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Vail Daily letter: Disappointing turnout

Lisa Ponder
Vail, CO, Colorado

Last Tuesday night I sat in the auditorium of the new Battle Mountain High School and wondered if it will take a tragedy and a headline like “13-year-old Eagle County suicide linked to bullying” to get the attention of the teachers and administrators in Eagle County.

On Jan. 11, the Eagle County School District in conjunction with The Youth Foundation brought in a nationally renowned author and speaker on the subject of bullying to speak to school district parents, teachers and administrators.

Barbara Coloroso is a nationally recognized expert on this timely and important topic, speaking in right here in Edwards. She has appeared Opera, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and NPR and has been featured The New York Times, Time, U.S. News and World Report and Newsweek.



The event was well publicized in the school district. Every school had a large color poster up about the event and every student in the district had a district approved flyer sent home with them. Every parent in the district who gets e-mail announcements received the flier electronically.

The principal of Eagle County Charter Academy, who sponsored the event, sent a personal invitation to all other district principals.



Tuesday night there were no school board members in attendance. There was no one from the district office in attendance. The only school principal in attendance was Jay Cerny from the Charter Academy. There were about 25 teachers and 50 parents filling 75 seats in an auditorium that seats 500.

The questions from the parents during the two-hour presentation brought to light the facts that just like most communities, Eagle County School District has a bullying problem.

Examples of bullying by both students and teachers, reporting of bullying to school administrators, and the failure of teachers and administrators to effectively deal with bullying came from several schools across the district.



The parents that did show up were both Caucasian and Hispanic, from upvalley and downvalley, and from every socioeconomic group represented in our county.

I believe our school administrators and teachers care about our children. However, I am concerned that their priorities may very well be out of balance and out of touch.

If Tuesday night’s topic had been an expert speaking on raising CSAP scores by 10 percent or teacher tenure vs. pay for performance, there would not have been 400 empty seats. School board members, representatives from the district, principals and teachers would have found a way to attend.

These are important topics, but are they that more important than keeping our children safe and raising good people not just good students?

Lisa Ponder

Eagle


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