As I write this, my new title, Terminated Parapro, hovers about me like a bad odor. I feel I must write this in behalf of all the paras that have given so much to the students of Fayette County. Also, for the citizens of the county who are unaware of what is taking place in our schools.
The day in early April when we were called in as a group to be served our termination papers was a sad and traumatic day for all parapros.
I am amazed at the lack of compassion that has been shown to this large group of dedicated employees. This is not the case at all schools but it is in many of them.
I could count on one hand the number of people that have even said they are sorry for my job loss. Coworkers have said this same thing.
Paras, for the most part, are people who come in each day to give their best to the students. These are people that receive their fulfillment in their work from a child’s smile or hug. For many paras their job is their ministry. For others, it is also their financial life line.
All of the paras were told they could reapply for their jobs. That there would be no guarantee that they would be rehired, and if they were, what position it would be, or at what school it would be.
Parents and citizens of this county need to understand the ramifications of this situation as well as other drastic cutbacks in our school system.
There will be no paras for first grade. Class sizes will be larger due to few teachers hired. The Fayette County School District has been head and shoulders above other school districts, [but it] will be no longer. This is per the interim superintendent at a meeting held for school administrators.
The kindergarten paras will spend much less time in the classroom, because they will be pulled for more duties than ever to make up for the loss of first grade paras.
Bottom line, this is a major setback for a child’s education. One person in the classroom for 20-25 kindergartners or first graders is not an optimal environment for students.
We all need to be aware and educated about the changes going on in our schools. The people we have trusted over the last several years to make responsible financial decision have misused and hemorrhaged funds that have now effected every student and employee in our school system, from principals down to the custodial staff.
The custodial staff still does not know if they will have a job for the next school year. This is no way to treat people who have families and financial responsibilities and need to make plans for their future.
I’m sure it is obvious by the overall tone of this letter that morale at the schools is at an all-time low.
Parents, your child’s education is not just the responsibility of the school. Please, be a role model for your child that emphasizes good morals. Work with your child at home on all the concepts that are being taught at school. Support your child’s teacher. She/he wants the best for every student.
So many times, we come across parents who do nothing to help their child, because they assume it is the school’s responsibility. This is so detrimental to your child. It is your responsibility as a parent to help your child at home, and stay informed about school work and activities. Volunteer at your child’s school. There will be more of a need than ever for your help at the school and in your child’s classroom.
To all the paras who are waiting until May 16 to know if you have a job, stay strong and know that God will give you the strength you need to keep a positive attitude despite how you have been treated.
As I have stated, I know there are schools that have honored their paras to let them know they are appreciated. I am referring to the termination and to the schools where there has been little, if any, compassion shown.
To all educations in Fayette County and parents of the students, may God bless you as we make our way into uncharted waters.