This is an open letter to Sumter School District's administrators and Board of Trustees:
I attended a sports event this week at a local middle school. Students, their families and friends from several schools attended the event with enthusiasm, high energy and excitement. The event was held at a school that had on the surface what appeared to be a clean, well-groomed campus with scenic landscape and a manicured lawn.
The event, I felt, was enjoyable to an extent but was sullied by the fact that the public facilities were atrocious and filthy. There was no security present and bathrooms in the concession/bathrooms area were unclean, damp with water puddled on the floor and lighting was dim.
In other words, the place was scary and potentially dangerous. It is important to note that the problem that I had with trying to find a clean and safe bathroom on campus magnified when I noticed a building that had a few cars parked out front. What caught my attention was the fact that the door to the entrance was propped open with a large doormat. No security was present in the building. No one was available to direct me to the location of the restroom facilities.
Several children in overcoats were joyfully playing basketball in the gymnasium. A young man, probably in his early twenties, sitting in the gymnasium, told me of the location of the bathroom for women, across the hall. The door was locked. A sign on the men's bathroom said "Out of Order."
Finally, the only remaining choice that I had was to use the bathroom facilities in the girls' locker room!
The scenario that is presented here points out some very important issues that must be addressed by Sumter School District in order to ensure a healthy environment and wellness of students, coupled with the highest level of safety and security for the students, staff and the community as a whole who visit the campuses of the district's schools. Most importantly, Sumter School District must be open and receptive to constructive criticism and community involvement and investment.
BRENDA C. WILLIAMS, M.D.
The Family Unit Inc., a 501(c)(3), non-profit, charitable organization
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