most cases the state DOE/Rodel Foundation for education).
Could Amy’s death have been prevented? I would like to think it could have. One thing is crystal clear. The discipline and fighting figures we see are not honest. There may be a few out there, but I think a lot is going unreported. There are things our schools are trying to hide which is making problems worse, not better. In many of our schools, students hit teachers all the time. They curse and roam the halls in some schools. Some students are expelled or sent to alternative schools in the hopes they will become better students. But the class sizes in these schools now make it impossible for a teacher there to get anything done. There is also this absurd culture where students have no authoritative role models anymore. Some of them don’t get it at home or school. A school should not be the Band-Aid to cure what ails so many of our students. But this seems to be what our state and the corporate education reform companies want.
Don’t get me wrong: students should not encourage fighting, nor should they build a blockade so teachers or other adults can’t stop what is going on. The students involved should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. In my opinion, those who stood and watched while filming the tragedy should be held accountable as well. They are just as guilty. But the schools, districts and administrators who stand back and let these things happen time and time again need to realize how serious these things can get. A student died in one of our schools in Delaware. She was murdered. We can’t forget that and it would dishonor Amy’s life to think otherwise.
The parents of students at Howard High School of Technology have every right to voice their concerns. I strongly encourage all of them to attend the board meeting Monday night in Middletown. If they are unable to get there, other parents should offer a ride or perhaps the district should arrange busing for them so they can make their voices heard. This meeting could get very real and the district may be forced to hear things they would rather not hear. But I’m sure Amy’s parents heard something they never wanted to hear the day she died.