I failed your kids

FOLLOWING the Voice front-page story “School Crisis Meeting” (September 15, 2018), about parents threatening to pull their kids out North Perth Primary School over bad grades, we received this emotional letter from parent and former school board member Alex Apostolou:

I READ about the plight facing North Perth Primary School and am writing to apologise to all staff, students and parents, past, current and future. 

I am responsible for your miserable primary education experience. 

Through my lazy and inattentive ways I have caused the present malaise. 

I could have acted but didn’t, could have spoken out but didn’t; all in the name of going along to get along. 

Now, with the writing well and truly on the wall and the knowledge that for so many kids, the bright light of education never got above a mozzie zapper’s sizzle, my confession is overdue. 

Back in 2011, North Perth Primary School was an amazing place. 

Our kids loved going to school, they loved their teachers, they were involved in tonnes of after-school activities.

All the school families and staff were constantly initiating projects to build things, improve the school’s facilities, hold events and the kids were the centre of this universe – just as it should be. 

Cassandra

I was on the board then, joining in with others parents, teachers and the then-Principal to help coordinate that amazing array of activities. 

They were heady times. The kids were thriving and excelling. Only a fool would have missed the signs of the impending catastrophe. 

I remember the first time I learnt that a departmental law was forcing our beloved principal from her fast growing school.

One might have thought that maybe once, perhaps not during the longish period of disbelief, but maybe during one of the farewell get-togethers, the what-if sessions over coffee, dinner, port; just once, it might have occurred to me…but no. 

You see, there is/was a law that said that a school board (this was pre-independent public school), with the support of the then-current principal, could apply to the regional head to be involved in the selection of the next principal. 

But did I bother to familiarise myself with those very laws that I as a board member was elected to uphold? 

No, your honour, I did not. 

To say that my rear-guard actions, after the decision was sealed, were ineffectual and embarrassing to the parent community would be an understatement. 

No amount of evidence to the contrary would raise an eyebrow, let alone lift a public servant from his northern regional seat to effect proper scrutiny. What I learnt then was that no one likes a Noah or a Cassandra, especially not with the long arc of a child’s education at stake. Who amongst you would deny their child the school’s highest academic award – morning tea with biscuit and principal. 

I am gladdened to read that the school has plans for an exciting future. I’m only sorry that due to my inaction that future will be arriving seven years too late altogether for a whole generation of our kids.

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