PENNSYLVANIA'S #1 WEEKLY NEWSPAPER • locally owned since 1854

Middletown Area School District leadership silences students on walkout: Letter to the Editor

Posted 3/12/18


As a parent of Middletown Area School District students, I received the March 7 National School Walkout letter from the superintendent, Dr. Lori Suski. While I appreciate the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Middletown Area School District leadership silences students on walkout: Letter to the Editor


As a parent of Middletown Area School District students, I received the National School Walkout letter dated March 7 from the superintendent, Dr. Lori Suski. While I appreciate the administrator’s input and concerns on the walkout logistics, I don’t respect their stamp on the process. Dr. Suski’s letter appears to be a wet blanket on the student advocacy movement. And it’s not hard to read between the lines on this one.

To be clear, school boards hire and fire school superintendents. Our school board president is Linda Mehaffie. Linda’s husband is state Rep. Thomas Mehaffie. One plus one is two.


READ MORE: Letter is inaccurate; students were driving force behind walkout: Lori Suski


Students, what we have here is something called self-preservation, at your expense.

Dr. Lori Suski has a PhD. Without any reservation or doubt, she’s trying to pull the wool over all of our eyes here. I’ll be specific. She 100 percent understands the exercise in futility she’s asking of our students.

Dr. Suski’s letter indicates a mandatory requirement for students to participate in the March 14 walkout. Specifically, students are required to submit a letter expressing their concerns to state Rep. Thomas Mehaffie. Moreover, Dr. Suski’s letter provides a template for the students to follow and the letters will be “screened” by administrators.

Not only is this an exercise in futility for our students, but administrators want to “screen” the letters Rep. Mehaffie’s staffer is just going shred?

Students, Republican gun-rights advocate and proud NRA member Thomas Mehaffie is not going to do anything with your letters. I’ll tell you why.

Parents, this is what the kids call dropping knowledge. Thomas Mehaffie is a Republican, conservative politician with future political ambitions. Good or bad, it is what it is. Conservative voters from our district elected him. I’m not upset with Rep. Mehaffie. He’s a politician looking to gain political capital. This is what politicians do, from both sides.

The walkout is part of a student advocacy movement squarely focused on new gun control measures. For those who think I’m missing the mark here, I will publicly apologize to Dr. Suski, School Board President Linda Mehaffie and our representative of the 106th District, Thomas Mehaffie, should they prove me wrong. And I hope I’m wrong.

I’m requesting a public response from Rep. Thomas Mehaffie on behalf of our students. Please let your voters and future voters know the specifics on where you stand on the gun control debate. All I have to go on is the rich history of Republican politicians always siding with the gun lobby — specifically, the NRA. That combined, with your recent vote on House Bill 671 – authorizing lawsuits against local governments with gun ordinances.

Rep. Mehaffie:

• Do you support AR-15 assault weapons remaining legal?

• Would you propose any legislation that would make it harder to obtain these weapons?

• What is you position on gun show loopholes to purchase fireams? This is where guns are purchased from private individuals, therefore exempt from background checks.

• Would you support any changes to the current background check process?

• Would you support increasing the minimum age to purchase a gun?

• Do you support arming our teachers?

• If you support arming our teachers, how should those new measures be funded?

I’m confident the readers are eagerly awaiting a response explaining your positions and what you’re willing to do, not read, or say.

Again, Dr. Suski already knows the answers to these questions. She may have tried to impress her boss, but I’m not impressed. I’m calling BS, like the brave students from Parkland who gave me the energy to contribute this piece.

In the end, I hope the administrative efforts to suppress our students voices are proven unsuccessful. It’s time we put our public leaders and officials on notice. We see you and we understand what you’re doing. It’s not cool and our students, parents, faculty and community deserve better.

The brave students/survivors from Parkland have shown the tenacity it takes to move the needle on gun control. Their inspirational courage is unwavering. Their classmates and friends were murdered by an AR-15 assault rifle. They understand business as usual yields nothing. The Parkland students are the adults in the room. They are the first group to demand and deliver change in the aftermath of a preventable mass slaughtering of our students and teachers. And they didn’t do it with a letter.

MASD students, politics can be cynical, but when young people organize and demand change, change happens. Since I’m not a student, I won’t advise on your best course of action, but I believe the students from Parkland have shown us all the way.

In closing, how about we trust our kids to do the right thing? It’s time for us to cut the BS and get behind them, instead of in front. Doesn’t that sound more like honest academic, social and emotional support?

One more thing: Enough with the T-shirts.

Matthew Krajsa