Monday, Nov. 19, 2007 | Dear Mr. Donohue, Mr. Lewis, and Ms. Alpert,

I am a parent of two children attending the Harborside Program at Washington Elementary School, and also a member of the advisory committee for the Harborside Program. First, I want to thank you for your article regarding our situation there. I think it will bring to light the challenges we have faced to date, and perhaps even aid to enlighten those who can support our goals and successfully merge the program into the school. Foremost, there has been from the beginning some misperceptions, a lack of communication, and a lack of understanding of what the Harborside Program is.

The “other” side of the story is that we are a group of parents and teachers who have struggled through the last six months to keep this program alive. Our teachers have committed to this program, to the point where several turned down other opportunities even though there were no guarantees that we would even exist as a program, let alone have classes that would justify their positions. We have literally spent hundreds of hours of our time and devoted our own resources to get to this point today. It is understandable that existing parents and teachers at Washington would be overly cautious or underwhelmed by a large group of newcomers. However, the treatment that our teachers and parents have received at Washington Elementary is unfair, and in itself is discriminatory, and based largely on misinformation, lack of understanding, and egged on by rumor. Now apparently, the school board is also quick to judge us as being racists.

We are seeking an opportunity to have our voice heard by the school board, and we welcome any opportunity that your organization may present to further promote the goals of our program.

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