I am writing in response to the recent Lockeport Town Council decision to shut down Lockeport “Kids Corner” preschool this Fall. As a Community Health Board member, a parent and a parent and youth advocate I am deeply concerned with Council’s decision. Both of my children got an excellent start in socialization and basic learning skills in this place many years ago. My son, who has multiple disabilities was welcomed and accepted without judgment and was included as an individual in every aspect of the program. This was an important and positive step for him, that prepared him for the world he would enter in formal schooling.
Firstly, I applaud the citizens for exercising their democratic rights in questioning Council’s decision and secondly, for advocating for their children’s rights as well. That being said, exercising our rights does not include taking away theirs. There is no room for slander, belittling or disrespectful comments about people’s character in these kinds of debates. This does not get results. Knowing the facts and sticking to the ‘Cause’ will.
There has been a tremendous amount of serious “fallout” from this decision; first and foremost shock. The reaction from people on social media, mostly, negative, with some fence-sitters has caught the attention of most. People are outraged and rightly so. This is a question of morality, not money. It’s an example of Politics run- a-muck. Parents not only have the right, but the responsibility to question their government. Clearly, the implications of such a decision were neither anticipated nor desired. But, this has upset and fragmented a Town and community. To not consider the implications of one’s actions is irresponsible. In this case, it appears that council missed the opportunity to do the morally responsible thing.
People need to be involved in the process when it comes to making crucial decisions that directly affect the future of their children. Had people been a part of decision making, a lot of this hype could have been avoided. I realize that in times of fiscal restraint, it is difficult to manage one’s finances, but there are just some things that should not be compromised. Education is one. At the risk of sounding cliché, when one invests in youth, one invests in the future and when you invest in the future, you invest in progress and hope for a better world. Children deserve better.
Everyone needs to value and support the rights of children first. Clearly, a decision of this magnitude, needs to be given more weight than say, the “bricks and mortar” kind, in balancing a budget. There is a moral price tag attached here, and the cost is great. My point is, if Council’s only reasoning hinges on fiscal responsibility, that’s not good enough, and this is the first typical response when services are cut. Public perception is everything.
There are good questions being asked: What price would you put on a child’s education? What was traded off? What was more important than this service? Where is money going? Why pay taxes? Etc. Continue to ask the questions that need asking and rely on the facts that you have. Resist the Hype. Get to the source of their reasoning and then ask for a discussion for the change you want. As of yet, there has been no response, to my knowledge, from Council. Council needs to do the right the thing and amend the decision for the kid’s sake. Just Saying!
Shelb. Co. Community Health Board
Concerned Advocate for Youth and Families