Petition hopes to keep Riverside School open
January 14, 2013
A Bonners Ferry mother has launched a petition
to keep the Riverside Alternative High School
open, and in just two days and with little
fanfare, 110 people have affixed their digital
Last month, the school board, citing
requirements imposed by the state, elected to
close Riverside High on Thursday, January 24,
and assimilate the 26 students in attendance
there into classes at Bonners Ferry High School.
The board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, January
15, at Valley View Elementary, and many of those
who have signed and commented on the petition
plan to address the school board on the issue.
The on-line petition can be read and signed by
"The Boundary County School Board has voted to
close our ONLY school for
disadvantaged/homeless, struggling teens in the
county," Fairchild, who has a son at Riverside,
wrote in the petition. "Their plan is to close a
school with emotionally handicapped kids in the
middle of the year, taking away their only
safety net. The board says this is because the
state of Idaho is forcing their hand, when in
fact the state of Idaho has given 35 schools
several options to 'turn-around' and raise their
test scores, and we are the only district
closing our school."
People from throughtout the region have signed
the petition, which is to be presented to Idaho
Governor Butch Otter. The goal is to obtain
"Children learn in different ways," wrote Linda
Richardson, Naples. "Some, like our son, can't
absorb and process the lessons in a large public
school setting. He needed more one on one with
his teachers, which he got at Riverside High
School. They worked with him in a way he
understood, and he was able to earn his diploma.
I want other kids with special situations and
needs to get the opportunities our son did. He
has grown into a strong, competent, hardworking
man with a bright future. This would have been
much harder for him had he not earned that
all-important diploma. We are grateful, and
firmly support keeping Riverside High School
open. It is a win win project for our
"There are several youth in our Independent
Living Program who were served by this school in
the past several years," wrote Teressa Ruiz,
Coeur d'Alene. "These youth would not have been
able to complete their high school diploma's
without this school. This school also provided
them a safe and supportive place to go in times
of great need."
"The big picture needs to be considered here,"
wrote Wilma Wallace, Bonners Ferry. "Riverside
offers an option to a group of students that
gives them the opportunity to rise above the
situations they are currently in, and become
self supporting members of our society. The
alternative is kids on the streets, no job
opportunities, and in legal trouble. This can
not be the best choice financially. It is much
wiser to keep this desperately needed
alternative school than suffer the consequences
of closing it."
According to Fairchild, attempts to discuss the
closure with school administration have fallen
on deaf ears.
In fact, she said, with the slated closure just
over a week away, she said neither she nor other
parents of Riverside High School have not yet
even been formally notified of the closure, or
told how they can help their students make the
transition, which, she said, requires the
completion of six additional credits for
graduation, a burden students who are seniors at
the alternative school can't hope to reach by
graduation this year.
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