Letter to the editor: new policy upsets 30 year tradition of alumni visits

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To the Editor:

I have been teaching at Townsend Harris High School for twenty-eight years, longer than any other member of the current faculty, and I am very upset about this new alumni visiting policy. Seeing our students return to THHS is one of the great joys of teaching. Our students’ accomplishments give us enormous pride and remind us of why we teach. Their affection for our school is a testament to the warmth of our community and the nurturing qualities of our school’s culture.

The IA Principal is playing games and refuses to clarify exactly what teacher “responsibility” means regarding alum visits. We could be “liable” for who knows what, and she is using alums against us. She is trying to force us into a dilemma between appearing cold to alums or failing to take on undefined “responsibilities.” We would be held accountable without being told what we are accountable for. Our UFT Chapter Leader, Mr. Scardino, has asked us to “resist” the IA Principal’s new policy until it is clarified. Given that the new policy requires alumni to enter the school via teachers, resistance to the policy from the entire faculty would effectively ban alumni from the school. Please know that this is the last thing the teachers of THHS want, but the principal’s choices have led us here.

Our visits from alums are part of our thirty-year tradition, and this new policy is simply not right. It is politics, not leadership.

Yours truly,
Judy Biener