Education Week 04-18-17

Letter to Editor: Parents Need to Feel Empowered

To the Editor:

Kudos to Trise Moore and to the Federal Way public school system in Washington state for developing a community- and family-engagement model in schools that empowers parents to advocate for their children (“Giving Parents a Prominent Voice in Schools,” Education Week, Feb. 22, 2017). It is heartening to not only learn about such programs, but to read that they are being used as models for other districts to emulate.

As an attorney who has devoted her career to advocating for children who are too often either ignored or considered disposable, I know how critical it is for parents to feel empowered to speak up on behalf of their children to school officials and law enforcement. This is one of the reasons why the organization I lead, Strategies for Youth, has developed a parent’s checklist for school resource officers in their children’s schools.

The checklist is publicly available on our website. Designed to help parents understand the often confusing and ill-defined role of SROs, it can also help parents improve how they advocate for their children to SROs and school officials.

We encourage all parents—and all individuals and organizations that work with parents—to use this guide as a reference and a resource. Communities, schools, families, and children will all be better served by the active engagement of parents in key decisions, policies, and practices that affect their children’s lives and determine their futures.

Lisa H. Thurau
Founder and Executive Director
Strategies For Youth
Cambridge, Mass.