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Why I started BTW: no, I don't "just want to keep free-lunch kids out..."

My oldest daughter graduated from MVHS last year, my son attends it now and my youngest will attend when she leaves RTMS. I have no horse in the Forge redistricting race, so why in the world am I doing this blog? Some negative implications have been made about my reasoning so I thought this would be a good time to explain my motivations.

I first got involved with this particular redistricting issue in my role as RTMS PTO President. I attended the Rockhill Town Hall to get information for Thompson families who couldn't be at the meeting with the intention of disseminating it to PTO members. I was overwhelmed by the response, so many people thanked me for getting them this valuable information. Couple that response with the passionate words spoken at the meeting, some of them from students, and I thought maybe I should do more.

The final straw was when I talked to my friend, Wendy Maurer, who also happens to be the Rockhill Supervisor. In an FB post on February 12, click HERE to read it, Wendy outlined her ideas to improve our school and infrastructure issues by "(wiping) the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and rebuild(ing) it WITH the School Board," an idea I enthusiastically endorse. However, she got push back from the rest of the BoS and it occurred to me that if Wendy couldn't get her important message across, maybe the involvement of the community could help. Hence, Break The Wheel was born.

While the site has concentrated on the Forge redistricting, it's creation is a response to years of emergency redistricting initiatives that show a lack of foresight and planning by those in charge. I have no intention of concluding the blog after the Forge vote on March 28th simply because these issues do not stop at that point. Redistricting is not going anywhere and it will rear it's ugly head again. In fact, I have been asked by SB Rep Scott Hirons to continue because he believes we will need grass-roots activism to make sure High School 6 comes to fruition. I will continue to be an advocate for my RTMS community and Stafford in general, if I have the continued support and involvement from readers like you.

On the blog, I have tried to get perspectives from different areas affected by the redistricting and have posted thoughts from Cherise Taylor, a NSHS parent and Neil Mehltretter about his experiences in Amyclae. I welcome input from anyone because an open discourse is necessary to deal with the issues facing the county.

However, by attending meetings and interacting with people, I realize that there is a lot of hostility and negativity not just surrounding the redistricting but the neighborhoods involved. I will not repeat specific things I have heard so as not to give them credence but clearly, some residents who live in NSHS and BPHS zones feel that CFHS families are over-reacting to the prospect of being moved from Forge out of ignorance or snobbery.

I can't speak for the Forge community, if for no other reason than I am not a part of it, but I know many people whose children do go there, some of them well. In general, I do not believe that most parents who might be affected by this change are fighting against it because they feel they are better than people who live in other areas of the county.

I can speak for myself and I can say unequivocally that I am NOT involved for any of the following reasons:

-I do not think that underprivileged, free and reduced lunch, low income (or any other way you want to phrase it) children should be keep out of certain schools.

-I do not think that certain people, simply based on where they live, have more of a right to go to a certain school or have access to a better education than anyone else.

-I do not feel that I am somehow better than others based on the neighborhood in which I live

I DO firmly believe that any citizen of Stafford County has the right to express their opinions to those in charge in order to affect change. There is absolutely nothing wrong with standing up for yourself and fighting for what you believe is right for your family. I will continue to do what I can to get information to Stafford families about what their elected leaders are planning so that they can utilize their own voices to make their opinions known, whatever those opinions may be. If other individuals want to place their prejudices on me and my reasons for being involved based on where I live or where my kids attend school, so be it.