Here's my letter:
January 5, 2011
Dear Elected Officials,
I am writing to voice my concern over the Riverdale Review’s frequent articles demeaning PS 24. I understand that you recently placed a congratulatory full-page ad in this paper and I’m confused about what there is to congratulate.
I no longer read this paper and in fact, I have begun to recycle the entire stack that is periodically left in my lobby. But one recent headline stopped me in my tracks as it mocked PS 24’s reading program as producing “ding dong” students who can’t read. This article particularly offended me, because my son, who is in fourth grade at PS 24 does not read at grade level, so I assume to Mr. Wolf would regard him as a “ding dong”. However, the reason he does not read at grade level yet is because I adopted him at age 7 ½ from an orphanage in India, where he received very little education. Before I completed his adoption I moved to Riverdale, specifically to live in the PS 24 district. In fact, we live 2 blocks away. The past 2 ½ years that he has attended PS 24 have been incredible and I have nothing but kudos for our school. Because of his learning delays and some mental health issues he suffers as a result of trauma, he could have easily have proved too difficult a student for any public school. But the educators at PS 24 across the board have been unbelievably willing to do whatever it takes to help my son. He has thrived in the school as a result of many people working very hard, compassionately and creatively to get him up to speed.
The “ding dong” article not only was offensive, it was poorly reported. I write professionally for several publications, including CBS NY online, and my editor would never approve such terrible reporting. The only “expert testimony” cited in the article came from Mr. Wolf himself, who apparently deemed himself an expert because of his experience editing the education section of his own paper.
I am deeply disturbed by the Riverdale Reviews blatant hatred of our school and your support of this paper. What’s more, I run a business in Riverdale and many of my clients have recently asked me what is wrong with PS 24 and have begun to assume that Mr. Wolf’s articles are founded. However, I do have some clients who, even though they do not have children that attend PS 24, have begun “recycling” the Review as well, because they feel that real estate values are being driven down in our neighborhood because of PS 24’s damaged reputation. One such client went so far as to call all of the advertisers in a recent edition and ask them to stop supporting a paper that is destroying our neighborhood.
I would like to request an apology for your previous support of this publication and your promise that will no longer do so.
Parent of Rahul Smith, 4-213, PS 24
|Rahul in the Earth Day TShirt he made last April at school (and our dog, Baby Fish Mouth)|