Friday, November 17, 2006

Wisconson Parents Group Opposes TeenScreen

Kenosha News
Unified parents form own union
Many in group of about 100 have issues with KUSD
By Chris Barncard

   Tired of feeling left out of their children’s education, a group of parents are banding together.

   The Kenosha Parents Union has about 100 members, a Web site  
and a toll free number after one month of activity, and the group is open to any area adult who values public education and parental involvement therein.

   Lisa Loring and John Nordquist began tinkering with the idea some time ago, and promoted the idea on their community Web site, The Daily Kenoshan.

   Loring and Daily Kenoshan regular Amy Grimley grew frustrated with their contact with Kenosha Unified School District staff, and the union picked up momentum when parents rallied against proposed school attendance boundary changes.

   “I’m very concerned about communication between the district and parents,”said Grimley, a mother of four who will serve as union president until members meet and pick one on their own. “It can be very hard to get a straight answer.”
Amy Grimley  

   Many parents have an issue with Unified, said Loring, mother of three and the group’s vice president.

   “They just don’t know where to go with it,” she said. “We can help them with that.”

   The union can work as an amplifier, too.

   “If parents speak as a group it’s easier for them to be heard,” Grimley said.

   So far Kenosha Parents Union has spoken out against school boundary changes and Columbia University TeenScreen, a suicide risk screening program being considered for Unified eighth-graders. The group has already been invited by Unified to look for an alternative to TeenScreen, according to Loring.

   Eventually the union’s activities will be driven by members, who have yet to really form any collective opinions.

   “We’re going to have to really brush up on the issues parents are concerned about,” said Loring,  who hopes to plan a meeting
sometime after Dec. 1 to help establish goals and an agenda.    Loring said the group is looking to affiliate with a national organization. While it would eventually be up to the membership, Loring is interested in Mississippi-based Parents for Public Schools.

   “Our mission and goals are similar to theirs,” she said. “That’s why I chose to make an inquiry to them first.”

   The union does already have a mission statement aiming for proactive support for effective schools. The group’s values trumpet the importance of public schools and a bridge between the schools and the community.

   Parental involvement — as owners of (not consumers in) the schools — is especially important, considering just how much of a child’s life is spent in a classroom.

   “During the school week my kids spend more waking hours at school than at home,” Grimley said.

   The union will help parents monitor school district activity. Neither Grimley nor Loring think parents really know what goes on in schools, a particular concern for them after Grimley stumbled onto TeenScreen — which she vehemently opposes — by accident.

   “I just don’t want something like this to happen again, where something is slipped by everyone,” she said. 

Sign and forward the Stop TeenScreen's Unscientific and Experimental "Mental Health Screening" of American School Children 


No comments: