Letters to the Editor

Please leave the School Board, Mr. Hoff

Charlie Hoff, I was one of the ones that you asked, Should you run again for Federal Way School Board? At that time, my response was yes. If you were to ask me that question now, I would have to say no.

To say that you would not attend a school graduation (June 5, “Sorry, no Charlie for high school grads”) is rather a sad and demeaning statement to every person that works for this school district, parents, students, grandparents, friends and anyone else that believes that graduation is a time for celebrating. Your excuse about the behavior of the students –– what makes you think that students who attend their graduation shouldn’t celebrate?

I believe that if you were to look at your own graduation years ago that every one of those students was not perfect. I would bet that there were one or two that went a little overboard. It is called normal human behavior. When we have so many students that have achieved, it should be a time for celebration.

I have attended two of my children’s graduations and have felt that both were very memorable experiences. As a parent, I was extremely proud to be there and be a part of such an awesome experience. Not only did my children achieve a new threshold of their life, so did I. We as parents work with our children to make sure that they do get to this point in their life, which is vitally important. With what you stated, you do not believe that the process deserves to be validated by you, a School Board member. How sad that you feel this way. If you do not believe this, why are you on the board?

Now another point that you made –– that some students who are graduating should not be. I believe that every student who is graduating this year has to meet the school district criteria to graduate. Federal Way students have one of the toughest standards to meet. If these graduating students have met them, why would you make such a derogatory statement? Could it be that you have your own elitist set of standards, and anyone below them doesn’t deserve a diploma?

I personally believe that with the standards set by the board that we should be proud of every one of these students for hanging in there to achieve the standards. I can tell you from experience, from working with parents and students and my own children, it was not easy for any of them. From your statements, it appears that you think that students in these schools have one big party their entire educational career. I can assure you that a lot of tears, stress and hard work went into getting to this point. You have no right to insult or make light of the work that it took these students, parents or educators. And by you saying this as a board member, it makes it 100 times worse. You will not be missed, I am sure, at these ceremonies, but your words will be remembered.

As you know, Mr. Hoff, I have been a very strong advocate for parents and students of this district. I have never worked for this district because being a part of this district, I could not try and make the changes that I have felt were necessary. I feel that being a part of a school district means you do not publicly come out and speak negatively of the district. Having an opinion is one thing, but going out and publicly speaking as you have done is demeaning the institution that you are supposed to support.

I do not have a student graduating this year, but I will next year, and if you stated this next year, how would my child feel? Did you give this any thought as to how the students would feel when you made these statements? These students have worked their whole lives getting to this point and you just demeaned it. I would think as one of these students that I wasn’t worth your time. How do you think the parents feel when their own School Board member responds like this to their child’s graduation?

You did a great job working on a vocational program for the students in this district who may not go to college, and that is why I supported you. The vocational programs that you were working on are not enough for the slap in the face that you just did to this class of 2004 and the people that work for this district.

I am asking you, as a parent of a student in the Federal Way school district, to please step down from your position on the School Board. We need people on the board who value the students, parents, teachers and administrators.

Jean Gray

Federal Way

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