A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small: An Open Letter to the Wappingers Central School District

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, Family, In the Wild, Pondering

I’ve had a very upsetting week. Rather than repeat myself, the letter I’ve written below is the best way to start. So let’s jump in…

An Open Letter to the Wappingers Central School District:


In today’s complicated real estate market, trying to time a move to a new home, with children and their schooling, is enough to give a parent premature grey hair. Wait too long and you lose the house. Move before the school year is over and you must make complicated arrangements to accommodate their education. My husband and I recently found ourselves in just such a predicament. We handled it the way we were raised—honestly and believing that educators put the needs of children above all else.


I am very disappointed we were so naïve and trusting in this process. I am ashamed to say that after the nightmare of the last two days, if I could do it all over again, I would take a less than honorable approach to my interactions with the Wappingers Central School District. Despite the example I have set for my children, WCSD has taught my sons that honesty is not rewarded and deception is.


To make a long story shorter, I was transparent with WCSD about my move and my request for my two children to remain in their elementary school until the end of the year. In my written request to Jose Carrion, Assistant Superintendent for Administration, I laid out my children’s needs, particularly that of my 10-year-old son, who is a graduating 5th grader at Fishkill Elementary. He has been a Fishkill Frog since kindergarten and as a family we have deeply invested ourselves in the school community. But our situation goes beyond the normal emotional attachments, although in my opinion, that alone should be enough of a reason to treat a family with compassion.


My son is also a special needs student with an IEP for reading and writing challenges and quite frankly, this year’s implementation of the Core Curriculum has thrown him for a loop. It has taken him until just recently to find the right balance of support and accommodations to start being more successful at school. In the last three weeks I have seen a tremendous change in his work ethic and his small successes have led to pride and more academic growth. His self-esteem has reached an all time high and he was on track to finish this year as a proud graduate. In reaching out to Mr. Carrion, my primary concern was that no matter how wonderful the new school he’ll be attending, I am convinced that he will suffer tremendously by making a change at such a late date in the school year. I am very concerned, with testing requirements and core curriculum demands, that he will loose ground, do poorly on his mandatory exams and take a huge hit in his budding confidence.


Everything fell apart on Tuesday morning, February 11, 2014. Quite by accident, I discovered my children were being kicked out of the district. Thursday, February 13, 2014 would be their last day and we were anticipating a snow day. So, in actuality, the very next day would be their last and they had no idea. I am still in shock about how this was handled. As I write this, I have yet to receive any official paperwork from the district on this matter. At my request, a district secretary was at least able to extend the boy’s last day to Friday February 21, 2014.


Tuesday morning, in a panic, I immediately called the office of the Superintendent and after several hours of no response I called again. I was told that Mr. Carrion’s office would be contacting me. After still no response, I went to the Administrative offices to speak to Mr. Carrion or the Superintendent directly. I offered to wait in the lobby from 12:30 to 3:00, the time I needed to leave to pick up my children, but I was told no one was available. I was offered a 2pm appointment with Mr. Carrion the next day. I was also advised that my appointment would be a face-to-face delivery of the same disappointing news.


Sick to my stomach, I then headed over to the school to pick up my boys and break the news to them. It is an understatement to say that my 5th grader was wrecked. He was almost inconsolable, but he knew I had an appointment the next day with Mr. Carrion. Unfortunately, he viewed Mr. Carrion as an extension of the men and women he’s familiar with at Fishkill Elementary—adults who might not be able to fix everything– but who always took a personal interest in him. Someone he could trust. My child was hopeful he’d be able to stay for the remaining couple months of school.


My 2:00 pm meeting with Mr. Carrion has ignited a flame of fury in my gut. While I will admit that Mr. Carrion had a smile on his face, I will also tell you it was a smug one. He intimated that my persistence in trying to get an appointment to see him was excessive. In my opinion, he took great pleasure in his ability to “put me in my place” as he laid the highlighted district policy out before me. I was told I could take it to any lawyer I wanted and it would hold up in court. What I wasn’t told was how sorry he was that the school policy didn’t allow for exceptions to the rule. He also never asked how my children were doing. He wasn’t kind or sympathetic. I felt like he thought I was someone he had to “deal with.” And despite having sent him a personal request, he never spoke with the principal, teachers or school psychologist at Fishkill Elementary. We were rubber-stamped. The conclusion I’ve arrive at from our meeting–he has absolutely no interest in my child as a person. Instead, all of his energy was directed at proving me wrong. What is an administrator like that doing involved with the education of children and the parent relations that accompany it?


I would also like to point out that Mr. Carrion went on the record confirming that never in the history of the district has there ever been an exception made to this out-of-district-policy–and there never would be. When I asked about the fate of graduating high school seniors, who find themselves in a similar predicament, his response was an almost gleeful—“They move.” And while this may very well be the sad legacy of the WCSD, I personally find it a bit horrifying. Most school districts do not do this to their children. They allow decisions to be made at the discretion of those in positions of authority.


I would also like to point out that I personally feel betrayed by the district. My husband and I have gone above and beyond when it comes to my 13-year-old son who is dyslexic and has been attending the private school since 4th grade. We did not seek out the services of a lawyer to battle the district for his tuition. Being a former special education teacher, I believe we had more than a leg to stand. And while I cannot predict if we would have won, I can assure you we would have tied the district up in enormous legal fees for a very long time. I never wanted to do that. I’ve always felt education money should be focused on children. Additionally, I never wanted there to be a single instance where the teachers or administration of the Fishkill Elementary School felt their care and dedication to my son, hadn’t been appreciated by our family. It was never from a lack of effort or love that they were not able to meet his educational needs. They still remain supportive of him today. I’ve learned–too late–that this trusting relationship I believed I had with the district was one sided.


I would also like to point out, that in our effort to do the right thing by the district, we reached out to Mr. Carrion to prevent you from paying unnecessary transportation fees. If I could go back and do it again, I would’ve paid out of pocket and transported my 13-year-old myself, never contacted the new district until June and allowed the WCSD to pick up the bill. I would also like to point out that the poor quality of the transportation your district provided was instrumental in our decision to move in the first place. It is on record with the WCSD transportation office that our driver was continuously late causing my son to be tardy for class. On one occasion, no one showed up to bring him home from school and I was never notified this was occurring. Of course, that was because they had no idea their driver was missing. I’m glad I’ve provided my son with a cell phone, because after much miscommunication, he didn’t arrive home until 8pm that evening. Additionally, I recently discovered his driver was stopping to smoke with the children in the vehicle. Even worse, she was returning to the bus with a lit cigarette. When an asthmatic child complained, the driver suggested he get an inhaler. This is not a complete list of what we’ve had to deal with.


I am absolutely convinced that I could have gotten away with any duplicity involving my child’s transportation. After contacting his transportation and the Special Education Department at WCSD and explaining we were no longer using their transportation (approximately three weeks later) I received an urgent message from the transportation company asking if it would be okay to drop my son off at the house for an early school dismissal. Incompetence.


Yesterday, after meeting with Mr. Carrion, I picked up my children from school and I was surrounded by a group of young 5th grade men who were looking to me for answers. They wanted to know why the school district would do this to their best friend. They were asking if my 10-year-old would still be able to attend the 5th grade overnight field trip to Philadelphia or if he’d be standing with them for graduation. Their parents stood around with their jaws hanging open—appalled. I didn’t have answers for anyone. I explain that we offered to pay tuition for the children so the boys could stay, but that was denied. I’ve even offered to pay the new district the tuition so they could pay the WSCD. Nothing seems to be possible. I’m trying hard to live with the emotions that come from knowing I failed my children by not lying.


After I left Fishkill Elementary, I took my two boys to the new school they’ll be attending. The 10-year-old barely made it out of the building before he broke down. He told me he held it in because he didn’t want the new principal to think he didn’t like them–he just wanted to graduate with his friends. I hugged him and said all the right things about adversity and life’s disappointments. But because I’m not prone to lying, I also told him the administration of the Wappingers Central School District had behaved cruelly and demonstrated they cared more about politics and bureaucracy than they do about him. I told him the people who made this decision have never laid eyes on him and they probably have never reviewed his file. They certainly didn’t talk to the administration, teachers and staff at Fishkill Elementary. I told my son that I’d tried my best to fix this, but WCSD hadn’t cared enough to investigate a possible solution. I told him they’ve demonstrated he is not nearly as important as a test or a textbook or a dollar.


And then I hugged him again and dried his tears because that’s all I can do.


Wait—I stand corrected.


I can continue to tell the truth and write about it.



Kimberly Sabatini




I did give the Wappingers Central School District the opportunity to view this letter before I publicly posted it. I received a timely response from them today…


Dear Mrs. Kimberly Sabatini:


 I acknowledge receipt of your letter on behalf of the Board of Education. I apologize on behalf of the Board for the inconvenience caused to you while you were waiting to meet our administration officials. As you can understand that we are a very large school district and administrators have many responsibilities and a very busy schedule.  We appreciate your candor, and very much sympathize with the difficulties presented by your mid-year move out of the District. I have spoken with our Superintendent and attorneys.


 Our attorneys have advised us, however, that under state law, only residents of the District are entitled to attend schools on a tuition-free basis.  The only exception allowed by the Commissioner of Education (and the District) is where a high-school senior moves out in the middle of their senior year.


 Accordingly, the Board is prohibited from allowing your children to finish out the school year on a tuition-free basis.


 Please be assured that the District will do everything it can to assure a smooth transition of records to your new District. If we can do anything to assist you , please do not hesitate to contact us again.




Ved Shravah


Wappingers Board of Education.


Of course I thanked President Shravah for his timely response and his candor. I also indicated I’d be contacting the Commissioner of Education to let him know how disappointed I am with this policy. Additionally, I mentioned that while I did appreciate the busy schedules of the administrators, I hoped Mr. Jose Carrion would be called to task for his rude behavior. An apology for his comments was suspiciously absent from the district’s response.

So where do I stand now? I’m still sad. I’m still angry. I’m still disappointed. But I feel as if this isn’t just my story. I know of many, many parents in this district and in other districts who are experiencing these same kinds of troubles and frustrations. No one is being heard. We must adapt without complaint to Core Curriculum and testing demands, but when we need flexibility, there is none. We have been told that no child should be left behind in the modern age of public education, but what does that really mean in the big scheme of things? Because my child will be left behind when his peers go on the end of the year field trip. And he will also be left behind when they all stand up together for their moving up ceremony. Why is it too much to ask that decisions be made in the best for our kids instead of the lawyers.

The big picture is that parents are just trying to give their children a quality education–one that takes into account their emotional well being as much as their academic one.

I would consider it a personal favor if you would Facebook, Tweet and use any other form of social media to get this Open Letter to the Wappingers Central School District out into the light. This has had a direct impact on my children, but I truly believe mine are not going to be the last kids to be in this situation. I’m also not going to be the last Mom to be bullied by a school administrator. We teach our kids to be kind and honest and it’s time we expect the same behavior from the adults. I know it sounds corny, but I’m picturing the Who’s from Horton Hears a Who. It appears it takes EVERY voice for all of us to have any voice at all.


If you have more to say, you can respectfully speak out here:

* Ved Shravah, President of the Wappingers Central School District Board of Education

*Marco Pochintesta, Superintendent of the Wappingers Central School District

*Jose Carrion, Assistant Superintendent of the Wappingers Central School District

*Commissioner of Education, Dr. John B. King Jr.

New York State Education Department
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234

I have yet to find an email for Dr. King, but he is on Twitter.

Looking for a pre-made tweet?

Please reconsider the NYS Edu. policy for moving out-of-district mid-school year. @JohnKingNYSED #apersonsaperson http://wp.me/p28fhl-Wt






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100 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. I’m so disappointed in the way they handled this. And their letter to you keeps stating “tuition-free” yet you offered to pay tuition. It seems to me that their letter leaves room for you to demand they take back your kids if you pay tuition. Your lawyer should be able to argue that. I hope you get resolution soon. Hugs.

    • I’ve been told they have a no tuition policy also. Thanks so much for the love and support.

  2. My FB page has blown up with supportive comments–I made the thread public if anyone wants to check it out… https://www.facebook.com/kimberly.j.sabatini

  3. Oh, Kim. I am so sorry your family is going through this. Your move to your new house should be a time filled with joy, not marred by a senseless situation like this. How those people can look at themselves in the mirror is beyond me.

    I applaud you for taking this step to make it public.

    • Thanks Linda–we will move forward in the best way for the kids but I think I’d be remiss in letting it just slid under the table. It feels like that tactic works in their favor all too often. Love you sistah. <3

  4. I sympathize with your frustration at the school district and, of course, your childrens’ heartbreak. It seems one possible solution would be to rent an apartment within their current schools zoning for a few months to be able to finish the year as you would then have an in district address.

    • Thought of that, but it has to be your primary residence and that just won’t work out for us with the kids in different schools. Would have been a fabulous answer though. :o)

  5. Sounds like a pompous ass with a superiority complex. I would go right to the State Dept of Education in your state. Good Luck!

  6. I am sorry to hear your story. If you really wanted your kids to be in the district or the same school then that should have been your priority -moving after the school year. Almost all businesses and institutions néed to stick to their policies. The exception can be like it is – high school kids or graduating kids. I know many families that waste a lot On rent or whose spouses commute longer distances because they do not want their kids to change schools. No use blaming the district. We as parents need to have foresight when it comes to our kids happiness and safety. We are the ones to blame for our troubles.once again, just as much as I sympathize with you I feel you should have gotten your priorities right. I do not think you blaming WCSD puts them in bad light.

    Please be more considerate to your kids . You know them more than anyone else . No use blaming others. By creating this blog I think you are airing yourself as a negligent, hasty mom just out to blame others for your lack of planning.

    • I respect your point of view and tried my very best to make this move happen at a time which would not interfere with their schooling but I couldn’t make it work. I do understand that Districts have to have policies in place, but MANY districts DO have policies that take this type of situation into account and they work with parents and students to arrive at the best outcome for the kids. But thank you for taking the time to give another opinion.

  7. Awful. This could happen to anyone – and my initial way to handle the move would have been the same as yours. Now I’m rethinking that – and if I’m ever faced with that situation, I will be calling the district offices anonymously to find out what their policy is. I’m so sorry this happened to your sons. I have a 5th grade daughter myself, and I know she would be devastated if she were forced to leave her school unexpectedly.

    • I’m not advocating that folks go out and lie but I admit I would have done it differently in retrospect.

  8. @ Aki

    Every September landowners have the distinct priviledge of paying their School Taxes, up front, for the priviledge of sending their children to that school district, or in my case to send YOUR children to school.

    I don’t mind it, that’s how I went to school

    However, these fees, in taxes are paid up front. Funds from the state are distributed to the schools based on the children attending the school in that school year.

    Therefore fianancially it seems that this mother already paid for the school year for her chilren.

    Also, you should be aware that many parents out of the poughkeepsie school district drive their children to school each day and keep a mailing address in the school district they want their children to attend, and most people are aware of whom they are. So someone who actually started the year in the school district by living in the school district, and is not asking to stay in the school beyond this year, I think, as the person paying these dimwits salaries, she should be able to stay.

    Also, stop calling her a bad parent. She tried to do the right thing, it just didn’t work out.

    • Ha! So I should at least get a refund? Right? Thank you so much for all the love and support. <3

      • I’ve got to say that I was thinking about school taxes as well, Kim. Our taxes in Dutchess County, any district, are not an insignificant amount…. and you really HAVE paid for the school year up front. This almost seems like a lawsuit in the making.

        • It is an interesting question–looking into it. <3

          • I may get the Most Frequent Poster award on this thread…. but I can’t stop thinking about it. I was telling my husband about your plight, and he played devil’s advocate, reminding me that when you close on your house sale, the buyer refunds the pro-rated difference of the school taxes you paid for the remainder of the year. I forgot about that. That being said, I still think there should be a way to pay tuition for the remainder of the year if you have been a resident of the district for half the year. They need to put some rules into effect that take the children into consideration. I do understand that a school has to have policies and run somewhat like a business…. but the “product” here is a child, and ultimately, those kids go out into the world as examples of what WCSD does NOT provide…. If they need it in business terms, then the bottom line is that house prices decrease in school districts that are seen as sub-par.

        • My hubby and I thought about that also last night. Grrrrrrr

  9. How frustrating for you and your boys! I am so sorry you have to go through this. I used to work as an elementary counselor in a school district with a similar policy (although they did have an exorbitant tuition policy) and they applied that policy based on favoritism. Some families had to transfer their kids and others were given the benefit of a blind eye. It was one of the MANY things that made my blood boil there – because as you said, it sends a clear message that the administration doesn’t give a rat’s behind about the emotional well-being of their students. Here’s hoping that this difficult transition at such a time will end up a blessing in disguise.

    • Exactly–ALL children should have the benefit of compassion. And it absolutely can have a date on how long the extension is viable. There doesn’t have to be abuse in the system–people DO abuse it because they are given next to no options to do something that supports the needs of the kids.

  10. This is awful. Sending love to you and your sons.

  11. I am sorry you had to put up with this foolishness. This is why I stopped teaching. The school districts are being run like a fortune 500 company. No one cares about the welfare of the students. For the last two weeks I have been dealing with the same thing with THURGOOD MARSHALL FUNDAMENTAL SCHOOL in Pinellas County, Florida. The principal and the adults in the school has created a false “caring” environment. As they sit behind close doors and pretend that they care about the children and stabbing them in the back profusely.

    We finally got a plan in place, but with the IEP, we know that students with disabilities, will have a hard time “adopting” a new environment while “adapting” to the change in their lives. You are not asking for a lot. I am sure you will be the one to drop him off and pick him up, so nothing elaborate. That is why more parents are taking over the schools and moving their children to Charter schools. Them telling you about the lawyers is to intimidate you. You should make a copy of the IEP, gather the letter you wrote, document the dates and time of each person you come in contact with, then contact your congressman or senator. Trust me, the IEP and showing the effect this move will have on this child to be uprooted will show that it will affect his emotional needs as documented on the IEP.

    You voted for you Senators and Congressman to speak for you. No one wants to know that a school district will not “ACCOMMODATE” a student with an IEP.

    I did this for years. I know how it works. Good luck 😀

    • Thank you so much for the info and I’m so sorry that you’ve been going through the same thing. There is a place for business–even in the schools but it should never be bigger than the students who fill it’s walls.

  12. I am so sorry for your plight. The person that answered prior stating it was your blame is out of touch with the way things sometimes do not fall into convenient places. As far as Mr. Carrion’s detached treatment of you, unfortunately, this is what this school Board’s entire attitutde is. If, on fact, your taxes were paid for your District at the beginning of the school year I would contact an attorney regarding this because if the Board is not willing to “bend” forthe remaining few months so your child may move up with the rest of his classmates, I would work on the premise that he be allowed to return for the moving up ceremony and field trip. He worked towards that goal and there is no founded reason he shouldn’t be allowed tto partake in this milestone in his educational life. After all, Ved Shravah lives out of District, it’s been proved, yet overlooked, but he is still President of this Board even though the requirements state he should NOT be. If you would PM me or email me privately, I also have another alternate that can’t be contested that might work for your situation. My prayers are with you and family.

    • Wow–how interesting. The rules only apply so some people?

      • Kim there definitely is selectavision when deciding whom the rules will be applied to and who will get away with overtly ignoring them. I know of so many families in your position who kept a move to themselves and just quietly provided transportation to and from school for their children. So many have false addresses in the district yet live outside the WCSD borders in a “less” desirable district. I am so very sorry for your family and the transition that must be made despite how it will not only have an emotional effect but also interfere with your son’s academic process. I cried while reading your open letter and wish you all the best in your new home. May your new home be filled with love. laughter, blessings and happiness and not marred by this unfortunate incident. Perhaps with prayers and a positive outlook the unfortunate move will actually benefit your son academically by placing him in the perfect learning environment for his needs. Hugs and prayers be with you and please try to move forward with a positive outlook as that will also have an effect on how your sons perceive the move.

    • I can’t seem to get your email to come up. Could you write me here–there is a contact button.

    • Hello Diane,

      I found your posts on the open letter to Wappingers School District, and if you have a minute, was wondering if you have a suggestion about our situation. We just moved to the Wappingers School District late May and was told today upon registering my two daughters that they cannot attend the same school, Fishkill Plains, because Kinder is full. Thus they offered to accomodate my 5 year old in another school and provide a van, and then she’ll have to to switch to Fishkill Plains next year. All these changes are not good for 5 year old and separating them is also tough. Any suggestions on what I can do or who I can talk to to get them both in Fishkill Plains this year? Thanks, Frank

      • Fight them! The redistricting was not done in a fair minded manner. Tell Mr. Carrion that this is a 5 year old and 1 child to be kept in the same school with her sibling will not destroy their “order”. Use the argument that special accommodations were afforded a Board member for HER children and because she wanted to sell her house. Also try contacting Anne LaValle and Deborah Torres Henning to offer more concise argument for your daughter. Stay in touch and good luck.

      • I Frank–I’m so sorry to hear this. I feel your frustration. I’m going to respond with the most honest and true advice I can give you based on my own experiences. First of all, I fought like crazy to do what was the best thing for my kids. It was a very traumatic time and I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge how hard it was on my 5th grader at the time. It remained hard for about a year and then it got better–slowly and then–much better. And he turned around one day and told us he was so happy in his new school with his new friends, he wished we moved him earlier. My suggestion is not that you move–I know you just did. But while there is PLENTY wrong with the WCSD, there is also many amazing things that happen there. So take heart. You’ll find the silver lining in this situation. I’ve had a parade of wonderful teachers walk through my children’s lives–so no regrets with that. And we made wonderful friends while in the WCSD. And I also want to tell you that children are resilient. And they take their cues from us. I would absolutely fight this and see if there is anything you can do to change it. But don’t let your little ones think for a moment there is anything wrong with the set up you might not be able to avoid. If it can’t be changed, make it an exciting adventure. I’d also like to share that there came a time when me fighting with the district would have been more about me and less about what my kids needed. So I walked away from the fight because it didn’t benefit my kids. It was like rubbing salt into a healing wound. I wanted justice. I wanted an apology. They needed something different from me. Having said that, I won’t ever forget how they treated us and I’m very happy with our decision to move to a smaller school district. But I’ve already told the boys that every amazing thing they ever do in their lives that involves making a speech–I’m requesting that they give a very tiny, kind of sarcastic thank you to the WCSD. :o) Wishing you well on this–would love it if you let me know how this all turns out.

  13. Hugs to your and your boys, Kim! It’s a terrible situation when children are made to suffer for black-and-white school policies, and that you have been made to feel guilty for being transparent and attempting to do the right thing.

    You are right that this type of situation occurs in other districts. I was in the unfortunate position to be in a middle school that got split between our two town high schools. For many years students in that situation had been allowed to go out of district to the high school of their choice. Due to overcrowding issues, my year was not allowed to do this (and it was only a year or two later that they changed the policy again and allowed students to go out of district). They didn’t care that all my friends and my boyfriend were going to the other school. They didn’t care that I had spent the entire summer practicing with a team I would never play on. Bottom line, my take away was that they didn’t care about me.

    Though it was an adjustment, I ended up making new friends and making the varsity team as a freshman on my new school. In the end, things worked out okay for me. I hope they do for you and your boys as well.

    • I’m glad to hear that in the end it worked out for you. I know with time, my guys will love their new school, but this shouldn’t have been the time. 🙁

  14. Can you rent something cheap in the district for a couple of months? Use that as you’re home.

    • No, I wish I could. My stance on this is that I’ve been honest in my interactions and even though I would go back and do it differently if I had the chance, the door has closed on this. 🙁

  15. What a cruel, mean, heartless, egotistical, heavy handed, self centered, unreasonable, and despicable man. He should be ashamed, but I suspect the only regret he could be made to feel is the regret that would come from being publicly ridiculed. Force him to his knees! Wipe that smug expression off his face with a social media backlass! Post his contact information so your supporters can send a message. And not just his contact info … His boss, his administrative staff, and others so he knows the people HE WANTS support from know what people think of his handling of the matter.

    I can imagine how upsetting the experience is for your family. I hope you find a positive way to channel the energy and emotions and that all is well that ends well. As an author I don’t have to tell you about finding an good ending.

    • Love you, Bob! I don’t think it’s right that the powers that be in a place we have a no tolerance for bullying, can get away with bullying parents in order to get what they want. I have seen it time and time again in this district where a parent asks for some sort of assistance with their child and the district says NO. The majority of parents take them at face value but the ones who know their rights GET what they asked for. This is why I decided to stand up and speak out. It might not change my situation, but the next parent coming along may not have the same ability to speak out that I do. I feel obligated to make sure I did what I could to change this inappropriate behavior. Thanks for the love and support. <3

  16. http://youtu.be/BdKFwzZImHE
    Watch this video. This is me “Grandma” and I have taken this Board to task many times and do not relent on them. Contact me and I will try my DARNDEST to find solutions around this for your son.

    • It is obvious how much you care about your grandchildren. (((((hugs)))))

  17. I am having great difficulty getting into wordpress and I am requesting that you friend me on FB so I can “talk” with you directly. Email seems to be a problemk because I must go through wordpress and it is not connecting for me for some reason

  18. So sorry for your issue. However, it was your educational issues that caught my attention. We’ve been battling the district for years to help our now-11-year-old son who probably has dyslexia (but they won’t test for it). He cannot read or write and has many other issues. Every year the district makes him a new IEP, even though he has never successfully completed the tasks from the current year. The district has failed him miserably, and it’s getting harder and harder to reach him. He has now been moved into classes where he is “managed” rather than taught.

    There have to be many parents like us feeling beaten and disheartened by the callous attitude of the district. We need to come together to bring attention to these issues. I think many people hide because they are afraid of having their children be labelled in public. But it’s better to be known and helped than to be invisible and have your potential wasted!

    Please, if you are in this situation or know someone who is, email me: coralbeauty@mac.com. Together maybe we have a chance to help our children before it’s too late.

    • Thank you, Dianne. I’m so sorry about your child. No one should have to watch their child not get what they need year after year. I hope by standing together and speaking out we get that voice that is needed to make some changes. (((((hugs)))))

  19. Had a similar response from the former assistant Superintendant of Arlington. Many years back. As a director of a children’s program, I completely understand policy and procedures. However… Sometimes if a parent pleads a legit case, I will make exceptions to a rule.
    What completely dismayed me and my husband was the lack of dialog, compassion or communication other than a recitation of. Policy. My daughter suffered emotionally and scholastically and the district spent valuable time and resources “fixing” the problem for a few years afterwards.
    We understand the enormous job at hand, running a school district. It seems all time, energy and dollars (our dollars, mind you) are funneled into resources for “needy” children, usually from homes with parents that don’t give a crap about education. I for one am glad I am almost at the home stretch with my last child, in a school system (since 1999). That constantly trips over its board and administration. Good luck

    • THIS!!!! This is exactly why I’m so angry and YES–I do understand that there MUST be an element of business and policy in the big picture. In fact, I’d go so far as to argue that administrators do not do a good enough job protecting their teachers from parents who think that everyone but them should be doing the parenting. But the lack of compassion made this a pill I could not swallow.

  20. I’m sorry for what you’re experiencing and pray it works out for your children’s best interest. Realize you’ve taught your children that, doing the honest thing is what’s important no matter what the results. You have your integrity and your children will follow in your footsteps.
    I have to wonder about the implication of the school taxes. My daughter graduated years ago and I continue the privilege of paying school taxes. I’m sure the same situation can be said in your district and wonder if that’s the way the district should be looking at it. Public school is free because of the taxes we all pay. I find it quite disgusting that he would say you need to pay for your free education. If that is the case, start refunding those of us without kids.

    • I’ve paid my taxes for the year. And I was still willing to pay more. I understand if NO ONE has ever been given an exception in the district. I can respect that with the proper delivery, but knowing what I know and am continuing to find out, I doubt this is the case.

  21. You poor thing! I wish I could hug you and your children right now! I feel for you. As the mother of two and a resident of Wappinger Falls, I’m very concerned about the attitudes and policies of this school district. Prior to reading your open letter, I had already decided to send my children to St Mary’s of Fishkill. After reading your letter, I’m even more convinced that I made the right decision!

    • I’ll take that hug and I’m wishing your kids all the best of luck. I will say, because it bears repeating, FISHKILL ELEMENTARY Teachers and administration have been loving and kind to me and my children. They are great people!

  22. I had a similar run in with an administrator that told me I could complain all I wanted too, they would believe him over me. My children all then went to Private School. That created issues with transportation also. I was told it was a privilege for my children to get out of district transport. I pointed out I paid school taxes for my home and all I received was transport so in effect, I was a bargain to them. I was hung up on.

    • They ALWAYS say NO First and hope that the parent is uneducated enough to know better. I’ve counseled many parents over the years on how to get their child evaluated for special education services they were told they were not entitled to. As a special ed teacher I knew the law. They would have walked away without knowing it was their legal right. And YES! The mentality is that NO ONE will believe YOU over ME. Sickens me and that’s why I decided to speak out.

  23. I know many a parent in the Newburgh school district who has dealt with this in much the same way others do, get that “in district ” address and drive them to school for the remainder of the school year.. I used to be critical of them doing this…now I am, sad to say, not as critical. Also, I know Jose Carrion. He worked at GAMS Tech, where all 3 of my children attended many years ago….this makes me very sad to hear–we had always enjoyed a good relationship with him (this is going back many yrs now- my 3 are all out of high school at least 2 yrs). I pray your son will get through this time, it is really a grieving period for him now- a big loss in his life. I am so sorry you have to go through this! I hope that changes canand will be made for those who are not out to beat the system, like yourselves.

    • Thank you Bonnie. It’s heartening to hear that Mr. Carrion has had some better days. Maybe he can recalibrate for the future.

  24. I am sorry to hear about this frustration. While I have nothing to offer but sympathy, I would like to say that I applaud your integrity and that you set that example for your children, even in the face of the dire consequences. This lesson, while horrid and completely unnecessary for a 5th grade child, is something that can never be taught in school. And while I am rooting for a happy ending, I realize that the administration showed no signs of compassion, understanding or interest in education. Your child, however, has learned to stick to his core values and that you stuck by him throughout the process. You and your son have exhibited far better behavior than the administration of Wappingers School District. Kudos to you and your family.

    That being said, I know that this doesn’t make it any easier. Hugs to your son (and to you).

    • Thank you and never underestimate how much better that makes me feel. <3

  25. We’ll I am disappointed nothing has changed since 1988. My mom remarried and moved to Hyde Park with her new husband, my sister who was a sophomore at RCK with a physical disability, she needed crutches and a wheelchair to get around. My sister had a very tight group of friends who were there for her when she needed any type of help and my mother did not want her to lose that by going to a new school where it is hard enough to make friends when you do not have any stigmas attached to you. My mom was a teacher in Beacon and she knew the difficulties of going to school in one district when you lived in an other, she rented a mailbox at a Wappingers post office and dropped off and picked up my sister off herself everyday. I know what my mom did was unethical by any standard but was also proud that she tried it for my sister. Eventually someone found out that my mom was doing this and let the school district know. My sister was kicked out immediately. She started going to Poughkeepsie Day School a few days later.

    • Parents shouldn’t be forced to be unethical for the good of their child. I know why rules are in place but I also know that no rule should be the the only answer to every individual situation. We are living in a world where the people who don’t care are setting the standards of acceptable practice for those who do care. Seems backwards to me.

  26. (((((((((((((((Kim))))))))))))))))))))). My heart goes out to you and the boys. Compassion goes out the window when it comes to policy. If they made an exception, which I’ve never seen, they would be setting a precedent for the future. Politics at its best and it stinks. Much love to you and the family. Xoxoxoxxoxoxoxo Julianne

    • I understand. Although I’ve heard that exceptions have been made under a previous Superintendent. *raises eyebrows* No exceptions is hard to argue with if it is truly held to–even if I don’t agree with it. It creates a culture where people will lie to do the best thing for their kids. Quite an ethical quandary for everyone.

  27. I feel bad for you and had a very similar experience I wanted to share. I only wish I turned to a blog about what happened with us.
    My children attended the Arlington School District. They experienced the loss of their Grandmother (my mom) which was painful. My mom left us her house which is in the Wappingers School District and just a few houses over the border of the Arlington District. We had our house in Arlington and a house in Wappingers which needed a lot of work. I didn’t notify Arlington because there was so much going on. We spent nights at the house in Wappingers taking care of things and also stayed in Arlington. I decided to get a post office box so I would have one central place to get mail instead of running between houses every day. A piece of mail was returned to Arlington for some reason and next thing I knew my daughter’s guidance counselor interrogated her to the point of tears. When she came home and told me what happened I made an appointment with the Superintendent of ACSD because I was furious about how my child was interrogated. He was too busy to see me so he sent his secretary to speak to my husband and I. She told us that the district goes by where you sleep and since we slept in the house in WCSD we would have to transfer the kids there! I explained how we had the two houses and were grieving and weren’t ready to make a decision about which house we would live in. Things were just too fresh for us with the loss. The secretary really didn’t care. She said the kids had to leave the district right away and in no uncertain terms. I asked if they could finish the year, the answer was no. I asked if they could finish the week so they could say goodbyes and the answer was also no. By the time I left that meeting I was annoyed by the whole thing. The fact that there was a death in our family and we suddenly found ourselves with a house meant nothing. I decided to take my kids out of Arlington and I went to Lagrange Middle School and took my son out. I explained to the school secretary what happened and she was so upset she called the Superintendent’s secretary. When I got home, the Superintendent’s secretary called me on the phone and said there must have been a misunderstanding on my part. I told her I had my husband as a witness to her telling us the kids had to leave ACSD right away. She stammered in her words and I told her I wasn’t going to argue anymore about it and that we suffered a huge loss and how she treated us was absolutely disgusting and because of it we decided WCSD was a better option.
    I was under the impression that the schools would do the right thing by the kids and make things as stress free as possible but they don’t. I would say it comes down to the almighty dollar but from my own personal experience I don’t know that it does. I paid school taxes to ACSD for years.
    I am sorry about your experience with WCSD but I have to say they welcomed my kids into the district and were very accommodating when it came to transferring the kids in the middle of the school year. My kids adjusted to the changes and adjusted well. I just wish they didn’t have to go through everything that they did.

    • Oh, horrible. I’m so sorry. I think what I’m hearing here is “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.” Seems like a problem that is much bigger than one district. How can we be unified on things like core and testing when there is no unity in the ethical treatment of families. Moving is NOT an easy process. Deaths in families is not an easy process. Special needs are not easy obstacles to over come. Why should the solution to these issues be any less complex. I am happy that your children did well. Every district has a wonderful swath of educators and staff that are devoted to children and their needs. I find they are usually as frustrated as we are. (((((hugs)))))

  28. I’ve not been through a situation like this one involving school, but have definitely had a few battles in my 56 years of life in which I felt total justification for my actions and had evidence and proof to back it up.

    Sometimes I won; sometimes I lost.

    Unfortunately, it will be a while before you can get over this; maybe never completely. I still look back on an incident involving one of my children that happened 7 years ago and still ask, “Why?” There are no lasting wounds to my daughter, but I still shake my head when I think of it.

    If you can get support and results from your efforts – especially if it helps the next family – then by all means, continue.

    If not, you’ll know when to let it go. Hang in there!

    • This IS about the next family. I’m not a brave person at heart. When all this wonderful support came in, I almost got overwhelmed. It is not easy to stand up and be a target. But here is what I know–we rise above the bull by standing on the backs of the great people who come before us. I want some child or parent to look back and know that I cared enough to speak out against something I believe is wrong. It may not change a thing for me but it may help me to feel better and my child to if we know we made a change for the better.

      • When it comes to our kids, we dig deep within ourselves and come up with whatever is necessary to defend and protect them.

        Thank you for responding.

  29. Sadly, this doesn’t surprise me at all. I’m a graduate of WCSD and when I was a Jr. in RCK my family was down on our luck and was homeless or close to homeless for over a year. Eventually I went to my guidance counselor for help and was told that I could be removed from the district because I didn’t have a verifiable address within the district (though at the time I was actually in a motel within the district borders), he then went on to say that I was obviously not college material anyway and that I should just drop out and find a niche in life like waitressing…I finally got out of that poor excuse of a school and yes I went on to college. 2 Master degrees later and I will never forget that experience as it has made me a much more compassionate educator.

    • I am ((((((((((hugging))))))))))) you so HARD!!!!!!! Thank you for being a class act, a brave person, a wonderful educator and a voice for all kids every where. You ROCK!

  30. I am appalled, but frankly not at all surprised at the callousness of the WCSD, especially Mr. Carion and Mr. Shravah. As Diane Santangelo mentioned, we have been in constant battle with the WCSD and the school board. I hope you plan on bringing this to the next board meeting on Feb 24th at 7:30 pm at Wappingers Jr High. I can tell you you will receive support from not only Diane and myself, but from other attendees fighting these morons tooth and nail!
    I would also like to invite you to join our fb group and page to keep abreast of our battle and action plans in fighting Common Core: New York Grassroots Against Common Core – https://www.facebook.com/groups/NewYorkGrassrootsAgaiinstCommonCore/

    ALSO: Please Like our sister PAGE: NY GUARDIANS – Protecting Our Children From Common Core….https://www.facebook.com/nyguardians

  31. I don’t live in your area, but as a teacher, I have seen some this happen to kids too often. It is never best for the kids to have to move if it is at all possible. They need their support system. I have even lied to the secretary and guidance counselor about whether my kids have moved or not. I don’t know how you would go about contacting them, but I believe there is supposed to be a Protection and Advocacy legal agency in each state to provide free legal assistance and/or advice for special needs students. I’ve called them myself for families and given them the number of the local office. Surely there is a way to argue that it is in his best interest as a learner with special needs to keep things consistent. Also, look for Badass Teachers on Facebook, maybe somewhere closer to you has some ideas. If it weren’t for administrators, we teachers could all do such a better job.

  32. I am so sorry to hear what you are going through because of the stupid educational politics that school districts like to play.
    It seems to me that the district says you must have a legal residence within the district boundaries where you live (sleep). If you were to rent an apartment for the purpose of sleeping there until June and declare that your legal residence I don’t see how the district can dispute that…particularly if the new district is informed and won’t receive your children because you are “living” in another district. I know this is all a difficult situation and maybe not what you would want your children to see as the answer, that said, I always have believed that rules were meant to be broken…promises were not.
    I wish you and your family the very best and will be on the lookout for any further reports you can give us. Please know that we all feel “invested” in your future.

    • Thanks so much for your support. (((((hugs)))))

  33. What you need to do is get the school board to
    change the policy to “students must transfer at the start of the next school year.” This may require getting someone elected the school board.
    This is a common policy. It was the policy at Scotia-Glenville when I was a kid; a friend moved in with his dad after his parents divorced, and was able to stay.

    • Yes, Ultimately that is why I opened this conversation. Because there is a bigger change needed here. I hope that I’ve been helpful in bringing that about so other families don’t have to be put in this position for the last few months of a school year. It isn’t like we want real estate to be so difficult to navigate LOL!

  34. This is deplorable at best. I am left saddened and in disbelief. You should have this published in the local newspaper for WCSD.

  35. I would do everything in my power to have those boys stay in Wapingers till June. What are we taking about 4 months. Live with family, make arrangements with a close family friend to stay with them Mon-Fri. Just so that they boys can graduate with their friends and the district had egg on their faces. I’m so sorry for you and the way that things seen to he happening in WCSD. They are turning out to be a horror of a district. People need to get this board cleaned out and have real people on it who care about the district and the most important part of that district THE CHILDEN & FAMILIES! Not just their pockets and titles!

    • Thank you so much for the support on this. ((((hugs))))

  36. I understand both sides on this position. I understand the administrators stand, but I can not excuse his rudeness nor his lack of compassion. I also understand the family and the children’s side in regard to the upsetting position the district has taken. Unfortunately, speaking from experience with a district that is worried only about their record with the state and the almighty $$, as well as the battle I have fought with them as a result, I can sympathize with the upset and stress of it all. Sadly, I don’t see them changing their position. Their stand will ultimately be that if they do it for one, they will be setting a president to do if for more, and the problem it would create for them for those they denied in the past.

    • Hey Cate– I think that’s an important component to remember here. We raise our children not to be bullies and then an administrator has the right to be condescending and throw his weight around? What would it have cost him to be kind in delivering the disappointing news? It angers me tremendously to know that behavior is tolerated by adults in high positions. And yes, I understand the need for rules and policy and what not–but I’m sick of living in a world where institutions and government are so big that no one is allowed to treat people as individuals. I know these policies are in place to prevent corruption, but I’m pretty sure their is just a different kind of corruption going on here and the kids are not benefiting from it all. And no, the don’t want to set a president, but I don’t want to be another parent who didn’t speak up for what I think is the right thing even if it’s not helpful for my own kids.

  37. I am a bit confused. I am a mom and a Special Education Teacher. I guess I don’t understand why you would think that your kids could stay in a district they didn’t live in. Did you offer to pay tuition? Educating kids is business, it is expensive. You will get your school taxes back for the remainder of the year. It would seem to me that the best situation, if you really want your kids to stay in the district, would be to rent an apartment. I understand you are sad. This happens all the time in our district, but there has to be a policy in place. I know the tuition in place in our district is extremely high, so most parents do not take advantage of it. This doesn’t seem fair to you, but life isn’t fair. Use this as a life lesson for your kids. If more kids realized this at a young age, our society would be much better off. This entitlement mentality in the Northeast drives me nuts! I lived in other areas of the USA and the Northeast is the absolute worst!! The school of “Hardknocks” if the best education system around……

    • Hey Suz–
      I understand your point. Yes, I did offer to pay tuition and I’m not looking to stay for a long period of time. Just trying to let my child complete the year. It is not uncommon in MANY districts for families to be granted a few months of leeway in just such a situation.In fact it happens all the time throughout the country. I would also gladly rent an apartment to make this happen, but the district would argue that it is not my primary residence so it would not make a difference. I understand that schools are businesses–but they are also there to be of service to students. But you are more than entitled to your opinion.

  38. Kim, it is my understanding that where you receive your mail and pay for your utilities is your legal residence. I own property in NY, a house and property, but live in SC. SC is my legal residence as that is where I live, pay utilities, and vote. Since your kids will be out of the district by voting time and you are still registered to WCSD my guess would be that they would be hard pressed to fight you. If you had to work on your new home before you moved in then they would just list you on the school roles as having moved from your original house to an apartment or rental. Fight it!!!!

  39. This is NOT about entitlement. This is about fixing a policy that is WRONG. Tuition bases in situations just like this one the Sabatini family finds themselves in is the right thing to do. The Sabatini family is not asking for anything for free. They are simply trying to do what’s best for their sons. And how dare ANYONE suggest negligence or bad parenting on their part. Shame on you. I’m not anywhere near this district but when we, as parents, are faced with difficult decisions the right choice is often NOT the easy one. But doing the right thing is always right. Changing policies that are WRONG is the right thing to do. Now I would think that would be obvious but based on some of the ignorant things I’ve seen writen here, obviously not. I would do exactly what Kim and her family are doing despite the opposition and ignorance thrown in my face and I wouldn’t do it with nearly as much poise. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to stand up when it would be so much easier to sit down and quietly accept the crap served to you. But that’s not how we make things better for our children, our society. That’s not how courageous people roll. Stay up Kim. You’re doing the right thing!

  40. In my opinion, this seems like a discrimination case. Exceptions always exist when it comes to issues of health. A child’s health is being put at risk because of this policy. If it’s a question of funds, why can’t your new school district make an arrangement with Wappinger Central School District? Also, have you written to the County Executive to investigate this? You definitely should not let this go without it being investigated.

  41. I feel awful that this has happen to you. Trust me, I have been in many situations with the WCSD, and have gotten no where. I have sent letters in the past with no response, and when I have gotten responses, they just don’t fix or address the issue. I personal thin you should take this letter to Seven on your side or one of the numerous tv broadcast shows, I bet if you did more people would listen, and you will get the help you need immediately. Try it, it will be worth the try. I am sure that one of those TV shows & or news shows will broadcast this issue. We need to make sure that all wrong doing with our children is heard all across the nation in order for anything to be done. Good luck, and I hope that your sons adjust to their new school. Trust me I am a firm believer that things happen for reasons, and I am sure that your boys will do much better in their new schools and you will all grow from this horrible experience.

    • Thank you so much and I’m shaking my head at the number of stories I’m hearing that are just like mine or worse. Makes me sick.

  42. […] on top of being sick this week, was having a lot of anxiety about school–a product of our WCSD fiasco.  Grrrrrr So in addition to calming nerves, I was also making lunches and trying to find red […]

  43. […] journey has been on him, the hard part for me has been being unable to fix it–to prevent it. (A Persons a Person No Matter How Small) All I’ve been able to do is be there to lean on. I  tell him over and over that I […]

  44. […] For those of you who are new to the blog. I guess I should warn you. I can’t separate my personal life from my writing life. They are inexplicably intertwined. I usually do my best to create some connectivity between the branches, but sometimes they simply are what they are–grafted together. In the past, I’ve blogged about the school my children have attended. I’ve written with joy and hope. (Room 100 Holds the Secret to Fighting the War on Terror. Are You Interested?) I’ve also had the heart crushing disappointment of writing about administrative failure. (A Person’s A Person No Matter How Small: An Open Letter to the Wappingers Central School Dist… […]

  45. I have known Jose and all I have to say about his is that he is a liar and a simpleton. He needs an army of assistants and administrators to do his job. He is clueless about education and related matters. Don’t stand near him because you’ll get the blame for every mistake he’s made. He got all the jobs he ever held because of who he knew.

    I am truly sorry about the way you were treated.

    Good luck.

    • Thank you so much. As you can imagine, I’m not a fan. 🙁

  46. Education in this country is terrible. Not the fault of most teachers but the big business end because education is big business. My heart goes out to you and every other parent who has had to deal with the heartless and cruel administrators who couldn’t care less about the students. I am and always have been for vouchers to allow parents to select the best education for the children instead of this government monopoly that forces what they think down the throat of students.

    • Vouchers would speak louder than twisted teacher evaluations an bizarre test scores. Thanks so much for your kindness.

  47. […] push them off, I also feel a huge amount of sympathy for those who are hurt, frustrated and angry. *A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small In fact, I feel a little bit nuts in my ability to relate to the wide range of emotions people are […]

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