|Dr. Donna Hanlin|
We believed when Dr. Donna Hanlin took the reins from Dr. John Frederickson as Superintendent of the Wicomico Board of Education, everything would miraculously be transformed... Were we ever wrong. Things just got worse -- much worse.
In the fashion of big government, bureaucracy and all things we hate about politics and its effect on our worlds - another astounding development surfaced on the last day of school when parents received a letter stating if their children lived less than a mile from a school, they would be forced to walk because the WBOE will no longer provide bus service in that radius.
This new measure encompasses even pre-kindergarten children. Yes, babies ages less than 5 years old are also expected to walk to school up to a mile away; regardless of said school's location.
As per one source, this means some students in the Quantico area will have to walk 25 minutes to get to a school, only to be bussed to their end destination. Does this make going to school more an adventure of endurance in a maze of confusion?
While many of you will no doubt herald this as the way for kids to get much-needed exercise, is it prudent in our current melee? Violent crime is on the rise in Salisbury and all, it should concern all parents whose children will be forced to walk through neighborhoods most adults wouldn't drive through in order to get to school five days a week. Is this really what folks expected when the WBOE touted budget cuts?
Is this really looking out for the kids?
Back in the day when most walked to school except for those in far-reaching rural areas, Salisbury and surrounding areas were much safer than today. In most cases, neighbors knew one another and watched out for each others' kids. With an 80% rental population in Salisbury, those days of community are long past.
Additionally, remember sex offenders are banned from living less than a half mile from any school; meaning child molesters live within the same vicinity as your child's walking path to school everyday.
For example, within less than a mile's distance to Hebron schools, there are currently five child molesters listed as living in that area - one convicted of penetration of a child. As many of you know, some sex offenders fail to register when they move; hence, their whereabouts are unknown to both law enforcement and the communities for which they live...Is this safe for your child(ren) to walk pass this person's home?
Furthermore, besides the obvious physical danger, for those students who are prone to skipping school, this provides them with a perfect opportunity to continue a pattern of truancy due to the lack of any adult supervision. Now the WBOE expects youngsters to basically decide for themselves whether or not they will show up for school? Simply Brilliant!
A curious fact about this new 'rule' is that it was forwarded by your General Assembly Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes's husband, Desmond Hughes, Transportation Services Director for the WBOE. As your delegate, isn't it her ultimate responsibility to promote legislation to keep you and your children safe, not create potential sex crime victims and/or continued truancy?
Isn't it quite the black eye to residents after revelations exposed by Salisbury News where we learned of the $100K ruse a couple years back? Teachers and administrators were using gift cards meant for the kids, enjoyed lavish dinners and trips -- rarely using those cards for their intended purpose. However, now, the WBOE can't afford to make sure your 5-year-olds have a safe journey to and from school. In what universe does this make ethical or practical sense?
Important Side Note to contemplate...
Doesn't this encourage good residents to move outside the one-mile radius of schools? By sheer supply/demand economics, this will lower rents and home prices in that area; making these areas more attractive (and affordable) housing for sex offenders who have difficulty finding jobs due to their criminal records?
It's really up to you to be the judge but this doesn't look like a prudent decision on Hanlin or the Wicomico School Board members' part. While they look for ways to save money, is your child's safety really such a low priority that this was put forth without a second thought?
This whole escapade smacks of nothing less than what we expected from Frederickson and his comedy of errors and illegality; therefore, is Hanlin really any different or is she just the former superintendent in a dress?