Redistricting. It’s a word that raises the ire and anxiety level of parents in every community almost immediately.
With two plans on the table that would move students from Frenchtown Elementary School to Middlebrook Elementary, many Trumbull parents are rallying for more options or more time to discuss both plans publicly.
Redistricting is an emotional process and parents have every right to question the information and logic that went into these proposals.
At last Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, most parents spoke respectfully to the board, sharing their legitimate concerns. However, as the night wore on, the sensitivity of the issue, coupled with a packed board room and some unanswered questions led to a few emotional outbursts and some rude behavior that didn’t help further anyone’s agenda.
When an issue like this comes up, there’s going to be a few tempers flaring. Few things are as personal to a family as their child’s education and school life. However, we urge Superintendent Gary Cialfi to set up a public forum, so parents can feel part of the process. A topic like redistricting certainly deserves its own meeting. Perhaps some of the frustration can be alleviated simply by taking more time to show parents what went into these proposals and giving those concerned a chance to directly ask questions, with staff and consultants available to answer.
If a public forum goes forward, we hope that those who feel so strongly can keep the tone respectful. It’s easier to hear the message when you aren’t turned off by the way someone is delivering it.
When emotions are high and we already expect to be for or against a proposal, it can be hard to listen to the other side of it. We dig our heels in and stand our ground. As this issue unfolds, we hope staff, parents and elected officials take the time to listen to one another. You may hear something unexpected or look at the proposals from a different angle.