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Parent questions hostile treatment

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

To the editors:

I am the parent of a fifth-grader who has attended schools in West Philadelphia since kindergarten. Whenever I have needed to contact the school regarding my child, I have been greeted with contempt by school staff. It was assumed that I was calling to cause a problem.

The interest I displayed in my child’s education was received as an intrusion and a nuisance. This attitude persists – from the principal to the receptionist – even now that she is in middle school. I understand that there are parents who come to schools to cause problems, but I have never been one of them. I do, however, care a great deal about my child’s education.

It seems to me that parents have less of a voice now than ever before in what happens to our children in school. Moreover, it would appear that the current communication structure is designed to keep us silent. Parents are made to feel that nothing we have to say matters to the people running the schools that our tax dollars support.

I wish I knew to whom I could register my grievance regarding this lack of accountability. My fear is that no one would hear me.

Marifa Winfree
West Philadelphia