Photo by Evan Brandt
Pottstown Middle School's MoniYah Henderson, a rising seventh grader, stopped by The Mercury to deliver her letter in person.
Blogger's Note: Last week, The Mercury published an article about both Pottstown Middle School principals -- David Todd and Matthew Boyer -- resigning and complaints from Federation of Pottstown Teachers Vice President Michael DiDonato about behavior problems at the school.
Student MoniYah Person Henderson decided to stand up for her school and submitted the following defense, which we have published here in full. A shorter version will be published in The Mercury.
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Dear Pottstown Mercury,
Hello I am MoniYah, I'm 12 years old and I reside in Pottstown on Walnut Street! I'm going into seventh grade this coming fall. I have been going to Pottstown Kindergarten through 6th grade soon 7th. I get very great grades in school and I love school, so it didn't make me very happy when I saw some disappointing and upsetting things about my school online and I knew I had to do something.
Pottstown is suppose to show "Pottstown Pride" right? Why are you guys showcasing bad. People are saying and I have heard them "Pottstown has to much trouble" or "that school district isn't good" One thing to know is that there is good and bad anywhere you can't just judge one place. I could go down south to a nice quaint town and it could be very nice but that doesn't mean that there aren't going to be fights there at that school it's very possible and I could go to a school here and that doesn't mean that there can't be good here.
I don't like showcasing the bad I like showcasing the good. Some parents are looking for their children to go to our school and if you post things like that on the Mercury parents are going to be turned away that's not good. I actually put a review up about the Pottstown Middle School and how much I love it. My mom also posted a very good comment about Rupert Elementary school, another great school in the district that I went to and currently my sister goes to, it was a very nice comment and a few days later a lady messaged her on Facebook saying that her review actually helped her choose where her daughter should go. She said that she heard bad things about Pottstown so what you're putting on the Mercury people actually see that and that's not good for them to see those bad things.
Now I do understand about the children walking home on Franklin Street what they did was very wrong and disrespecting authority it isn't good. Thing is though if we keep showcasing these kids doing the wrong thing they're going to keep doing the wrong thing because they're getting showcased for doing bad. They want the attention and if you keep giving it to them they're going to keep doing what they're doing. You can tell them not to throw snowballs or not to curse and yell at teachers or mailmen, but they are children and not every child listens.
In one article in the Mercury it states and I quote "The mercury found zero teachers and students at the middle school have a high respect for teachers there but 97% categorized students respect is low or very low" I disagree with this statement 100%! My teachers has told my class were very respectful and nice! Also wasn't just my class it with others to I don't believe that one teacher said students DO respect a student and I can say because I go there so I'd know.
To be honest I really don't see a lot of disrespect going around in classrooms so I find that very hard to believe that the teachers actually said that. They're very respectful to us and we're very respectful to them. I have walked inside a fifth grade classroom to help one of my old teachers and it was very nice and the teachers are respectful and the students were respectful because respect has to go both ways of course, and I have walked there numerous times and they were so nice. I have been in the six grade classroom because I was in six grade in my class was very respectful, and not just my class and other classes as well. Our teachers tell us that we make them proud to be from Pottstown. Why can't you guys put that in your newspaper? You should be putting that Pottstown has a very respectful class and not just class but school.
Another thing which makes me extremely upset is on the Mercury post about discipline problems, what I don't get is that you have a picture of random children that you don't know in the paper about discipline problems. That picture has two of my best friends and some of my other peers. My friends aren't the ones doing wrong why would you put them on their. They were simply walking the halls going into the next class. That makes them look like the bad people when they did nothing wrong at all they were just going to class they didn't even know that picture was taken because I've even ask them myself they didn't realize that picture was being taken. They weren't very happy to see that picture at all either, especially with that title.
If we want to stop bullying then we should not be helping it, kids can get bullied because other kids are saying that they're bad because of that post. Kids can get picked on because some random newspaper came up and took a picture of them saying that Pottstown is having bad discipline problems. That doesn't make sense at all to have children that didn't do anything wrong at all, on the cover walking in the hall. Why couldn't you make it positive or not speak about those fights at all?
I am very upset and I would like to have a meeting with the Mercury about this problem. I love Pottstown a lot, it's an amazing school district so we don't need this bringing us down and this issue really needs to be resolved and I will do a lot for this to be resolved. I am going to the next school board meeting to talk to them about this too. It's not good to write bad about your own town. Pottstown is amazing and many need to realize this. Pottstown isn't very city but is it to country either it's right in the middle and it's very comfortable, and it's awesome because they really try their hardest to do a lot for children to seniors. I love my little town Pottstown. Pottstown is phenomenal and we shouldn't and bring things down.
Thank you for reading this letter and I really hope that this can be resolved because this is very very serious and important to me.
MoniYah Person Henderson
Thank you MoniYah for sharing your opinion with us and our readers.