Lots of us are feeling hungover.
We didn't win.
Mattison Avenue Elementary School will bid adieu to the community in June.
I would first like to thank the three board members who voted "no" during the vote to permanently close our school - Dick Stanton, Barbara Ullery and Burunda Prince-Jones. Thank you for listening. You understand that data does not tell the whole story. Forgive us as we mend our wounds and be assured we will not forget your support when you need ours.
The 'big show' last night contained many lessons for parents, the community and tax payers. Where to begin?
The board announced in June the possible closure of Mattison. They laid out the State-mandated plan for closure of a school. And stuck to it.
Over the course of this process, we have formed relationships with this board. Even if that relationship was in the form of an email. That response said "I am listening."
Now we know the truth.
When the board members spoke prior to the vote last night, their script was flawed, their words were harsh and the disrespect they portrayed was startling. We were told that the people from Ambler were classed as 'poor', our children were 'unintelligent' and 'really, they will have much better opportunities in another school'. As one parent said "this feels like I am being told to eat my vegetables."
They misused data, wrongly quoted our state representative and publicly called some of us out. (By the way, Janice Singer, this blogger stands by my words - the board, as an entire governing body, has NEVER visited the schools they were elected to govern to see the results of the decisions they make. And, no, going to the school YOUR children attend does not count as visiting a school for an elected official.)
This is what injustice feels like. As one parent described, "I know it when I see it".
When I was on the Mattison Avenue 'campus' this morning, I had a very difficult time holding my head up and looking people in the eye. It feels like I have let everyone down. Surely something else could have prevented the closing of our school. This feels like my first teenage heartbreak - "I'll do anything!"
For now, we will nurse our hangovers. Regroup. The work ahead is, in many ways, much more challenging than the work completed. Why, you ask?
Now we know that this board lies, bullies, threatens and does not listen. We know it because we heard it, felt it, read it and have it on tape to replay when we may be lulled into a state of forgetfulness. We will harness this powerful awareness as it guides us forward.
We will not be duped again.