Group Demands Answers on Hampton Academy Changes
By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Tuesday, April 21, 2009
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- Parents outraged over the elimination of two unified arts programs and seven teaching positions at Hampton Academy are taking their message to the street.
Roughly 50 parents calling themselves the "Hampton School Board Watchdog Group," are planning to hold a rally Thursday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Marston School to protest the changes that were implemented two weeks ago by the School Board as part of the proposed restructuring at the school. Parents called for the rally prior to the 7 p.m. Hampton School Board special meeting also at the school.
"We are not trying to be difficult," said parent Robin Day. "We just want answers and we want to know why. The board has been arrogant and is ignoring our pleas for answers."
The goal of the rally is to send a strong message to the School Board that the group is opposed to the changes that were made, she said. Group members also want the board to call a special meeting on May 12 at Winnacunnet High School to answer their questions on why the changes were implemented and how it will impact their kids.
Over 50 parents met Sunday night, April 19 at the Tuck Recreation Building to discuss the rally and other ways to convince the board to reconsider its actions.
"We want our middle school back," said parent Linda Morrison. "We want our teachers back. What is occurring is wrong on so many levels, I don't even know where to begin."
Those in attendance Sunday, voiced their displeasure about being left in the dark about changes at the school that will impact their children.
"I still can't make sense on why these decisions were made," said parent Shelia Boucher. "What makes me mad is the people who are making the changes didn't even ask the people who are doing the job (the teachers)."
Shelia Nudd, a former music teacher at Hampton Academy, said she is disturbed the board is eliminating consumer science and technical eduction.
"For some kids those classes are the only place they feel like they belong," Nudd said. "It's why they look forward to going to school. If we lose them at this age, we will never get them back."
Day said the group of parents was formed because the School Board has refused to return their phone calls or answer their requests for a special meeting. They currently have an online petition signed by 300 residents asking board members to reconsider their actions.
The petition can be found at www.ipetitions.com/petition/HamptonNHschools.