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Letter to the editor

Updated: December 27, 2012 9:41PM

Students are priority

As a teacher at East Aurora High School, I understand that many of my coworkers are afraid to speak out on some of the current behaviors, and the political climate, within our district.

I too feel that fear, but my fear of allowing those who hold so much of my fate and reputation in their hands, as well as that of my students and athletes, far outweighs the fear of speaking my mind on issues that so closely concern me, as I have dedicated myself to my career within District 131.

Recently, many of the teachers and coaches at East High School have felt belittled, berated, and abandoned. We have so often been told that we are not doing enough, whether it be with our students or athletes. We have been told that our test scores are too low, our failure rates are too high, and that our athletes do not have the “winning records” that they should.

Anyone who dares to suggest that District 131 teachers are content to fail their students as educators, or to see their students fail in any area of their lives, clearly does not understand the motivation of a teacher.

I will speak on behalf of the teachers at this high school and in this district who spend tireless hours with the students of District 131 trying not only to help them to achieve academically and athletically, but also to become competent, confident, compassionate community members. I ask that people stop spending so much of their time arguing publicly in school board meetings, crunching the numbers, analyzing “winning records”, and above all, placing blame; I ask that everyone be reminded of what the teachers have never forgotten, even while so many others appear to have: The students are our priority, and we must not let them down.

As adults, we must stop pointing fingers, either at the blamers or those who might be blamed.

I am making a plea to our community, which includes our students, our students’ parents and guardians, our teachers, our support staff, our board members, our administrators, and any other citizen who is truly invested in the success of our students: Please stop theorizing about who is to blame, and take a deep look into what you have been doing to help the students, instead of critiquing and criticizing those who work tirelessly each and every day to help our students succeed.

Sarah Gillespie


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