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Open Letter to the Bladen County Board of Education

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Concerned about the Boards decision to abandon in person learning for higher levels


I’d like to start by thanking the Board Members, Dr. Taylor, all faculty, staff and teachers that serve Bladen County so well!

Secondly, I’d like to state that I was encouraged to see the Board request community input by way of a survey referencing the best way forward for our children’s safety and learning as we near the start of 2020/2021 school year. You are to be commended for your hard work and navigation through this unsettling season of Covid-19.

Lastly, I want to voice my concern and that of others whom I have spoken with since the board’s decision to abandon in person learning for the higher grade levels. It appears that the survey responses were not considered or at a minimum did not carry much weight in the board’s decision. It appears that most surveyed (45.5%) would like to see in-person learning start as normal this year. I understand the recommendations sent by the Governor and I think it’s most unfortunate that less than 24 hours later and before the survey response time had even expired the Bladen County Board of Education had already decided that there would be no in person learning.

Simply stated, it is time for our children to get back in the classroom. The negative effects of this politicized shut down will continue to be felt for years to come. I’m not prepared to sacrifice our children’s education, and I feel as if moving forward in this manner is doing just that. The idea that virtual instruction is sufficient is ludicrous. Furthermore, the thought that our leaders are satisfied with virtual instruction is at best, alarming. This path of education coupled with no child left behind is destined to water down our children’s level of education further and further…

At a minimum, there should be an in person public discussion. This could be held at the middle school gym or on a football field somewhere to allow for social distancing as needed or desired. Limiting parents and community members to voice concerns with a submitted email to last no longer than three minutes when read aloud by a staff member is not fair to our students or their parents; especially when the board allows consultants to present information with no time limit and allows them to use powerpoint presentations.

This is not a time for complacency or for settling. It’s time to lead; let’s make a statement that our children’s education is on the top of our priority list… let’s have a meeting, in person. It’s time to stop hiding behind screens and to stop being fearful! There is a way to get our kids back to school… Will you commit to finding the answer to best educate our students, or will you wait for more political action? Please put our children first and let the parents be involved…

Sincerely submitted with a hopeful heart,

Daine Smith

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