Chariho School Parents’ Forum

November 5, 2007

Letter from RYSE student

Filed under: bond,RYSE — Editor @ 9:00 pm

This was in the comments section of the previous post – This is not the first time I have heard stories like this, but like Elaine Morgan, it is one of the few times people have gone public.  I’m sure there are parents happy with the program, but we should not take the choice away.

  1. The Sun probably only looked at the bottom line. And if you do that, then it looks like they are saving us money. But, if you look deeper into what is missing, you realize that we are not saving money. They count on people being busy and not being able to take the time to evaluate these documents. Pretty smart.

    The other document they mention is the 2007-2008 cost analysis. This is based totally on speculation. You can’t judge a program on speculation.

    Again, produce the documents we desire and we may well wave the white flag in defeat. But, until then, be skeptical because to date these documents have not been presented.

    We have a relative who was in RYSE. He quit a couple of weeks ago. He told me he couldn’t take it anymore. I’ve asked him many questions about RYSE and Bradley, which is where he went before RYSE.

    The following is a letter I helped him with. He dictated to me what he wanted to say. I made sure he and his mother read it, and I read it to him as well. I wanted him to come out in the letter. In fairness to RYSE, I made sure he gave examples, and in some cases, the care is similar at Bradley. You be the judge:

    To the editor:

    I was unhappy on the first day when I started at RYSE. Once when I was angry at RYSE, I smashed a chair, and they tried to charge me $50. I got it for $10 at Family Dollar. They charge kids $50 to repair holes in the wall, even if they didn’t do the damage.

    We played 4-square in the common room. I accidentally broke a ceiling light, which they tried to charge me for.

    At Devereaux, in Rutland, MA, when I was given time-outs, I willingly went because I still had the freedom to use the bathroom or order lunch. Recently at RYSE, I refused time outs because those freedoms weren’t given.

    During ISS (In School Suspension), if I was sick, they would not let me go to the nurse or go home. Any kind of illness, like throwing up or migraines, 90% of the time I wouldn’t be allowed to leave. I even brought a cell phone to school so I could have my father pick me up and sign me out. At Bradley, I was taken care of because I was in the hospital section.

    I was doing Geometry in Bradley. When I came to RYSE in the 7th grade, they put me on 4th grade elementary work. In one year, I was back at grade level where I stayed for 4 years. I told them I didn’t want the easy street, I wanted to be challenged. They kept me at 7th grade level for 4 years. They told me they didn’t think I could do anything harder. They told me I have to do the work they think I can handle.

    I was treated different by students and teachers. Other RYSE kids picked on me, called me names, but they would not touch me because they knew I would hit back. If they got loud, they wouldn’t get in trouble. If I got loud, they threatened disorderly conduct and I might get arrested.

    I did not like RYSE. I encourage that RYSE should be shut down and move the kids to a more professional area.

    Anytime the school committee would like to talk, they can invite me, and I will share with them.

    By: David Burdick, Jr., resident of Hopkinton

    As I said, I had his mother read it as well. She corroborated everything.

    He is a good kid. He has his issues, but I can always count on him telling me the truth.

    He is often loud when he talks, which we encourage him to tone it down. But, he made a point the last time I talked to him about his volume. His father is hard of hearing and has a hearing aid. He spends his time at home talking to someone who can’t hear well, often raising his voice to be heard. It stands to reason that he would be loud.

    I was concerned that if he approached the school committee about his experiences, they would produce 4 people to make him look bad. I recommended that he get an advocate. He’s not worried about retaliation now, as he has quit school.

    I posted his letter to the editor here as he wanted it in the paper before the vote. But since he only dictated it to me recently, it will not likely appear until after the vote.

    Comment by Lois Buck — November 4, 2007 @ 9:06 pm | Edit This

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2 Comments »

  1. […] have passed no-bid contracts, we have ignored parents who complain, we have triple legal bills fighting parents who wanted to remove their kids (which the board voted […]

    Pingback by Bob and Bill - who is fighting for whom (and who is “fighting hard enough”) « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — July 19, 2008 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

  2. I know the student who wrote that letter and it breaks my heart to hear this. He drew a detailed picture of the Titanic for me 3 years ago, when he (and I, employed as a Behavior Management Assistant), were in RYSE. I am so sorry to learn of this. Yet, it has brought me to the point of exposing what is going on behind the front entryway of the RYSE building.

    If I do not see this comment in this blog, I am going to the Westerly Sun. They will print it!

    Parent’s, listen to your children, please! All of the parent’s that have a daughter or son in RYSE, what you don’t know, I do, and 9 times out of 10 your children are telling you the truth. The only thing I ask you to do is not be strong-armed into thinking there is something wrong with your child just because these so-called ‘professionals’ say there is an indication your child may need special help. These are your children. They don’t know them. I can’t begin to tell you how many times the RYSE program has fallen apart. Think about it. If you have a student in RYSE, how many clinicians have you had? They all quit! They leave you and your child with nothing. If you put your child into the RYSE program they will be lucky if they make it out. The program is designed for the students to fail. I am not talking about ALP, I am only referring to the RYSE program.

    Your ‘administrator’s’ favorite quote, (especially Riccis’) is, “We only have your son’s / daughter’s best interest in mind”. This is how they draw you in. Don’t believe it for one second. They want the money from the state. That money in addition to this ‘bond proposal’ Ricci keeps pursuing, will give him next year’s raise to add to his $122,000/yr salary, plus all the ‘perks’ he thinks he deserves. You vote for that bond and you are giving him a blank check. You are the taxpayer, he doesn’t live in your district. He has nothing to lose. However, it is your tax dollars that are paying for him to sit in his air conditioned office, which, by the way, is not falling apart!

    First, ask for the estimates he got from contractors, that had bid (?) on the renovations! Has anyone received one in the mail? Legally, he is supposed to have 3 estimates, but we all know that won’t happen. What will happen is the same way he got his position, he slid under the radar and did not even give you the respect to vote for the person you wanted to run the district, and now look at the mess that was created. You are all fighting against each other!! I bet if you took one person out of the picture, there would have been a compromise a long time ago. Think about it.

    I sat in a school committee meeting and watched (maybe 10) members put their tail between their legs and agreed with whatever Ricci said. Personally, put Felkner in as your superintendent. He is the only member of that board who has the backbone to challenge Ricci and ask questions. He is the only person who follows the letter of the law! I am somewhat disappointed that 3 towns could not get rid of the whole committee and get people that know what they are doing in there and that live in the district. After all, it is your tax dollars that are paying for this comedy of errors to continue!

    In terms of RYSE, don’t do that to your child. Don’t you ever wonder why you are not allowed past that entry way without the permission of the ‘principal’, who by the way, does not have children of her own, (she hides behind certifications she has managed to accumulate over the years), she is not married, and always appears threatening. Ask questions; don’t be forced into something you know in your heart is not right.

    Most of you are outraged parents. You have every right to continue asking questions until you are satisfied with the answers. If you don’t understand the answer it is because they are not telling you the truth. Don’t be intimidated by them. That is their weapon; they will use words you do not understand, make you believe that you, the parent, don’t know your child or what is best for him/her. You own that school district. You are at the controls. Band together, get rid of the administrators/representatives that enjoy hearing their own voices. Stand up for your children. Don’t let strangers, (which they are to you), tell you what they are going to do with your money, (at the detriment of your child). That is not the way it works.

    My primary message, however, is that this is the time in your child’s life when they are trying to establish their own identity. Don’t let RYSE take away their self-esteem. Don’t allow strangers to stigmatize your child for the rest of their lives! Do you know the consequences and limitations that this program will have on the future of your child? If you do have a child that needs special care, put them in an environment with experienced and professional people that can help him / her. Don’t put them in a program that will hinder them for the rest of their lives. Talk to each other. Arguing with the ‘wannabes’ puts you on their level; don’t lower yourselves.

    “TEXAS”

    Comment by Former RYSE employee — August 12, 2008 @ 11:06 am | Reply


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