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Sixth-graders do not belong in middle school

After years of fiscal mismanagement, last spring West Seneca’s Board of Education came up with a quick-fix plan to save money by sending 10- and 11-year-old sixth-graders to middle school. The plan was hastily thrown together in a few months’ time without much thought and little concern about the children involved. Right now the children are paying the price with overcrowded halls and classrooms, and buses not arriving to school until after first period has already started.

The district closed its eyes to questions such as: Is it better to keep sixth-graders in elementary school to give them another year to mature before they are exposed to older adolescents, bullying and peer pressures? Sixth grade is a very critical time in a child’s education. It’s a time of emotional and physical transition from childhood to adolescence. On an educational level, a 2007 Duke University study concluded sixth-graders attending elementary school did better in standardized testing than sixth-graders attending middle school. It would seem important to place sixth-graders in the proper environment during this critical period.

Parents should treasure all the time they get with their children. In the blink of an eye, they are in school, then graduating from school. Some may ask: Why do kids nowadays want to grow up so fast? In West Seneca, it’s even faster.

Gary Tomporowski

West Seneca