Letter: A yes vote is needed for our students

I am the school counselor at Winship Elementary School. This building is embarrassingly and appallingly out-dated and under-resourced.

Letter to the editor FSA

I am writing to fight for and defend the educational rights of the Grand Forks Public Schools children who desperately need a “Yes” vote on two counts on June 22.

I am the school counselor at Winship Elementary School. This building is embarrassingly and appallingly out-dated and under-resourced. The children at Winship have access to a professional school counselor just two days a week. As a counselor, my professional ethical code requires me to provide a confidential and secure space for students to receive brief, solution-focused individual counseling services. I am unable to provide these services to kids at Winship because the only available space is in the unsecure main office that houses the secretary, school nurse, principal, school social worker, and is the primary entrance to the staff lounge. This space is also utilized as a conference room and a “reset area” when students are emotionally dysregulated. Simply stated: I cannot effectively do my job in a sardine can.

The students of Winship also deserve the opportunity to engage in small counseling groups that target specific concerns or skills. This gap cannot be filled because Winship has no space for students to collaborate or meet. The one space (literally a janitor’s storage closet) is reserved for occupational therapy services and orchestra class.

Our kids deserve better. I respect and empathize with the concern about a large number of students in a big campus. Please ask questions! I have questions too. It’s okay to demand that the students have opportunities to learn in “communities within a community” or ask how to make sure that the culture and climate of the building meets the needs of young students. It is not OK to continue sending students to a building that endangers their chances of receiving a quality education.

Our current reality is this: we do have world-class educators walking the halls of our building. But it is possible for the literal physical space of the building to prevent those educators from doing the good work they are capable of doing.


Amanda Weston, Grand Forks

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