My name is Danielle Walsh and I am a parent of three children, all of whom attend Harmony School. My husband and I are also faithful voters in local elections. I am an active parent and volunteer as a class mother, and also work very hard in the school no less than 3 days a week helping to organize our school library.
I would like to express my concern over the BOE's recent vote to not re-hire Erik Paulson as our principal. I am sure you have been overwhelmed with letters of support and stories of how Mr. Paulson has helped and supported both our students and the community of Middletown. I would like to share with you one of the many great things Mr. Paulson has done for my family.
Towards the end of last April, I woke up one morning to find my son could not walk. He simply went to bed one night a healthy 6 year old boy and woke up unable to use his legs. After 2 weeks of countless doctors and missing school, we were still at a loss with no answers. Because I didn't want him to lose out on his education, I went in to speak wth Mr. Paulson, no appointment, just a frazzled mom looking for help. He immediately took time from his day to sit and speak with me to go over my options. I had been made aware that the township would send someone to my house for home schooling, but I wasn't sure I wanted him to miss out on the social aspect of school. I also wasn't ready to resign him to being in a wheelchair by purchasing one myself.
Mr. Paulson listened to me with great interest and concern for my son. He sat thoughtfully for a moment and came up with the idea that my son could return to school and have use of the school's wheelchair. He and Nurse Trotta worked on a plan together where my son would be escorted from each class by the school nurse....She even would wheel him out to the playground, so he be with his classmates and feel as normal as possible. He designated a parking spot for me to carry my son into school in the morning. My son felt like a king and my husband and I were so grateful for his support.
Ultimately, he not only helped my family through a nightmare, but saved the township the costs of home schooling my son. Isn't this exactly what an administrator is supposed to do? He assessed the situation and worked out a solution that benefitted both the community and the individual student. Two months later, my son took his first steps again in Harmony School with his teacher watching. After much time and work my son is a healthy first grader in Harmony School. I credit Mr. Paulson and his staff for giving my son the confidence and normalcy he needed to continue his education uninterupted by all that was going on around him.
I am sure you are getting many letters and e-mails about the By-Laws of the BOE, the disregard of Dr. George's recommendation and the general dissatisfaction of this decision. I am in agreement with the arguements put forth by the PTO in Harmony School and the the community. However, I appeal to you as a parent and an member of our Board of Eduation to reconsider your decision. Mr. Paulson is a good man who is great at a very difficult job. He is adored by the students and respected by the parents.
I will be attending the next BOE meeting and will continue to be an active member of both the school and community with the hope that your fellow board members will do the right thing and re-hire Mr. Paulson, as it benefits the students first and foremost.
Thank you for your consideration.
Source : https://patch.com/new-jersey/middletown-nj/bp--a-letter-to-the-middletown-boe667