Parents who subscribe to Middletown's School Messenger notification system have received multiple phone calls or emails about elementary teacher Professional Development Days when classes are dismissed at 1:15 p.m.
The district's policy on letting kindergartners off buses isn't new, however early-release days have increased the frequency of such dismissals for grade-schoolers. School administrators ran into a problem last month on the first day of the new year.
On Aug. 29, a dispute arose between a Dattco bus driver following protocol and parents of Farm Hill Elementary students picking up their children, in which, police say, there was an issue with bus driver protocol.
"The driver was trying to get the kindergartners and first-graders off the bus first while waiting to see if they were going home with somebody," Superintendent Patricia Charles said at the time, which is school bus procedure. "The older students didn't want to wait so the driver pushed the kids back."
The younger children became upset and some parents started boarding the bus, she said.
After many elementary school parents concerned about child care for early release days on 18 Mondays throughout the year contacted the superintendent, an on-site program for kindergartners through fifth-graders has been created.
It's a partnership with the Northern Middlesex YMCA, funded by grants from the Y and the city's youth services bureau.
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