Hats off to Lydia Benedict for opening debate in East Lyme over whether it is a good idea to lengthen the school day (“Extending the school day won't improve learning,” April 10). I was shocked and dismayed when notified that next year's school day would be longer. At first I felt powerless to do anything to change this. Not anymore.
I attended and spoke against the extended school day at the public hearing on April 13. I don't want the superintendent to decide whether it is better for my son to be in school another half-hour. I hardly see my son as it is. This is a policy change that rips at the heart of what's most precious – that fleeting time where parents teach children the things that aren't taught at school.
I felt my plea fell on deaf ears. The message I got from the school board is that I was too late and should have been at the board meeting when this decision was made. I do all I can to get my son back and forth to athletic practices and games, do homework and participate in activities. Parents should not be punished and excluded from the decision-making process for being unable to attend a board meeting.
This change in the school days is arguably the biggest policy change to hit this district in a long time. The decision was made in a board room without our knowledge. Many parents voiced opposition to this plan at a meeting held over a year ago. We were assured this idea would be revisited, not instituted in a later board meeting that was not attended by parents. A policy change this big should be done after all parents and teachers have a say and a vote.