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Travel ban raises serious concerns about JSD

Posted: October 1, 2013 - 12:00am

Today I attended my daughter’s very first middle school conference at Floyd Dryden Middle School. During the 20 minute conversation with her teachers, the recent ban on middle school athletic travel was discussed. I had been following the issue from a distant “interested but I don’t have anything new to add to the conversation” standpoint. While its likely what I have to say has been said before, the simple fact that the ban was approved indicates to me that it all needs to be said again.

Simply stated, middle school athletic travel costs the district nothing. There is no money savings by banning it. The money to fund these types of trips comes from the fundraising efforts of the students participating. In addition, participants are required to maintain a certain grade point average; they learn and refine public speaking and sales skills and they receive the valuable opportunity to meet and forge bonds with athletes from other communities ... a win-win situation.

It is my understanding that DZ middle school does not allow out-of-town travel by the athletic teams. There are concerns that no travel at one school isn’t fair to those students and may result in an abundance of boundary exemption requests for the other school. Get over it. Fair is not about everyone getting exactly the same thing ... fair is about everybody getting what they need to be successful. For many kids that is playing sports and having the opportunity to travel. I am disappointed that the Superintendent is so keen on telling an entire population of students “no”, when, quite frankly so much has been taken away from our schools and students already. If Mr. Gelbrich is so intent on saying no, let him say it to those requesting boundary exemptions.

I try very hard not to judge. I have never been a school administrator or a school board member. I know there are tough decisions to be made. I am simply incredulous at the ridiculousness of this entire debate. It should be a non-issue. If this is the type of logic being used to make decisions on a school district level, then I have to say my concerns go WAY beyond the issue of out-of-town middle school travel and wonder about other district decisions and the logic that goes behind making them.

Teresa Bleakley

Juneau

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