Courier-Post Commentary: A great school engages and protects kids

By Vanesa Serrano

Molina School failed me and my family for years.

As a parent, I seek a place to send my child to school to learn, to grow intellectually into the leaders they desire to be. No parent envisions that when they send their child off to school, learning is second to safety. The two are equally important.

My reasons for joining Parents for Great Camden Schools are personal. However, by being personal, it is inherently unique.

Today I am my son’s voice. We just attended a parent-teacher conference at his new school, Camden Community Charter, where I learned that he is once again an honor student. But as important as this is to me, what came out of his mouth next blew my mind.

“Mom, I am loving my new school. For the first time in my life, I am free from the fear that bullies would hurt me.”

This changed my perspective on how and why parents must be more involved in the education of their children and why choice matters.

My son was at Molina School from kindergarten through fourth grade. No one from the school ever made me aware of the nightmare that my son was experiencing on a daily basis. He was scared to tell me for fear of retaliation. Can you imagine? My son was fearful to tell me he was afraid for fear of retaliation; meanwhile, the school was silent about it all.

Once I became aware, I exercised my right to choose. I chose change because I want my child to receive the same quality education that children of privilege are afforded so he is well prepared for college when this time comes.

Since I transferred him out of Molina, he has blossomed into the prince I dreamed. He is outgoing, involved in activities and enjoys reading out loud to anyone that will listen. I am able to witness what a positive impact choice has had on his life.

Parents for Great Camden Schools asks everyone: What makes a great Camden school?

To me, a great Camden school is a school where I can be assured that my child is getting an education that will enable him to succeed in life. Also, just as important as education, a place I know he will be safe and free of fear from bullying.

A good school is filled with books, students and teachers. A great school has teachers who engage their students with those books and are prepared to educate the future of this country, our children.

Vanesa Serrano is a member of Parents for Great Camden Schools. She lives in Camden.