I am sharing a series of correspondences that I’ve had with the Delta/Greely school board.
I would be happy to pay for a display case. Ideally the shop class could construct it. I’d pay for the materials as well as make a donation to the class.
On April 4 2018 I emailed the following letter to all the school board members.
My son Robert Carmichael “Mike” Shetler graduated from Delta High School in 2002. He enlisted in the Army in 2003 and honorably served until his death in 2011.
I would like the Board to consider having an area in Delta High School which recognizes alumni who gave their lives in service to our country. It would be the responsibility of the Gold Star family member or in some cases the student’s classmates to provide a framed photograph of the service member, with name, graduation date, branch of service and date of death.
I called Superintendent Jackson in February 2018 and discussed this with her. She told me that she couldn’t make that decision. That would be up to the Board. I expressed that I understood that and knew that would be the correct way to proceed.
March 29, 2018 she contacted me and told me that my request had been denied at the administrative level with the reasons being it may cause controversy, it would require the administration to implement it and if it can’t be done correctly shouldn’t be done. It was not presented to the Board.
I believe that my request should be considered and added as an agenda item for the May 24, 2019 board meeting.
Thank you for your consideration.
Gail M. Shetler, Gold Star Mother
I received the following from Richard Mauer, School Board President on April 15, 2018.
Good Evening Mrs. Shetler,
The board, in our April 5th work session, discussed, under correspondence to the Board, your request and Board Policy 1331 which prohibits memorials. That being stated, the policy does not take into consideration Gold Star Families or fallen service members.
With these thoughts in our minds, the board agreed to have the policy committee (meeting tomorrow evening) review Memorial Policy 1331 to determine if a change is in order.
If the policy committee arrives at a recommendation tomorrow evening, I expect an update during our business meeting on Thursday of this week.
If a change is recommended, it will require two public readings for comment and discussion prior to board action.
I will keep you informed regarding any action on your request.
Richard Mauer, Board President
As of April 28, 2018 I had heard nothing from Mr. Mauer. I emailed him with this question:
Is the board going to act on my request? I ask because you never got back with me.
He responded the following day:
Good Evening Mrs. Shetler,
The Policy Committee did review your request in light of Memorial Policy 1331 and considered whether or not the district policy should be rewritten. After lengthy discussion, the committee recommended to the board that the memorial policy stand as written. The committee did mention that there other avenues to honor deceased loved ones through recognitions or scholarships in the name of the deceased – you may recall the one started many years ago in remembrance of Kathy (sp?) Harrell. The committee recommendation was accepted by the board with no action pending or intended at this time. If you wish to consider another form of recognition or award, please contact Superintendent Laural Jackson whom I have copied with this response or feel free to contact me at any time.
When I moved to Delta Junction in 1976 there was a large military presence at Ft. Greely. It became smaller and then BRAC came along in 1995. The community was upset that there could be either downsizing or closure. The greatly reduced presence of the military could and did have a big impact on Delta.
Shortly before I retired in 2004 the community knew that part of the missile defense would be constructed at Ft. Greely. There are now more civilian jobs as well as a military presence.
The school district has and still does benefit from the military.
When my son was in school we filled out a Federal Impact Form for the district to receive additional monies. “ Federal Impact Aid is designed to assist United States local school districts that have lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt Federal property, or that have experienced increased expenditures due to the enrollment of federally connected children.” I never knew the school district to decline the funds. There was always a big push to get those Impact forms back in on time.
Why is it that the school board and superintendent don’t find it necessary to honor those graduates that voluntarily served and died while in service to their country? Rather it is left to the survivors to set up, for example, a scholarship in their loved one’s name. I find their lack of respect for those graduates pathetic.
Finally, I realize that Delta Junction is not Fairbanks and that DHS is not Lathrop HS. In this case, my son graduated from the WRONG High School. It’s too bad that he didn’t graduate from Lathrop High School. Lathrop (which is part of the North Star Borough School District) has a wall case which honors those graduates that have paid the ultimate price. It’s sad that the Delta/Greely School District refuses to do something similar.
Gail Shetler, Gold Star Mother