Letters to the Editor

This is about basic humanity | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

          - Bainbridge Island Review photo
— image credit: Bainbridge Island Review photo

To the editor:

To the school board and the concerned parents of Woodward students, this letter is coming to you from a very recent product of your school system (class of 2013!) and a well-rounded product of your community.

I am an active volunteer in the school district, having volunteered at three of the exceptional schools we boast here on this island. I attended the board meeting held Thursday night and was very shocked at what I saw. I am very disappointed in some of you right now.

To be clear on where I stand - I believe that the request to have these lunch volunteers investigated simply because they are youth pastors is flat out discrimination. The fact that you wish to eject the positive influence of these highly qualified people is saddening and as a student who was once positively impacted by some incredible people during my tough years at Woodward and throughout my time in the Bainbridge School District is really upsetting.

Middle school is pure hell for those of us who don’t fit the ideal image of what a middle school student is. I was tormented about my weight, about what I wore, about not being popular enough and it was thanks to the influence of outside adults, of people who weren’t my parents or my friend’s parents or my counselor or doctor; it was those influences that ultimately saved me.

Middle school is rough. I contemplated suicide, I cried myself to sleep, I tactically starved myself and I guarantee you this- if I had not been shown other ways of living and if I hadn’t had that intimate connection with adults outside of my family, I would be a very different person today. By meeting these new people I was able to develop a personality and to learn how to manage myself without the help of my parents. My family was able to let me go and watch me flourish, knowing that I have a huge safety net and a wide range of incredible characters to shape me into a brave, bol d, confident and happy person.

I know how terrifying the world can be. It’s scary enough for me and I’m not even responsible for any little beings that I want to protect with my life and love with all my heart. Being a parent is tough, it’s scary and you want desperately to know that your child is in safe hands. In this community, on this island, I promise you that nothing will happen to your child that they won’t learn and grow from.

For every “bad” experience they have or “bad” person that comes into their life, there will be a hundred amazing people from this community alone backing them up. I’ve been there- I’ve been scared to death, taken advantage of, I’ve been sick and all different kinds of hurt and every time, no matter how bad my wounds were, my support system on this island was there for me. I emerged from my times of hardship stronger than I had been before they happened.

We are all in each other’s corners, which is why I chose to speak in favor of a good-willed individual who is simply wishing to help make this world a better place. In my opinion, the worst thing we can do as humans is deny someone of that simple right and that simple desire.

Don’t let a fear of the unknown stand in your way of an amazing learning experience for yourself and your child. If you feel at all threatened by the individuals being brought into question approach them! Ask them questions, get to know them! These accusations of someone’s character-based actions are simply too harsh to be making if you don’t first get to know the individual.

If I sound at all patronizing or condescending I apologize, but this whole issue is not rocket science. It’s a basic rule of humanity. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

MADI WILLIAMSON

Bainbridge Island

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