Peabody isn't utopia

Your recent article on Peabody School [News, August 14: "School story: Peabody mom gets son expelled"] ( may have left readers with impressions that are inaccurate, or at least not the whole story.

Joni Raskin's situation is certainly extreme, in that her child was expelled because of her "non-cooperation" with the administration. But the only other opinions presented in the article are from the school principal and a parent who "absolutely" recommends the school. The impression left is that this troublemaking parent is an anomaly.

Until this coming school year, I was a Peabody parent. Our oldest child was one of the original 13 students when the school started in 1993, and our second child began kindergarten at Peabody in 1998, giving us 12 years cumulatively in the school. We withdrew our first child in 2001 and our second this year.

I don't know Joni Raskin, but I know that she is not the only parent with complaints about poor communication. Several families have withdrawn their children from Peabody School because of a lack of communication from the faculty and administration. I also don't believe that this is the first student forced to leave the school in its 10-year history because of parental "non-cooperation." Questioning the administration's decisions or policies is not welcome at Peabody School.

One comment in particular in your article needs to be challenged. In my experience, the characterization of Peabody School as a place where "There's no bullying, and nobody makes fun of you" is patently false. I realize that this is an impression of Raskin's, but letting it stand unquestioned in your article makes it seem like fact.

On the contrary, I personally know of several Peabody students who were the victims of teasing and bullying. No Peabody student I know will say it doesn't happen.

As volunteer librarian during 2001-2002, I spent nearly all day every day at the school. On numerous occasions I witnessed hurtful name-calling and other harassment. I always intervened in these situations, as a caring adult should. I cannot say that I saw the same behavior from all the other adults there.

Like any other institution, Peabody School has its positive and negative aspects– it's not a utopia. Had Raskin talked to any of the parents who have withdrawn their children, she might have been able to anticipate some of the problems and spared her son the pain of being caught between his mother and the school.

Rachel Unkefer