Eight D-Y supporters complain about a blog post

Letters from readers who refute The Observer's last post:

        Editor's note on Blogs

As of January this year it is estimated there were 152 million blogs on the Internet (as tracked by BlogPulse).
   CapeCodTODAY.com has over 300 CapeBlogs written by local people, some attributed, others anonymous. They represent each writer's opinions. Like Letters to the Editor, they are published verbatim.
   The anonymous writer is as old as America. The Federalist Papers, published anonymously at the time, now known to be written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, are considered the third most important document in the development of the US government, after the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution / Bill of Rights.
   The famous English writer Charles Lamb write as Elia in the 19th century.
   American newspapers and magazines have published anonymously written column since their birth, the most famous in recent times was T.R.B. in the New Republic.
   The most common reason for being anonymous is fear of persecution or job loss.
   These writers are sometimes called "Whistle Blowers", and without them democracy would be in greater peril than it already is.  They are protected under U.S. law.
   In the The Observer's case, we know the writer's credentials and professional experience and regard his writing as worthwhile and valuable for the public discourse on education or anything else.
   -wb.

The first letter:

From: "Bosmer Nord" <[email protected]>
Date: Oct 29, 2011 6:36 PM
Subject: D-Y's "dy's "functional youth"

i just want to say a few things. i read the article and thought it was uncalled for, you shouldn't judge a school by looking up research, if you were to actually go to the school and attend it you would find its not that bad, sure, we have some bad kids who smoke in the schools bath room but that doesn't give you the right to judge the entire school. last year there were higher achieved MCAS scores then any school in the state. i just want to know exactly why you don't like the school. is your son/daughter going there and they are being bullied? or is there something else?

Bosmer Nord

Next letter:

From: "Jena Mota" <[email protected]>
Date: Oct 29, 2011 8:18 PM
Subject: DY:"Dysfunctional Youth"

DY: "Determined Youth"

The opinion piece regarding DY being dysfunctional is one the most incorrect and outrageous pieces I've ever read. The writer of it has clearly never been a DY student or had a child attend. As a DY student myself I can honestly say that our school is one of the most unified schools on Cape. We cheer and encourage each other on a daily basis, whether it be sport wise or academically. We have a student body that pushes each other to reach our full potential. Just last week we had an enormous amount of student get accepted into National Honors Society. Yes DY may have some students who may not be like this, but that's only a small minority. Every school does. The majority of students are talented and smart individuals. From our 8-0 football team, to volleyball being ACL Champs, our always outstanding xc team, and the amazing field hockey girls, our school is full of the most talented students. And by the amount of students outraged by this article on our school you can tell how much we adore DY. Students have been using social networking sites Facebook and twitter to voice their outrage. The writer of this does not make one valid point throughout the entire piece, establishing nothing but a disrespectful tone and attitude towards our school. Out of the entire article the very last line was what got me angry enough to write this. Mr.Morrison, our assistant principal, is blatantly disrespected. He is one of the most understanding and caring authority figures at Dennis-Yarmouth. For the writer of this to say that our school should be handed over to the National Guard and that Mr.Morrison may "have connections" to make this happen is just outright rude. This anonymous writer unintentionally has done DY some good, he/she is bringing our school even closer than it was before. So thank you anonymous "observer". You mess with one dolphin, you mess with the entire pod.

Jena Mota
Yarmouthport

Next letter:

From: <[email protected]>
Date: Oct 29, 2011 9:19 PMTo whomever this may concern,

As a student of D-Y High school, I have a problem with this article. Commenting on budget issues and grievances that this individual may have with the school is their right, but titling it "D-Y's 'Dysfunctional Youth'" is not okay with me, along with many of my fellow students. Some students may have some issues in their personal lives, but grouping us ALL as "dysfunctional" is offensive and frankly, greatly unappreciated. There is not a "shaking down for lunch money" issue happening in the cafeteria. There is always a police officer and a number of staff members in the cafeteria who deal with any issues before they escalate to the level where they can even be called issues, and even then, any of us so called "problem children" are spoken to, and taken care of, if ever necessary. Problems do not go unattended or unpunished at our school. "Poor academics" are not to blame for one of last year's graduates getting into HARVARD. A lack of extracurriculars is not to blame for a student getting into Berklee College of Music. Our graduates have already proved to be successful. D-Y has such a large presence of school pride, and there is a reason for that. We have great teachers who push us to achieve the best that we can, sports teams that are spectacular, a music program that always brings home awards and titles, and the student body has such a sense of unity and cohesiveness. People need to take a step out of their ridiculing and judgmental shoes before casting their opinions on us as students. I speak for myself and many of my peers when I say that this article is greatly offensive, incorrect, and unnecessary. This is a form of slander, and not to mention bullying (from an adult directed at children, for that matter), and should be removed.

Sincerely,
Isabella Marino,
A Proud D-Y Student

Next letter:

From: "Patrick" <[email protected]>
Date: Oct 29, 2011 10:05 PM
Subject: D-Y's Dysfunctional youth- a students perspective

Hello, my name is Patrick Kroyak, and I am a sophomore at D-Y Regional High School. I recently read the article "D-Y's Dysfunctional Youth" after seeing some less than kind words about it on Facebook. Yelling at the people who write these articles, and getting mad over them won't change anything, which is why I'm writing to you. I wouldn't be surprised if this email was deleted and you never read it, but I digress.
First of all, I would like to address the bad things that DY has been stamped with. People will say we have kids who smoke in the school, and I won't deny it. But every school does. I have friends and cousins in many school districts on cape, (chatam, pardon the spelling, Nauset, Barnstable, sturgis public charter, and sturgis public charter west, to name a few) and all have said that they have smokers and other substance users. It is NOT just D-Y, but for some reason, we seem to be called out on it.
Another thing people seem to associate us with is poor grades. They could not be further from the truth. I myself am a straight A student, and have many friends who are the same. Our MCAS scores are all higher than the state average if I recall correctly, and our teaching staff are amazing. We've had 2 students in the past 2 years who have attained full scholarships to Harvard, and the general ability to learn shown by students never ceases to amaze me. We also have, and I am not using hyperbole or giving an opinion here, the best arts program on the cape. Over 20% of our students are in the concert band program alone. This number would be astounding by itself, but it is just one of a multitude of arts programs. Our athletics teams are also very close together, although we may not always win, we are like a brotherhood / sisterhood, always willing to accept new members.
In the article, the author cited a story about about a boy being "bullied and shaken down for his lunch money". I can tell you that I have never seen this, and the table I sit a is centrally situated in the whole cafeteria. Also, we have a multitude of teachers, police officers, and lunch staff, always on the lookout. Although I can not say that it couldn't have happened, I can say that it was not the fault of the staff being lazy.
Finally, I make a plea to the people out there who write how "terrible" and "awful" D-Y is. These people (usually) have never actually experienced D-Y, and I ask you to not make negative opinions until you had actually seen it, and seen how wonderful it is. You wouldn't write a negative food review before actually tasting the food right? Bad metaphors aside, D-Y doesn't deserve the bad things associated with it. Yes we have financial difficulties, but every school district does. I can't really comment on our financial troubles, as I don't know all the figures, and don't want to be a hypocrite.
Thank you for your time,

Patrick Kroyak

Next letter:

From: "George Farah" <[email protected]>
Date: Oct 29, 2011 11:37 PM
Subject: D-Y's Dysfunctional Youth - To Whom It May Concern,

I recently read an article entitled D-Y's "Dysfunctional Youth" by an Observer posted on October 27th, 2011 and felt disheartened by it. The Dennis Yarmouth School District run by Superintendent Carol Woodbury happens to be a fully capable school district in Yarmouth, MA. Many points of information were made by Observer from various "sources". The false assumptions and accusations made from Observer disgruntled me, as they were not true. In the second paragraph, Observer mentions, "It's no secret that DY is one of the worst performing school districts on the Cape, and students are leaving at an alarming rate!" Well after researching the hard facts on the Department of Education website through the Massachusetts State Government, I have found that Dennis Yarmouth's Percentages for Passing and Advanced for all three subjects (Math, Biology, English) yielded slightly under par or over the percentages of comparable schools on Cape Cod. Dennis Yarmouth High School's 10th graders from last year received 88%, 77%, and 82% for English, Math, and Science respectively. Comparable schools, such as Barnstable or Bourne have percentages of 87%, 80%, 81% for Barnstable, and 87%, 82%, and 78% for Bourne. I do understand however that Barnstable is a bigger school with more pupils, in fact nearly double Dennis Yarmouth's, however this is no excuse to have poorer performance in 2 of the 3 subjects that MCAS tests. Dennis Yarmouth is then not "-one of the worst performing schools on the Cape..." rather one that is keeping up with the pack.

A comment was made as to the salary that Superintendent Woodbury receives as a result of her 6-year contract. This figure works out to $166,666.00 a year, which on the American Association of School Administrator's website is slightly above the $135,180.00 average a superintendent in New England makes per year. This is merely an average, there are salaries higher and lower then the number discussed before. If Observer has something to say about Superintendent Woodbury's salary then by all means attend a town meeting in either Dennis or Yarmouth and preach to the town officials about your concern.

The Pilot Program of Dennis Yarmouth High School that incorporates 8th graders from both Mattacheese Middle School and Nathaniel H. Wixon Middle School is one that is not necessarily for cost cutting measures, but rather one that uses a new system of learning called the STEM program. This program is geared towards forward thinking students, it challenges them to not only think about an answer to a problem, but how does this relate to real life, how is it applicable to a student's life. Through using Science, Technology, English, and Math, students are able to troubleshoot through problems, achieving less of a remember this, remember that kind of classroom to more of an interactive classroom. The Technology in this program does not involve ankle bracelets as mentioned in the article by Observer. "This ‘teamwork' uses electronic tools too, but in a different way. The ‘tools' I am referring to are two students with ankle monitoring bracelets in the program." According to Observer, he or she found out about these students from sources. Unless the sources mentioned are from in the walls of Dennis Yarmouth High School or are the actual students themselves, then information from secondary sources are not that reliable. As seen by the US Government and Iraq, there definitely were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but see where we are now? There were never weapons of mass destruction, and the intel that the FBI/CIA uncovered from "sources" were not reliable.

If Observer would like to change something instead of harshly criticizing the Dennis Yarmouth School District, then do something about it rather then point the finger at people other then yourself. The principles of the United States government allows for citizens to be part of the government, so if there is something that you would like changed then go right ahead. Dennis Yarmouth, just like any other school district is feeling a pinch and is turning to anything to balance the all-important budget. The future plans of the school district are merely plans, not set in stone yet. For the past 3 years, Dennis Yarmouth has sent students to Harvard University, Northeastern University, Yale University, and several hundreds of other Colleges and Universities. So please Observer, do not rant on a district that is merely trying to make do with what they have. Going through the Dennis Yarmouth School district is truly a rewarding and fun experience, one that will always be in my heart.

Sincerely,
George Farah
Dennis Yarmouth Graduate of 2011
Stonehill College Class of 2015 Biology- Premed Major
Resident of South Yarmouth, Cape Cod

Next letter

From: "Taylar R" <[email protected]>
Date: Oct 30, 2011 9:31 PM
Subject: "D-Y's Dysfunctional Youth" Article

To whom it may concern,

I can't think of any words or appropriate words to describe how angry I am that you have published such an outrageous article about my school Dennis Yarmouth Regional High School. For starters, 99% of this article is completely false and absurd. The allegations that this "anonymous" person is accusing are completely ridiculous and out of control. As a senior at DY, I have never once in my four years attending heard of or witnessed a kid being "shaken" down for money in the cafeteria. It would never happen because there are plenty of staff that walk around during lunch monitoring behavior and if something gets escalated then it is shut down very quickly. The fact that this person is basing an entire school population on TWO eighth graders is ridiculous. Something that had happened between two eighth graders does not represent the entire school. DY is such a great school and it has many programs that are very successful. Our sports teams are ACL Champs, our music program is exceptional in the state, in the past couple years, there have been two seniors who are currently attending Harvard University, and the valedictorian of my class is planning on applying and hopefully going to Harvard. Many of our students have been noticed for their academic achievement. So you can't say that everyone is failing. You can't call an entire school "dysfunctional" and not back it up with evidence. This entire article has no evidence and therefore is incorrect. What makes this article even more hilarious is that there are numerous misspellings in it. If this person wants to bash on a high school for low grades then they should probably check themselves first. You will probably be seeing numerous messages from my fellow classmates over the next couple of days. We have enormous pride being DY Dolphins and will not back down until this article is retracted. You can't published something this absurd and not get any crap for putting it up. DY has its faults and is not perfect but DY is not alone in it either. EVERY school in America has its problems and you can't put it all on one school. It's not right. I love DY and I am proud of my school and my class. And as I walk across that stage in a few months, I will still be proud of my school and for the rest of my life.

Sincerely,
Taylor, R.
a PROUD DY Dolphin Senior.

Next letter:

From: Maureen Tuohy-Bedford <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 9:29 AM
Subject: The 'Nameless' Observor'

Maureen Tuohy-Bedford/West Yarmouth here.

Well, my main - and only - objections apply to 2 subjects: (1) The Observor, for ranting ANONYMOUSLY and (2) Cape Cod Today for PUBLISHING ANONYMOUS rantings !

The Observor SHOULD - with all his or her knowledge and interest in the education of our youth - know how very critical it is to teach our youth that their opinion has value, and that a person needs to OWN their opinion - and actually stand behind it ! How easy (a.k.a. cowardly) it is to spout from the mountain-top, wearing a mask.

Cape Cod Today SHOULD - with all their knowledge and interest in the education of our youth - know how very LAME and IRRESPONSIBLE it is to publish anonymous anything. Makes me think of rag magazines and newspapers.

KUDOS to the D-Y students - present and past - who OWN their come-back opinions and comments. THAT has merit.

Maureen Tuohy-Bedford/West Yarmouth.

Last letter

From: olivia dean <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 9:34 AM
Subject: Re: DY's "Dysfunctional Youth"

Also, the 8th graders are in a different lunch than the upper class men. Your article makes it seem like its upper class men that are "shaking down" the 8th graders for their lunch money. Its really another 8th grader that was doing it, and he is kicked out of DY now. Also the 8th graders have a different passing time than the rest of the upper class men to further get rid of bulling and to protect them. So your article is off base and your facts are wrong. So at least change the facts.

On Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 11:58 PM, olivia dean wrote:

Hello, my name is Olivia Dean. I am a sophomore at Dennis Yarmouth Regional High School, and i am very hurt by the article published 'D-Y's "Dysfunctional Youth."' Not only is this article cruel to the school's name but also to the students. Did you even think about how a title like this one makes the students feel? "D-Y's "Dysfunctional Youth"' I personally feel attacked by this title. Are you trying to call me dysfunctional? I am an aspiring Neurosurgeon, I volunteer at Cape Cod Hospital so I must be dysfunctional correct? You are welcome to your opinion but its just that, an opinion. And I happen to know a fact, every school has bullies. Its a known fact, so by "targeting" DY like this, makes you look bad. How about Barnstable? Have you looked at their school? Also, "This "teamwork" uses electronic tools too, but in a different way. The "tools" I am referring to are two students with ankle monitoring bracelets in the program. We all know you don't get these for good behavior or because a kid made a "bad choice".It's more like the kid is a major problem and is getting a head start on their "career choice"" your quote, okay so the kid made a bad choice did something wrong but what you lack on this is your research, there's a lot of ways to get an ankle monitor. They didn't necessarily hurt someone. Also, the kids getting an education, what gives you the right to say they don't belong or deserve a chance like this one. "The other "Teamwork" happens because the eight grade hall is near the tenth grade hall. Evidently this is not by coincidence as these two grades also share the gym together for Physical Education class and change in the same locker room. Really? I can't imagine that this is emotionally healthily or free of any bullying. No seriously, did educated people really come up with these variables? Technology is great and so is mentoring, but I don't imagine this is how these student expected to be exposed to it." Again your quote, I'm not saying i support or don't support the pilot program but I do think it gives these kids a better opportunity. Look at the size of DY we don't have enough room for these extra kids as it is. So yes they have to share a gym class and a locker room. However, just because someone gets bullied doesn't mean everyone participates in this act. Besides what do you think happens in real life? People get bullied. At least at DY if the children bring it to the attention of Mr.Morrison, or even a trusted teacher, the act will be written down on a statement pad and taken care of. Not every case results in the bully getting suspended, but at least someone knows and can help the victim. Everyone in DY is a family, we might be at each others throats sometimes but we all come together when we have to. I find this article distasteful. I would like this article revised, or simply taken off. Or at least hear my words and know that people from DY do not think what you are saying is okay. Thank you for your time.

Olivia Dean.

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