To the editor:
As of the writing of this letter, the heating situation at Lincoln West is still not resolved. The district claims it is waiting for parts. It has been one month since the board approved the funds to make the repairs. Because of this children are still being subjected to temperatures from 50 to 88 as they move from room to room. This heat situation at LW presents a clear and present danger to the health and education of the children.
For a mere $24,000, this child abuse could have been avoided. The district knew of this abuse and chose not to it attempted to lessen the abuse by turning the heat on and off which really made the matter worse and by moving classes to the halls, which threatened the stability and security of children’s education.
It should be noted that because of the extent of the problem many rooms could not move, most notably the special education and medically fragile because of their equipment needs had no option. The administration knew of this in May of 2013 and felt this level of child abuse was acceptable since it would cost $24,000 to repair.
The principal, who had $126,000 in investment school money and to date has a balance of $60,000, could have used $24,000 to end the child abuse and chose to protect the money instead. I made the board aware of the abuse on 12-17-2013. The district finally started repairs on only 1 of 3 units, the unit servicing the special education rooms. One could only assume that this unit was chosen because failure to do so would generate the most indefensible lawsuits. Finally at the board meeting of 2-25-2014 the CEO and board guaranteed that the remaining 2 units would be repaired and the child abuse would stop.
This situation typifies the major problem with education in this city as well as the nation. Why didn’t the district resolve this problem? Why did the parents allow this abuse of their children? Why did the teachers allow this abuse? Why didn’t the principal use the investment school money to stop the abuse? Why did it take the board over 2 months to intercede? Where were the community groups, child advocates, who are at LW on regular basis? All of those, who claim to protect the children, tolerated this abuse of the children. If anyone of these child protectors had stood and refused to allow this abuse to continue the children and their education would still not be suffering.
There are many more cases of abuse, which have occurred and continue to occur, not only at LW, but throughout the district. If you truly want to improve the education of the children then you must never tolerate the systemic abuse of the children. You must stand, be visible, be vocal, and never quit. Just consider what the action of one person standing alone refusing to tolerate child abuse has accomplished.
Which brings me to the best kept secret of child abuse in the city and one of the biggest betrayals of the voters. In 1995, in order to garner voter support for parking, admissions, and motor vehicle leasing taxes to improve, renovate, and maintain the football stadium, the city promised to use a portion of those taxes for the children of Cleveland. At that time, the amount was established to be $2 million per year. In 2009 the mayor and the district conspired to reduce the promised funds to $1 million with full approval of city council.
You should note that the $1 million loss to the children represents an increase for the football stadium. According to the Ordinance (1025-A-95), a joint board of the mayor, the CEO and the council president must meet to draft a new agreement to generate a new ordinance for council approval. The district must generate a report showing the success of the program. Those reports have stated the great improvement in GPA’s and attendance of the students involved in the program.
Instead of restoring and increasing the funds to this promised successful program, all involved choose the needs of the football stadium over the needs of the children. That, my friends, is child abuse. I, as well as the managing editor of this paper, have waited months for a response from city council. Why? You should note that it is fast approaching the time for the joint board to meet to generate a new agreement. It will take a concerted effort by citizens in a short amount of time to restore and increase the funds diverted from the children for the improvement of the stadium. Demand a response from your council member as to their position. Question the media about why they have not covered this travesty. But most of all stand against this blatant form of child abuse.