From a personal standpoint, this column is one of the most challenging for me to write as my thoughts on the topic are complicated. The article itself is prompted by the conflict of ideals within our country and comments directed to the district during recent public forums.
The latest of these comments concerned sexually explicit excerpts from novels found in the Kennedy Secondary School media center and ALC library. The descriptions were graphic and would be considered offensive by many parents. I was uncomfortable listening to the reading of the passages which means that I would have been uncomfortable having my own children read the passages as well. But my opinion needn’t be the opinion of everyone else. The First Amendment could be considered the single most protective measure of our democracy and our freedoms. It is best known for protecting our rights to free speech and freedom of expression.
What is the school’s role in screening material and determining its appropriateness or inappropriateness? Most parents are likely to expect schools to screen out materials whose content may be too mature in nature for students. That’s a fair expectation. Parents send their children to school with the understanding that we will provide a safe and largely wholesome environment. We accept that responsibility.
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On behalf of the Fergus Falls Public School District, I extend a warm welcome. We are honored that you have entrusted us with the care and education of your child.
The Fergus Falls Public School District is a special place. Our mission statement outlines our commitment to each and every child: “The mission of the Fergus Falls Public Schools is to prepare productive and engaged members of society by creating an environment where all students reach their full potential.”
What will your child’s experience be as a member of our school community? Children will be surrounded by adults who care about them. We will provide the necessary support to help ensure that each child is successful. Children will be challenged. That’s how new skills are developed and how learning, confidence and leadership is fostered.
In providing a robust 21st century learning environment - we emphasize the five “Cs” - Core Knowledge, Creative Problem Solving, Communication, Contributing Citizen and Character. These core competencies ensure that our students will be well-positioned for success wherever their dreams take them.
We pride ourselves on providing a rigorous academic curriculum with a diverse selection of electives. We support our students with a 1:1 technology initiative to augment instruction, we have strong vocational programs and excellent participation among our students in the arts. A large percentage of our students are involved in co-curricular activities and our programs are highly respected and competitive. In summary, we offer the family atmosphere of a small rural school combined with the opportunities typically only found in much larger districts.
Through the process of discovering and developing their talents, interests and skills, our students are going to make great memories, grow in confidence, become leaders in our school and community and form lifelong friendships. Once an Otter, always an Otter!