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Each week Port Byron school district releases a newsletter via email to everyone they have email addresses for. It’s a platform for the superintendent and principals to give an overview of the week and future events that parents and community members can be prepared for.

Quite often, Mr. Neil O’Brien, superintendent of schools, uses this platform to express personal opinions about various topics. Today’s email topic began by discussing the drug dogs that were brought into the school to do a random search. Instead of focusing on the facts, Mr. O’Brien decided to dwell on the negative impact of drug addiction. This is a subject that we are well aware of and we all know someone whose life has been affected by drugs. However, there were a couple of statements that showed how Mr. O’Brien feels about the community.

“The sad reality is that this former student lives in the margins of life, in a community that does not have enough economic, social or emotional support for undereducated and unskilled adults.”

This is how he looks at our community? Yes, we all know that we don’t have the economic means that other surrounding communities have; however, we do the best we can with what we have. And with what we may lack in finances we make up for with heart. There is never a time that someone would go without assistance in our community. If they are living in the margins of life it is because that is what they choose to do. There are plenty of positive influences in our community to reach out to.

With that being said, it’s funny that almost every one of the weekly emails talks about budgets, finances (mostly lack thereof). Mr. O’Brien said it best, our community doesn’t have enough economic support for individuals such as the one in his writings; however, we apparently do have enough economic support to pay for one of the highest-paid superintendents in New York. I have a spreadsheet of area schools and the amount their superintendents make yearly in salary.

So my question for you, Mr. O’Brien: If we are a community without economic, social or emotional support for our troubled drug users, how are we equipped to pay for a superintendent that apparently does not view us as good enough?

Jennifer Vizza

Port Byron

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