I have worked in the UFRSD since 2004. I have had the pleasure serving the students, staff, parents and community for that time, and I truly love coming to work each and every day. There are many things that cultivate the growth of my feelings towards this district, but the #1 factor is the people of the entire UFRSD community.
Over the past few days I have listened to parents, had conversations with staff and administrators, read emails and watched the discussion on social media focusing on yesterday’s nationwide school walkout…a topic that evokes strong opinions and an abundance of passion. Despite the differences in opinions, I feel these types of conversations strengthen us and our drive to do what is best for our kids.
Here’s what I find amazing (remarkable and in awe of):
- I’m amazed by the passion of everyone involved in this conversation. Not surprised, but in awe of the amount of passion that this community has for our kids and our country. Community members, parents, students, former students have all shared their thoughts on social media….with one central focus….what they felt was best for our kids. Although, at times, we might not be happy with an opinion because it is in direct contrast to a belief, our community is strengthened by the conversation.
- I’m amazed by the level of focus and care that our administrators, teachers and staff have for our kids. They are truly dedicated to making sure that our students have a voice. They care deeply for our students and want to do what is best for our kids by challenging them, by making sure our kids know they care, and by doing whatever it takes to emotionally and physically protect our kids. Equally of importance, our staff is respectful and appreciative of the multitude of opinions that every student possesses.
- I’m amazed by the State Police and Allentown PD for always being supportive to our district. We feel safer knowing that you are there to help everyone in our district whenever we need.
- I am amazed by students who chose to walk out (at AHS) in support of 17 victims in Parkland and to make sure the world knew that violence in schools is not acceptable. Their passion to share their voices inspires us all. I also applaud those who chose not to walk out…their voices are also just as instrumental in our nation’s conversation.
- I am amazed by the 9 middle school students who at 10:00 a.m. chose to stand at the flagpole and recite the names of the 17 victims in Florida. They wanted to be a part of the conversation, and they deserved that opportunity.
- I am also amazed by those in our community who are passionate and upset about the events of yesterday. We do hear you, and we deeply respect your thoughts. As we do with every decision made in this district, we continue to talk about and assess what has happened, what are the effects on kids, and what we could do differently if something like this happened again.
Please also know this…our school district believes in America. We believe that our job isn’t to share our personal narrative, but to share the narrative of our country in an unbiased and neutral way. Please be assured that our focus continues to be providing the very best education for the students of Allentown, Millstone and Upper Freehold in a safe and caring environment. This will continue to be our focus.
Mark Guterl, Assistant Superintendent