Letter to the Editor

May 19, 2002

Mr. Cattano, you don't have a clue!
Go to Board Member Cattano's Columns
Dear Mr. Cattano;

"Rise to the Occasion!" Words that echoed at a Freeport high school PTA meeting during 1999/2000 school year, the Northover year. The teachers were telling the parents, the students, the board members and the administrators that many students were going to fail, especially math. The board and the administration left their response to the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Dr. Tony Ciaglia, who told the teachers, "Rise to the Occasion." My question has always been, when will the board and the administrators take their own advice?

Mr. Cattano, allow me to introduce myself. I am a parent of a graduating Freeport High School (FHS) student. This is an accomplishment beyond belief. Why? She will graduate within 4 years. She could have graduated a year earlier. She never had to attend summer school. She is in the top 100 of her graduating class. She will be attending a 4 year college. This is just the start of her long journey through life. A journey that will be difficult.

Mr. Cattano, I am: The current treasure of the Freeport Sports Booster Club. The current corresponding secretary of the FHS PTA. The past FHS PTA CO-president, during the Northover year. A former Freeport Girl Scout leader.

I am an "involved parent" with an involvement list that goes on and on, beginning when my daughter was in third grade

Mr. Cattano, I am sorry to say, unless you have lived in Freeport High School during the last three years, you know nothing.

The parents have not destroyed the children of this district. Politics and Revenge destroyed this district!

In order for a child to make it through this district, they must be a survivor. A few quotes from my daughter may enlighten you: "Mom, you must be friends with everyone, otherwise you have to waste your time watching you back. Mom, you have no idea what goes on every day at that school. Mom, they can suspend me, I will not sit in that cafeteria." "Mom, do something. You are the PTA CO-president. Get Mr. Campbell back before we all die." "Mom, get me out of here, I will go anywhere." "Mom, it is over they took Mr. Kight. I can go on." "Mom, I am going to study English and be a journalist. Mom, get me out of this journalism class. This school doesn't want a newspaper. Mom, we don't have a computer or a room to work in. We don't have anyone that wants to print the paper for us. The district canceled the contract."

During 2001/2002 my daughter got two paid full page ads for Flashings, the student paper. To date, the checks have not been cashed. My daughter quit her Journalism class, with my permission. She was not the only one.

This district has lost much: Many good teachers, especially the 4-7 year teachers that we need to replace the veteran teachers. Many good students, who moved or went to private school and many good administrators.

I am an involved parent whose child struggled to make it through the last three years at the High School. I am offended. How dare anyone place blame on the parents of this district? This district knows what it has to work with and the teachers and many administrators get little to no support from the top. The top only wants the people who keep their mouths shut and agree with them to be involved. They teach our children that there is not such thing as "democracy," at least not in Freeport.

This district should be ashamed of itself. This district has an excellent bunch of teachers, administrators, parents, students and community residents, who are not supported and who fail due to their complete lack of support.

There are Board of Education members and top district officials who have destroyed this district. They should take a good look in the mirror. Maybe then they will stop wasting time passing blame and instead, use their energy to help secure the future of our children.

Mr. Cattano, I suggest a few questions for you to answer before you go to sleep at night. How much more suffering will the children of Freeport have to endure? How many wounds will heal without festering? How many scares will the children of this district have? What does the future hold for my child and the children of this district?

With all due respect, Mr. Cattano, you don't have a clue!

Stephanie Cieslik
Freeport NY


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