To the Editor:
In the past week, I have witnessed some questionable behavior by several Shelton officials. The first, highly publicized, is by Dr. Beth Smith, Shelton High School headmaster, and Freeman Burr, school superintendent.
As most of us are aware, eight days prior to prom, Dr. Smith decided to instill a dress code policy for prom dresses. This was followed by a press conference by Supt. Burr, where he indicated that the dress code is clearly spelled out in both the student handbook and prom contract.
Both of those documents vaguely state that appropriate dress must be worn or students will be turned away at the door without a refund. The term “appropriate” means something different to each and every one of us.
The students that I have seen protesting and being interviewed by media are acting mature, responsible, and are well spoken. I think we can all agree that we accept a dress code for prom, but it needs to be clearly spelled out with enough advance notice so that girls can make sure they are following the guidelines.
The second incident was at the Board of Aldermen (BOA) meeting on May 12. Quite a few individuals spoke to the BOA about their position on the Board of Education (BOE) budget for 2015-16. The majority of the speakers were in favor of fully funding the BOE budget.
There was one gentleman who was opposed to the BOE budget. He spoke for at least 20 minutes. While he had some data to support his argument, he would occasionally go off on a tangent.
At one point, we learned that Chipotle is his favorite restaurant, and that McDonald’s regrets selling them off 10 years ago. We all listened and paid him the respect he was due.
The meeting ended with a SHS student addressing the board. He passionately told us of his struggles with his learning disabilities, and his ability to get himself out of the special education program. He accomplished this with the help of his special ed teachers, and repeatedly told us that he would not be where he is today without their help.
BOA President John Anglace then interrupted this young man and asked him “to focus and address his comments on the budget.” He proceeded to tell this young man that he could come back on Thursday and tell his entire life story.
The student handled himself very maturely and responsibly, ending with his support of the school budget.
My issue is that in both circumstances, our children acted with respect and dignity. They challenged the officials and questioned them, but did so in a mature way.
I am proud to that these young adults are learning to question authority when something is clearly unjust. I am proud that they are acting responsibly and taking risks.
I am proud that they don’t accept “no” when it is not the right answer. They are demanding more, they are doing so in the right way.