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Not convinced by arguments to close schools

This letter was addressed to Dave Walden, Chair, School Board of Trustees SD48. A copy was forwarded to Pique.

We wish to voice our grave concerns over the suggestion in the proposed school calendar for 2009-10, that Whistler Secondary School be closed for a total of three weeks, from Feb. 8 th to 26 th . We do realize this is not “written in stone” and so we ask that our concerns be tabled at the upcoming meetings on Oct. 10 th and/or Nov. 7 th .

We will have two children at WSS in 2010, a daughter in Grade 9 and a son in Grade 12.

We are not convinced by any of the arguments in favour of closing the schools at all; we feel positive that our children will have ample opportunities to enjoy the atmosphere and events surrounding the Olympics outside of normal school hours, in the evenings in and around the village, and on weekends, without the necessity of disrupting their schooling to this extent.

If we are fortunate enough to obtain tickets for any event, we will be comfortable to take them out of school for that one day. On that note, you might like to consider that the demographics of WSS strongly suggest the vast majority of its students will be mainly interested in the events that are happening in Vancouver, not in Whistler. Our son has not the remotest interest in watching any “sliding event”, or cross-country or downhill ski race event, and we believe most of his friends will be the same. We think you have vastly overestimated the interest of local high school-age students in the Whistler events.

However, if forced to we could live with closing WSS for part of the Olympics, BUT we are vehemently and adamantly opposed to closing our high school for three weeks. We are quite angry that the board feels it can compromise our son’s education in this way in the most important year of his entire school career. The Olympics will be an exciting event for sure, but not as exciting as watching our son graduate. He is not academically strong, and it will be extremely difficult for him to “make up” such a large amount of classroom time. We refuse to allow anything, even the Olympics, to force him into a situation where he is struggling to keep up during a complex and stressful year. It is unacceptable to us that there is even a suggestion that this could happen.

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