Keep Aiden Home
Hello everyone. We are writing on behalf of our son Aiden, who has an intellectual disability and is presently on the verge of transitioning from elementary school to middle school. Following is a synopsis of our family’s current dilemma.
To date, commencing upon the middle school level, Westhampton Beach School District (WHBSD) outsources all of its “alternate assessment” students. For those of you unfamiliar with the term - “alternate assessment”, this label refers to the educational path of those students who, due to various forms of disability, are unable to pass conventional curriculum requirements. Notably, the standard rationale proffered by the administration, attempting to justify the exodus of “alternate assessment” students has been that our community simply lacks the “numbers” necessary to warrant the requisite dedication of resources. Equally notable, this justification has stood as a prehistoric edifice preventing not even a single “alternate assessment” graduate of WHBSD - ever. This is a culture and history that my family is seeking to change, and it is a pioneering goal predicated upon the belief that in doing so, not only will Aiden’s best interests be served, but also the greater values and spirit of our community at large.
Over the next few weeks and months, Aiden’s formal educational plan will be presented to the WHBSD. Notably, my family believes that if given the opportunity, the dedicated and talented staff of WHBSD is certainly capable of properly educating Aiden. Tangentially, we are excited about the prospect of Aiden being afforded the opportunity to continually develop all of the community relationships that we know are invaluable. Pointedly, Aiden’s potential attendance within WHBSD represents not only a wise choice for him, but also for our community at large. Indeed, it is only through the interaction with the less fortunate can the cherished values of community, compassion, duty, kindness and integrity become uniquely manifest in all of our children.
In light of the foregoing, our family has started the “KEEP AIDEN HOME CAMPAIGN”. In as much as the School Board is a representative body, charged with enforcing the wishes of the community, it is my hope that they will discern the wisdom of pursuing a path conventionally shunned. Notably, other districts embrace the challenges of providing for their “own”, and it is time for our district to adopt such a similar and noble posture. For those of you who agree with this assessment, we would ask that you simply execute the attached petition and additionally draft a separate letter to the co-attention of WHBSB President – Susan Mensch and WHBSD Superintendent, Michael Radday, expressing your support. Thank you for your time and consideration.