St. James parents who are petitioning the Smithtown School District over a transition pattern that sends St. James students to middle school in Nesconset inched closer to their 600-signature goal Tuesday, just hours before they plan to speak out on the issue at this evening's board of education meeting.
As of 11 a.m., the Change.org petition"Smithtown School District's Board of Education: Allow All Saint James Children to Attend Nesaquake Middle School," had 578 signatures, just a few shy of its goal.
Since posting about the petition on Patch on Monday, many local commenters have expressed concerns over the petition, claiming that it seems a slight to Nesconset families.
RELATED: 500 Parents Petition School District to Let St. James Kids Stay in St. James
Other's have shown concern over the idea that St. James students – who under this petition would transition to Nesaquake from Mills Pond Elementary – would be split from Nesconset friends they would have made in their six years at Mills Pond.
But in the spirit of presenting a balanced debate, we'd like to share a few comments posted on Change.org by parents advocating for the switch. See them below:
"Even though Nesconset Elementary School was closed, The Nesconset children were allowed to stay together, with their friends, as a town and community, while St. James was forced to be torn apart. I urge the Board to reconsider the middle school move up pattern, or in the least, provide another "band-aid"(buffer zone option) and not ostracize us from our town of St. James, once again."
"However, when children live in one community and go to school in another community, they are often "strangers" in their own town."
"Families move to St. James to be part of a community not just for the schools but for the churches, the sports and all the other activities that unite us. Allow them the choice to have there children attend the same schools as their neighbors, friends and possibly their cousins because I know that's why we chose St. James to begin with."
"Callously redistricting the children of southeast Saint James fails these children! It robs them of the opportunity to attend their "home" school. The one where their siblings, neighbors, friends, teammates, friends from scouts, etc. attend. It does not provide them the connection that they so need with their community. How can they do community service projects in Nesconset when they want to reach out to help others in their own community of Saint James? How can they feel pride when they don't play for the team in their neighborhood school? Why are these children going to be forced to march in the Nesconset parade when their friends, family, and heart are at the one in Saint James?"
"I lived in St. James all my life, as many people in our small town have. We chose to stay here and raise our families as our parents did because St. James is a small town community where everyone knows each other. We have two elementary schools, a middle school and high school. St. James is a small town and we want our children to stay within the community and with the rest of St. James students attending St. James schools. We want the same small town experience as many of us did and for the same reason so many people chose to live here."
"We would like our son to attend middle school with all his St. James friends. We want to share school and sports activities with our nearby friends with whom with have close ties and can rely upon for car pools, pick ups, etc. Friends from our neighborhood should have their children in the same school."