Editor's note: The person quoted in the article referenced in this letter has submitted a letter explaining the context of her remarks. It can be found here: "'Unhealty' quote was taken out of context."

Sometimes you read something and you just can't let it go. It kind of stings at your heart. You need to speak up or you won't be able to sleep at night. That's exactly how I felt when I read a quote from "Napa committee starts pondering which small schools will stay, which may go,"  (Aug. 22).

Unfortunately, among the schools facing closure is my alma mater, Alta Heights. I went there from kindergarten through the 6th grade in the 1960s. My mom volunteered as my room mother, librarian, and PTA president. I love that school. I often drive by it as my parents still live in the neighborhood. My heart would break to see it close.

As I grew older, I was fortunate enough to become part of another wonderful Napa school, Shearer Elementary in Old Town Napa. I love this school as much as I love Alta Heights. And it loves me back. You see, I have had the honor of being a teacher at Shearer for almost 20 years.

I say it loves me back because my young learners have brought me nothing but joy. And just like other Napa schools, Shearer is filled with the most caring, highly trained, kind, and intelligent staff. We care for each other and our students like family. In fact, visiting teachers often comment on our friendly campus culture.

So, I was shocked and offended to read that a parent at the first 7-11 school closure meeting said, "Going to Snow or Shearer, that is not healthy," for kids when compared to going smaller schools like Mount George.

I strongly disagree with this individual's statement. Come to Shearer and you will find we are, in fact, very healthy. What you won't find is a large percentage of children from high-income Caucasian families. And that's what the comment may have been all about. That's what stings.

You have free articles remaining.

Become a Member

Our community should pay close attention to this type of speech, however disguised. It is, at the very best, assumptive and unkind. After all, NVUSD has the same high standards for all of its teachers, staff, and schools, regardless of size or location.

No parent, teacher, or child wants to see a school close. But unfortunately, the process must move forward in order to make our school district financially sound for all. As we do, I urge stake holders to please keep future meetings from becoming ugly forums where derogatory comments are recklessly said at the expense of others.

I encourage speakers to present their arguments without demeaning the reputations of our other great Napa schools, their staff, students, and families just to help their star shine. Now, I'll be able to sleep tonight.

Please, come to Shearer and see what inspires us. Meet our amazing new principal. See our beautiful, newly painted campus. Come to our Children's Festival and enjoy authentic Mexican food prepared by our dedicated parents. Chat with our inquisitive students, most of whom can speak two languages. Come meet my mom. She still volunteers in my classroom at the age of 81. That's the kind of caring, healthy community you will find at Shearer Elementary School.

Matthew Lernhart


Get Breaking News delivered directly to you.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.