Education Letter to the Editor

Once-Torn N.J. District Accentuates the Positive

October 19, 2004 1 min read

To the Editor:

Your feature article on events three years ago in our New Jersey district (“Bad Blood,” On Assignment, Sept. 29, 2004) emphasizes the obvious negatives of a teacher strike with words like “venom” and “infamous,” and characterizations such as that future negotiations “loom over the community” like a predator.

As the current superintendent, I have, with the district’s administrative team, done much more to heal the community than send birthday cards to every teacher and inform people of events through a newsletter, two actions you highlight. Our outreach initiatives—and I speak for the administrative team as well as for the board of education—extend to our parents, teachers, and students.

As a priority goal, we have implemented means to welcome continuous input from our teachers’ association as a vital member of our valued team of educators. The cost-sharing agreement between the board and the Middletown Township Teachers’ Education Association for putting cardiac defibrillators in school buildings was a first step. But the keys to the healing process are dialogue, respect, and caring—a few positive words to replace those that took prominence in your article.

With the unanimous agreement of the board, we will do our utmost to remove the “bad blood” label, and to instead categorize our efforts as “A-OK positive.”

David L. Witmer

Superintendent of Schools

Middletown Township Public Schools

Middletown, N.J.