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Community Spirit Will Help With School Closures

With Kirdahy and Westbrook elementary schools closing this June, West Islip as a whole needs to rally to help our kids get through this challenging time.

And so the decision has been made.

After months of public discussion and a plethora of input from education experts and West Islip residents, the Board of Education has chosen to close and .

In the 50-plus year history of the West Islip School District, this was one of those few-and-far-between sad days. It was a decision that clearly every board member wrestled with and was one that I’m sure none wanted to make.

But difficult decisions are like that. And this board had the courage to not only broach the subject of school closings, but also ultimately make a decision that will impact many students, parents, faculty, staff and taxpayers. 

Since the results of the , which consisted of more than 30 members of the community, were released this past fall, there has been much discussion over what direction the Board of Education would choose as it related to school closures.

Sadly, we heard and read a plethora of personal attacks against BOE trustees who were focused on trying to do the right thing for West Islip as a whole. But there were no hidden agendas nor were there any ulterior motives. It was merely about doing what was best for the community as a whole.

But while there is little that can be done to change what was said in the past, there is much we can do to change the tenor of the conversation going forward.

While the community needs to take a moment to catch its collective breath and digest the decision, we also need to regroup and come together for the betterment of our kids.

At a time when a Board of Education here or in another community is contemplating closing schools, there becomes an “us vs. them” mentality that pits school vs. school within a community. There are many reasons why this happens, but ultimately this should be about helping our neighbors and our kids get through this difficult time.

Hilary Clinton was once ridiculed for her comment that it takes a village to raise a child. But really, she couldn’t be more correct.

West Islip kids from north and south, east and west compete together in sports, play together in band and orchestra and sing and dance together in Vocal Motion.

We need to keep this spirit of togetherness our kids show us daily in the forefront when youngsters from Kirdahy, Westbrook and others that are impacted by redistricting attend their new elementary school for the first time in September.

I can say with a great deal of confidence that the principals, teachers and most importantly the children at the four remaining elementary schools will welcome the “new” students to their school with open arms.

After all, isn’t that what being a community is really all about?

Greg Sleter is a Regional Editor for Patch.com and a West Islip resident. The opinions in this column are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch.com.

Say It Sue January 15, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Hey pal, you have a little brown stuff there on your lips..... "there were no hidden agendas nor were there any ulterior motives" Are you kidding? GIVEN EVERY DECISION MADE BY THESE 7 FROM THE START OF THIS CHARADE MOST UNDENIABLY POINTS TO ULTERIOR MOTIVES AND SELF SERVING MOTIVES !!! The study group which you referred to came up with a totally DIFFERENT recommendation, remember? --THAT was overruled by the brain surgeons. Mr. Simon came up with a totally DIFFERENT recommendation, remember?--- ALSO overruled by the brain surgeons. Ahhh, but alas those boe brain surgeons know better than we mere mortals! Oh, wait......aren't these the same brain surgeons whose superior knowlege and superior decision making skills got us into this 6 million dollar mess to begin with? Wake up.
Lovemykids January 15, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Totally agree with say it sue
Lovemykids January 15, 2012 at 07:03 PM
It's absolutely appalling
AL January 16, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Also stop applauding the study group. Those options were dictated by the administration. In addition there maybe 6 members who had no tie to the administration! It was political propaganda for the study group. They didn't illustrate that Bosse (who has 3 assistants) mentioned that it may run close to 150k per year to run those vacate schools. Moreover, really Wnedy Duffy? Does she haver CPA? If she does great, but she doesn't seem to be to economically literate.
wiseol'owl January 16, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Glen in a sense you are a part of the "village" that is raising the children. In your latest blog you said that you and your family will help to ease the transition of the new students entering the Oquenock school. I'm sure that you must realize that this is what is implied. It is a reference to the whole community coming together to look out for the welfare and well being of all of the children in the community. I do not think the essence of the statement refers to setting boundaries,expectations and the personal care that only a parent can give. It is about carpools, catachists , pta moms, brownie and boyscott leaders and just people who care and look out for all of the children. So welcome to the "village" the children of WI do particularly at times like this need all of us to work together. I'm sure your families efforts and kindness will go a long way in helping with the transition.
Anna January 16, 2012 at 05:58 AM
I believe some people are still awaiting a response from you on that other thread...
Wendy Regan January 16, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Glenn although you make some valid points, I feel that mothers can more relate to "It takes a village to raise a child". Please take no personal offense because none is implied.
Anna January 16, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Gee, what happened to Say It Sue's comment?
Irene January 17, 2012 at 12:10 AM
For a woman of privilage to write a book about a village raising children, she has to be at the height of arrogant. She had one child. Her child was raised in privilage too. She is no more qualified to write a book about child rearing than her husband is on sexual harrassment in the work place. I raised my large family. I would never give my children over to the system. BTW, the system is responsible for doing damage untold to young people whose parents were unaware of the dangers that lurk from within. If I have wanted to use certain services for sports or religious instruction or after school activities I paid a price to make sure my children got those things. Never once did I experience the village aspect interfering in my parenting. If I did, those people would have heard a thing or two from me and my kid would have been taken from that experience. It's not OK to allow our children to be handed over to the system with abandon. I know it's done, but usually a sad story comes out years later pertaining to abuse. So it's not OK for parents to listen to Hillary who had one kid, raised in privilage, not in a village. I don't know, is it me, or is this another attempt to change the narrative? The decision was just thursday was it not? Westbrook was not the school thought to be closing. I hope the village will show more consideration and respect for the process of human nature as people experience their loss.
Irene January 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Patch cleansing Anna, that is what happened.

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