Letter: Do the right thing for students

To the Editor:

When Ridgefield voters elect our BOE, we expect them to make hard decisions for the benefit of the students. When the water was not potable, the district fixed the problem. The BOE did the right thing for the students, and implemented procedures to fix the threat to student health and well-being. Healthy start times should be no different.

The BOE has confirmed that medical evidence proves early start times harm our adolescents. Dr. Baldwin said, “In recent years medical research has determined that later school start times is a crucial health issue for adolescents and will improve both the learning and safety of students.” Leadership means making hard decisions, even controversial ones, while reassuring the public that everything will work out, and then working hard to ensure that it does.

To keep the status quo bell times is to disregard urgent medical recommendations and will continue to do harm. The BOE has heard many opinions about changing start times. Those opinions should be used for informational purposes, and for guiding implementation, but they should not dictate the decision making of a publicly elected body with a crystal clear Mission Statement. To defer the decision on this health related initiative would constitute a breach of BOE’s fiduciary duty.

We expect the BOE to step up to the plate and lead. We expect the BOE to make the prudent decision to implement healthy start times for the health and wellness of the students they were elected to protect. This is the BOE’s first opportunity to stand behind student health since the adoption of RPS’s new mission. Will the BOE demonstrate that RPS’s Mission Statement is more than just words on a page?

Meredith Harris

Christopher Road, Oct. 9