Stu­dents should not pay the price for greedy devel­op­ers

Maryland Independent - - Com­mu­nity Fo­rum -

I am a par­ent of three Charles County school stu­dents. Like many other par­ents, I am highly dis­tressed over the pro­posed re­dis­trict­ing plans. The Board of Ed­u­ca­tion has cho­sen plan A, which still moves roughly 2,221 stu­dents to new schools in the 2018-19 school year.

Af­ter at­tend­ing two of the pub­lic hear­ings held by the school board, I — like many par­ents — am ou­traged. Ap­prox­i­mately 600 of the 2,221 stu­dents be­ing moved are would-be fifth graders, who will now be forced to change schools. These chil­dren will not see nor ben­e­fit from the new and im­proved Dr. Mudd or the Billings­ley schools, be­cause both schools don’t open un­til 2019.

Many of these chil­dren have spent their en­tire el­e­men­tary school ca­reers at one school and will now be forced to grad­u­ate in a new one. Par­ents echoed the same thought: it’s only nine months; let them stay and fin­ish where they started. Why are the chil­dren be­ing forced to lose their fifth grade year in the school they love, only to be placed in an­other? Why do the chil­dren of Charles County have to suf­fer for the greed of Charles County devel­op­ers? These are just some of the ques­tions posed to the board of ed­u­ca­tion at West­lake High School on May 22.

The chil­dren who are re­dis­tricted for Dr. Mudd will at­tend the Dr. Mudd Tran­si­tional School. Some of these chil­dren are J.P. Ryon stu­dents; they will be driven past their for­mer school five days a week for the en­tire school year. For those who don’t know, the tran­si­tion school is built on the land be­tween Hanson/Ryon, which means the stu­dents can turn around and look di­rectly at their for­mer school ev­ery day. To me that’s bul­ly­ing, taunt­ing and ha­rass­ment of our stu­dents in the high­est de­gree.

Mudd, by the way, is not a school — it’s sev­eral trail­ers taken from John Hanson Mid­dle School hooked up to a brick mon­stros­ity. Also to ac­com­mo­date this, J.P. Ryon now has to have a later start and end­ing time and the buses will have to stag­ger as well. Hanson was forced to give up half of their park­ing lot so Mudd could have one. We have Mudd teach­ers,

stu­dents, par­ents and buses com­ing this fall; how can the BOE not see the traf­fic night­mare alone? The Ryon/Hanson com­plex is in­con­ve­nienced in all the worst ways pos­si­ble, as they both lose much-needed space to ac­com­mo­date Dr. Mudd. They are rip­ping up the bas­ket­ball courts and tear­ing up the soft­ball field as well.

All of this is not even a dent in the chaos that is brew­ing: let’s talk about the sub­di­vi­sion called Adams Cross­ing [in Wal­dorf]. There were two ac­ci­dents in four days at the be­gin­ning of May. One did in­volve a day care van leav­ing Ryon and an­other ve­hi­cle; the other in­volved two cars, but it did de­lay the buses leav­ing that day. It is large and also has only one way in and out, as they share Vivian Adams Drive with the schools.

Ev­ery par­ent of a Ryon or Hanson stu­dent has the right to be ou­traged — we are the ones who will have to deal with this for two years. Our stu­dents will be caught up in this for two years. Not to men­tion the BOE now has plans to start the dia­logue for a mid­dle school re­dis­trict­ing as well. The chil­dren of Charles County should not have to pay the price for the greed of Charles County devel­op­ers.

Malinda Smith, Wal­dorf

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