Fridays on The Green saved as parents, students protest
by Staff Writer
DAVIDSON -– Davidson Elementary school will continue allowing fifth-graders to walk to the Town Green as several parents and students occupied the Green last week.
Principal Dana Jarrett sent a note home with students Friday, March 9, asking parents to give permission for students who wanted to walk home, or wherever they wanted to walk, after school.
Parents, students and shop owners were angry after the school said it wouldn’t let kids hang out on the Town Green after school because of safety concerns. It was a tradition for fifth- graders that developed over the years.
Former Davidson Elementary Interim Principal Ann Nivens tried to stop the practice earlier this year.
Main Street Ben & Jerry’s manager Karen Toney organized “Occupy the Green,” to protest the change. Ben & Jerry’s gave out 287 free scoops of ice cream Friday afternoon, showing support for the tradition even after Jarrett’s letter went home.
“As a business, it definitely affects me, because the kids come down and spend money,” Toney said, but that wasn’t they only reason she wanted to keep Fridays on the Green alive.
She says Nivens prohibited Fridays on the Green without communicating with parents or business owners and took away parents’ rights.
But the school never actually had jurisdiction over where students went at the end of the day, just how they were dismissed.
“The fact is, at 3:45, students can be dismissed upon their parents’ permission,” Jarrett said.
Jarrett sent the letter home to clarify the school’s dismissal policy.
“I didn’t see it as a problem, but I wanted to be proactive. But at the same time didn’t want parents to think we were overstepping,” Jarrett said.
Toney is glad the school has pulled back and allowed parents to decide where students go after school. While not all parents and students want to spend Friday afternoons on the Green, Toney says it’s an opportunity for students to ease into freedom surrounded by community.
“Davidson is so much of a village,” Toney said. “I know so many of these kids, and I know a lot of the shop owners do.”