I believe in giving people a voice when others refuse to…so I am sharing a LETTER TO THE EDITOR from someone who wants answers.

“I attended the South Winneshiek School Board meeting Monday February 11, 2019 with all intentions of speaking.  The audience was addressed and told you have one minute to get up from your seat and place your name on a sheet of paper in order to be recognized or even have a chance to speak. They decided at the last minute to amend the agenda: “Moved by Schroeder and seconded by Busch to approve the agenda as amended by welcoming visitors before consent items, removing spotlight on education and removing administrative reports. Motion carried unanimously. “Assuming that they took a very important item off the agenda, I felt it was better to listen than voice my opinion.  It was kind of overwhelming to say the least and a bit rushed.  The meeting lasted a total of 19 minutes.  I was absolutely floored that with all of attention that South Winneshiek has received in the last few weeks that nothing was said by the School Board regarding the events that have occurred there.  KWWL had cameras rolling, this would have been the perfect chance for them to at least let the public know what they are doing to be proactive for the Student Body.  What I have to say I know for a fact there are plenty of others wondering the same.

My name is Janice Baker.  I graduated from South Winn in 95.  Both of our children graduated from here in 2013 – 2015, we even moved out of the district when our daughter was a freshman and open enrolled both of our kids back into the district, so they could attend the school that they had always went to.  We have a niece and nephew who are students at the Elementary and Jr High.  We also have a nephew who attends South Winn High School, and at some point, our grandchildren will be students in the district.

WE as a community need answers…. YOU need to fix the issues YOU have with bullying in YOUR district.

How is it that none of you (administrators) had not heard the rumors?  I find this extremely hard to believe.   How can any of you admit that no one caught wind of these rumors?  Some of you have kids in school, right?

Besides the email that teachers were instructed to read to the students during class, what are you doing or what have you done for the Student body regarding bringing consolers in to talk to these kids?

To quote the editors of the email” ** Most of you are aware (more or less) of the recent blog posted on line about a (bullying??) issue here at South Winn. 

The email goes on to say “** In regard to information that has been or is posted on social media – it is important to recognize not all information you see on social media is accurate or complete.  It is also important to remember that in emotional and complex situations like this, people quickly take words out of context and only see what they want to see.  We strongly recommend that students and staff refrain from reacting to what they may see on line.  More often than not, it will only serve to fan discontent or be taken out of context entirely.  Instead, focus on supporting your fellow students and community members.” (these are the exact words from the email)

It was more than just bullying ??….AN ASSAULT happened, and when you sent this email you knew it was an assault not just bullying??  This is not a case of boys being boys.  This was a situation being taken too far and to the point of an assault occurring and being displayed for the world to see.

Students are read this email, and yet to date, what kind of support have you given them?

To carry on everyday like nothing has happened?  Like what you portrayed at your board meeting.  Stop turning a blind eye to a serious situation.  Address it.  TALK to the student body.   If you don’t address the issue and give these kids a chance to ask their questions, then you are the ones letting discontent run rapid through our community or as one person put it created “A National Enquirer” atmosphere around the school, town, and community.

Students, parents, and perhaps staff will continue to look to the internet for answers if you as a district do not take a stand and say not in our school and face the issue head on.

As far as your internal investigation is concerned don’t you think it would have been better handled by an independent 3rd party not affiliated with the district?  It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the web that exists.

We need answers to the questions that way too many people are afraid to ask.”

Janice Baker

South Winneshiek Alumni, parent, grandparent, Aunt

Fort Atkinson, Iowa