I am the mother of two students one at Cassina High and one at Sonora High. When I first started on this mission for justice I was driven by the fact that the Alternative Education schools were cut from the list of people going to the Sonora High Prom unless invited by a Sonora High student.
If this decision had been made at the beginning of the school year instead of just weeks before the prom you wouldn’t even know who I am right now. When I discovered this decision had been made without the involvement of the parents I was astonished.
I began my investigation into this when I read an article in the Union Democrat. As I dug deeper I found that the removal of these students from the prom was not nearly as horrendous an act as the words the spilled out of Principal Dearden’s mouth when I spoke to him on the phone.
Principal Dearden made comments to me about how the children of Alternative education took the easy way out, also that academically the students were opting for a lesser education instead of staying in Sonora High. This was just two of the comments that were made to me by a man who has been placed in a position to guide children through the school system so they can become educated and mature adults. These kind of ignorant remarks made me realize there is a much greater problem than that of a school dance. When I asked Principle Dearden why the parents of these students weren’t notified he told me they weren’t his problem.
When I asked why the parents of Sonora High students weren’t notified of this decision he lied and said they were. That was when I informed him that I had a student in both schools and I am sure I am not the only parent without any knowledge of this decision. He then proceeded to inform me that it was his decision and his decision alone to not allow the Alternative Education students to attend prom without a guest pass.
I can see now that the true problem lies in the fact that the Alternative Education programs are being looked at like dumpsters for children who don’t meet the standards that Principal Dearden thinks they should. Just to clarify my son’s position on this he is not an uneducated, un-parented, hoodlum that walks the streets of Tuolumne. In fact my son started out with classes in Sonora High that were Pre College classes that became overwhelming.
These Alternative Schools provide the one on one attention that these kids need. Alternative Education is not a wayward home for the unsavory or uneducated, it is a place for children to continue to learn and receive a diploma so they aren’t one of the many statistics out there opening new crack houses or popping kids out like a pezz machine, living on welfare.
Until the people with closed minds that are making these decisions for these children take a step back and realize Alternative Education is not a copout for a real education I feel there is no hope for our future generations to grow. Just to make things more clear, this school system gets ADA funds for all these children, Sonora High and Alternative education alike, so please don’t shoot yourself in the foot by condemning your future congress person, military person, county employee, or your future EMT, Paramedic, they may be the one saving your life.
In closing I would suggest that you take a closer look at your employees and their narrow mindedness. For future reference, when the Principal at Sonora high makes a decision that is going to affect so many people both emotionally and financially I as one parent want to be informed and have my say on the matter heard and respected.
My wish is to see a formal apology from the Sonora high Principal to the parents and students of these Alternative Education Schools and just as quickly and as easily as it was to excommunicate these children from his dance I would like to see him help prepare them a dance of their own in the short amount of time they have left in school.
This was the speech I read to the School Board on Tuesday night. It is no longer just about a Prom it is now about the disrespect that these children are receiving from the Principal at Sonora High and from what I have read here, a few of the community is also tainted with this kind of ignorance.