Parents Complain About MS Valentine Tradition

(02/08/2006)

Dear Editor,

We have just become aware that the Principal of Calhoun Middle/High School, Mr. Michael Offutt, has banned students from receiving flowers or gifts at school on Valentine's Day. This practice has been allowed in schools for as long as any of us can remember. Many students order flowers for special friends while parents and grandparents send flowers to grandchildren.

The students are not given the flowers until the end of the day so as to minimize disruption of class time. The reason given for taking this action is a lack of staff to receive and distribute the flowers and gifts, and a disruption of instructional time.

Valentine's Day is a special time for young people and they look forward to the day. This is just another activity that students enjoy being taken away because of reasons they have nothing to do with.

Why did Mr. Offutt wait until just a few days prior to the holiday to make this decision? If parents had known about the concerns Mr. Offutt expressed, we could have secured volunteers to assist in receiving and distributing the flowers.

This was the practice at the school in the past, but a parent who called today and offered to organize parent volunteers, was told the decision was final. To our knowledge as of today, February 7, the students have not even been told of the decision. It would seem to us that before stopping an activity so enjoyed by students, that school administration would explore avenues that would allow this fun day to continue for the students.

In addition to the students, local florists have already had to purchase flowers in anticipation of the day, and will suffer substantial financial loss as a result. It would seem a much more reasonable approach would be to allow the day to go on as usual this year, and address the school concerns prior to next year. To take this drastic approach so near the holiday is grossly unfair to both the students and the local florists.

Signed,

Amie Carper
Sheldon Carper
Shelly Mace
Jennifer Miller
Sharon Laughlin
Irona Yeager
Susie Brannon
Chris McKown
Cheri Laughlin
Terri Marks
Jennifer Bell
Lisa Goodrich
Colleen Burrows
Julie Burrows
Jennifer Hall
Sharlene King
Wavalene McCoy
Melinda Jones
Michael Long
Julie Long
Gilford McCoy
Darlene Nicholas
Barb Freed
Amanda Slider
Karen Altizer
Dianne Morris
Brenda Greathouse