Letters to the Editor January 12, 2012

Letters To The Editor - Millerton News

Student can’t record lecture?

A copy of this letter was also sent to Pine Plains Superintendent Linda Kaumeyer, who did respond to its author.

I am writing in response to an article that appeared in your Dec. 15 issue concerning a request made by Colleen Lutz, on behalf of her child, to the Pine Plains school board. She asked that her child be allowed to record his classroom lectures.

The superintendent was absolutely correct in refusing to discuss the Lutz family’s individual situation, but woefully inappropriate to use that as an excuse for not discussing the so-called “model” for the middle/high school. The superintendent certainly could — and should — have been more informative without reference to the Lutz family’s request. It is, after all, a public school funded by we, the taxpayers. It exists, with our funding, to educate our children.

Policy concerning the running of our schools should be open and freely discussed by the superintendent, the Board of Education, administrators, those in and those financially supporting our schools. The superintendent is here, as well as the Board of Education, the teachers and support staff, all in the name of educating our children. If we, the taxpayers, want an answer concerning policy, the superintendent has an obligation to supply it.

Our children have the right to a free, appropriate public education by law, and children with disabilities (physical or learning) must be accommodated by law.

Explaining that the implementation of the No Taping Policy was to protect teachers is troubling. Any policy or model that protects the rights of one group while in so doing denies the rights of an equally deserving group is unjust. It appears to disregard students with special needs. I know the superintendent said it was not a “blanketed” ban, but that seems to contradict the Committee on Special Education’s response that taping is not in the model. They know the model they are working with; please let us know. Who designed and what is the model?

Perhaps the policy could be reworded to protect both teachers and students needing accommodation. It might read: Accommodative taping may not be used for the purpose of critiquing or criticizing an individual teacher’s methods of instruction.

I am asking the superintendent to respond with a full explanation of the district’s model as it pertains to students needing special accommodation, i.e., taping.

The CSE is there to help parent(s)/guardian(s) develop an IEP (Individual Education Plan) that will hopefully allow a student to reach his/her full potential. They may advise and suggest based on their information and observation, but not set themselves up as experts. As much as there can be a so-called expert of any given child, that description would fall to the well-informed, proactive parent(s)/guardian(s).

Neither the Board of Education, the superintendent nor the CSE is an expert, yet they seem to have the final say in what accommodations a student receives based on the model. Saying taping does not fit their model seems to slam down the gavel on any further discussion.

Joan Smith



Won’t stop working

Being president of the Wassaic Fire Company for the past seven years has been a wonderful experience. Working with the community, gaining useful knowledge and accomplishing many endeavors has me aware of all the good people there are and I want to thank you for the support. And I will continue to keep working for the community.

Nancy Luther



Food boxes welcome at Christmas

On Dec. 17, over 90 families received Christmas food boxes at the South Amenia Parish Hall. Each box contained a week’s supply of food, matched to the size of the receiving family.

Although members of the South Amenia Presbyterian Church organize the distribution annually, it is made possible only by the generosity of many people from several communities, who donate their money and time. We thank all these kind folk, some of whom have given for many years. Included are the Amenia Lions Club, Adopt-a-Family, the Lola Sherman Foundation, the VFW Auxiliary of Dover Plains, Hufcut Funeral Home, Taylor Oil Inc. and many individual contributors.

We also appreciate and thank:

•All those who drove trucks to get the food, sorted it, filled boxes and made deliveries to families who were unable to pick up their boxes. The Boy Scouts and their leaders not only packed boxes, but also did a lot of carrying to cars.

•The students and teachers at Webutuck who gave hats and mittens (and food at Thanksgiving).

•The members of the Friendship Center at South Amenia who donated hats, mittens and blankets.

•The people who made the many phone calls to contact the recipients.

Beyond this, it was possible to aid so many families only because of the support of Sunday in the Country Food Drive and its many contributors, and the management and staff of Freshtown of Amenia. Thank you all!

Althea Meade

Clerk of session for the South Amenia Presbyterian Church