Parents back candy, movies at West Dundee school
Jennifer Nickels, a West Dundee mom who complained last month about a Dundee Highlands Elementary School teacher giving candy as a reward and showing noneducational movies during recess to students, including her daughter, is in the minority among parents who recently took a schoolwide survey on both matters.
As a result of the survey, which found most parents supported the movies and frequency of the treats, the school will not change its practices.
School officials will add two sections to the parent handbook to clarify the options parents have on the issues. And they will work with the Parent Teacher Council to devise "Written guidelines for all parties that reflect our community beliefs," Principal Patty Schmidt wrote to parents.
The results, released last week, show 91 percent of the 159 parents who responded to the survey said treats are given a proper number of times. Six percent of the respondents said treats are offered too much and 3 percent said treats aren't given out enough.
On the movie issue, 85 percent of the respondents said movies should be an option during indoor recess. Eleven percent said movies should not be allowed and 4 percent said they were not sure.
Jennifer Russell has had six children go through Dundee Highlands and has a fifth-grade son there now. She shares the majority opinion about candy and movies and defended the teachers, saying they also reward kids with pencils and other tokens of appreciation.
"I've had a lot of kids go through that school and these teachers are absolutely committed to doing what's best for these kids," Russell said. "They would never do anything that they thought would be harmful for any of the kids."
Schmidt, Dundee Highlands teacher Bonnie Waldschmidt and other district officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.
As for whether the district will pursue uniform policies for all schools, spokeswoman Allison Strupeck said she could answer that next week.
Nickels said the survey results weren't a big shock.
"Am I completely surprised? No," said Nickels, who said she plans to met with Associate Superintendent Sarah Kedroski next week to discuss her issues.
Nickels has instructed her daughter to refuse the candy and ask for something else. Waldschmidt, her daughter's teacher, has told kids to seek parental permission before actually consuming the candy, Nickels said.