We are writing in response to an email sent to families by the HUUSD Board on January 24, 2020, that said, in part:

“As students who have spoken to the Board about this matter have reminded us in recent months, they are sometimes more flexible and resilient than adults, and we are wise to acknowledge and support their ability to successfully manage change.”

We are almost 100 percent positive that we were the only students who spoke at any board meeting about the merger of Harwood Middle and Crossett Brook. We know for sure that no seventh-grade students have spoken in favor of the merger, so why is this in the letter sent out to parents? To quote from our original statement to the board:

“We are respectfully pleading to avoid the closure of our school and moving us to Crossett Brook. We do not want to go to Crossett. We are against the move and are very upset about the idea of moving to Crossett. We would like this told to the general public.”

We also want to point out that many middle school teachers have spoken out against the merger, as published by the Waterbury Record on January 23, 2020:

“Kelsey Burnell, a Moretown resident and a middle school teacher at Crossett Brook, … read a letter that she and 27 fellow teachers signed in opposition to moving the Harwood students to Crossett Brook.” In addition, “Angela Selvaggio, a Fayston resident, and Harwood Middle School teacher, read a nearly identical letter, signed by 15 teachers at the school. Both letters asked board members to delay the move until they first create an itemized budget of how much it will cost, and where the funding will come from.” So 42 teachers, the majority of whom teach at Crossett, have voiced their strong opposition to the merger yet the board didn’t listen. They also didn’t listen to the 56 HUMS students who signed a petition opposing the move and the closure of our school. We’re teenagers – old enough to have an opinion on what happens to our schools. Not to mention that we’re the most affected by this move.

Crossett Brook just doesn’t have the space. The move will result in larger class sizes: 22 to 25 kids in a classroom that was most likely meant for 17 to 18 will be cramped. Bigger classes mean less individual attention, more students easily distracted, resulting in less of an individual experience, slowing down learning in the classroom. If we move to Crossett we will have to learn in portable classrooms (aka “high-class shipping containers”). We shouldn’t have to go through any of this, especially when there is a perfectly good middle school right down the road. You won’t have to worry, but we will. And are.

Schaller and Peterson live in Moretown, Vermont.