Milford School District Superintendent Phyllis Kohel today released a letter to the community at large in response to the recent playground sign controversy. In addition, Kohel also published a letter to the Milford Police Department thanking them for their ongoing service to the schools, including their presence at schools on November 21, 2012 in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, CT.
Regarding the sign issue, Kohel apologized on behalf of the school district for the presence of the offending signs, and issued an explanation for the mixup in posted signs. “Please know that it was not the intention of the Milford School District to offend, in any way, the Hispanic families in or outside of this community,” said Kohel. “We value and respect our community and its diversity and appreciate the richness and cultural awareness that our numerous ethnic groups bring to our school district.”
The full text of Kohel’s letter to the community:
January 10, 2013
To The Milford Community,
Please accept our heartfelt apology for the mistake made in regard to the posting of an inappropriate sign at the Ross and Mispillion Elementary Schools. The translation of the sign posted in Spanish came to my attention late on Saturday, Jan. 5, and arrangements were made to have the signs removed immediately. Please know that it was not the intention of the Milford School District to offend, in any way, the Hispanic families in or outside of this community. We value and respect our community and its diversity and appreciate the richness and cultural awareness that our numerous ethnic groups bring to our school district.
If there was anything good that came out of this unfortunate situation, it is that we have reviewed our procedures for having signs translated into other languages and have added steps that will act as additional checks in insuring that signs that are translated actually say what they are intended to say.
The signs that were posted at Ross and Mispillion were meant for posting on playing fields such as soccer, baseball, softball fields, etc. They were originally designed to remind a number of adult leagues, in and outside of the community, that they needed permission from the schools before scheduling games of school district sites. Unfortunately, they made their way to the elementary playgrounds. We certainly apologize for that and for any hard feelings that the posting caused.
You are welcomed to contact me or any of our administrators at any time with your concerns. Thank you for all that you do in supporting the Milford School District.
Phyllis Kohel, Ed.D.
The full text of Kohel’s letter to the Milford Police Department:
January 10, 2013
Dear Chief Hudson,
On behalf of the Milford School District, I want to express my profound appreciation for the work that you and your department did for the school district on December 21, 2012. Following the events in Newtown, Connecticut, the anxiety apparent among the community, students, and staff was somewhat quelled when they reported to school on December 21 only to find a police car stationed at the entrance of each school and a uniformed officer patrolling the halls. Thank you.
Your efforts in keeping our schools safe will always be appreciated. The generosity shown to us through having a school resource officer has paid off in ways I can’t begin to describe. Our students are given the opportunity every day to make stronger connections with the local police through their contact with Officer Melvin. He has been an integral part in training our staff and students in crisis prevention strategies; he has visited classrooms, taught classes, and gone well beyond our greatest expectations. Although he is present every day, our thanks go out to you for making it all happen and to all of the officers who spent the day with us on December 21. I’d also like to thank all of the officers who cover our events, or just make their presence known when we need them. I will be eternally grateful for the job that the Milford Police Department does every day. Your officers handle themselves with professionalism and dignity and are a comfort to all of us. Again, I commend the Department for its good work and wish you and your fellow officers all the best.
Phyllis R. Kohel, Ed.D.