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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Unqualified to provide leadership

To The Editor:

Open letter to the Harwood Union School Board:

While I am extremely disappointed with the board's approval of 24/7 video surveillance, the rationales offered by board members in support of that action, as reported in The Valley Reporter (November 27, 2013), occasion this letter.

The hopelessness evinced by some members (voting "with a heavy heart," acceding that the cameras are an invasion of privacy but are "no worse than" other such invasions, and cynically accepting that students may expect to live "under surveillance" for the rest of their lives) indicates to me that these members are unqualified to provide the leadership our schools require.

Board member Chris Koliba suggests this action was required because students hadn't acted to solve prior issues of vandalism and lockdowns. So the surveillance policy is a punishment invoked for students not having played a role board members chose to assign them, without consultation? Did board members just sit waiting for students to bring ideas to them, or did they reach out to partner with students in creating a safer and respectful school community?

As to the perennial problem of "communication," I'd note that weeks ago I emailed two board members regarding this policy. Neither has yet acknowledged my letter.

My thanks go to teachers Steve Rand and Gretchen Stahl for their articulate opposition to this policy. And thanks, too, to those students who spoke. They represent not only many other current but also future students: their participation reflects the intelligence and respect fostered by our many excellent Harwood teachers. Would that all board members shared the values of these faculty and students.

Alice Evans



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