Children need fair and equal education

Once again, as a concerned resident of the Upper Valley of Randolph County and a supporter of keeping the Valley Head Elementary School open, I am shocked and appalled at the lack of inclusiveness and the tenor of your editorial of Dec. 21.

Even Jesus said in Matthew 25:40: “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” So, our students in the Upper Valley at Valley Head Elementary are not important enough to be granted the same consideration as you tout for the Homestead students — a focus on what is most important — the students? Or have you, like a lot of folks, forgotten that we even exist?

Tom Rennix was right on with his comments: “This situation isn’t just about a …  building. It’s about each and every individual human life that is connected to this school and how those lives will be forever changed.”

The editor then goes on to state, and I paraphrase, “many small communities grew only because of their schools. They are the heartbeat and lifeblood of their communities and surrounding areas. Schools serve an all-important purpose in shaping young minds in an environment that isn’t overflowing with students. This allows more one-on-one time with teachers and pupils and improves the overall educational experience for the young children who attend.”

Sending Valley Head students to George Ward (a D-graded school) with already capacity classrooms will not allow for any “one-on-one” time with pupils and teachers, a recipe for continued failure.

Yes, tough decisions need to be made to aid in the current financial crisis our Board of Education is facing. School closures are a part of that equation, but board members must keep in mind what is best for the students  … in both of the schools scheduled for closure.

The editor goes on to say, “After all, if West Virginia is to succeed and make up ground in state and national educational rankings, schools like Homestead,” and let me add Valley Head, “need to remain open.” Valley Head Elementary School is in good repair and does not need renovations.

Lastly the editor states, “Not to be cliche, but the future of Randolph County and the Mountain State depends on quality education and a focus on what is most important — the students.”

Then let me also not be cliche and challenge that they really aren’t placing their focus on what is most important — the students; otherwise they would be thinking of all of the students touched by this procedure.

As most of you know, my efforts have been on behalf of the children in the Valley Head community — a group I feel are disenfranchised and in some ways discriminated against.

The Upper Valley parents want the same treatment and opportunities for their children as most parents do. We must be very careful not to judge but seek to provide an education, which will result in a positive self-esteem for our students and preparation to become a productive citizen.

It behooves us to make sure that all of our students receive a fair, just and equitable education. Believe me, if you don’t help them now you will be paying for them down the road.

Sally Kirk Adkins is chair of Valley Head Elementary School LSIC.