Despite police escorts, school tours canceled due to parent concerns

Sunset on Winthrop? School options could involve merger with Doyon
Sunset on Winthrop

IPSWICH — A series of daytime tours of the Doyon and Winthrop elementary schools have been canceled due to parent concerns.

The walkthroughs were laid on by the school board to showcase what they see as shortcomings in the buildings.

At recent meetings, the school committee said the schoolday tours — scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays — would give voters a better sense of how crowded the schools are.

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“Despite police escorts during the visits, parents raised concerns,” superintendent Brian Blake said in an email this morning announcing the cancellations.

One parent who contacted The Local spoke of “less-than-impressive safety measures” during the visits.

“It is not clear to me exactly what these tours are intended to illustrate, but I am opposed to the involvement of our children in a political issue such as this and especially concerned with imposing any kind of risk on our children,” the man said.

Another said, “I’m not against these tours. They were just scheduled and handled the wrong way.”

A letter to Blake, purportedly written by a Danvers police officer who lives in Ipswich, was posted on the Ipswich News Facebook page.

It asked if any sex-offender or CORI (criminal background) checks were done on the visitors.

He asked that the daytime tours be rescheduled to after-school hours.

The Winthrop School opened in 1956, and the Doyon School in 1965. School officials want to replace both in a new school on the Doyon grounds.

Although the daytime tours are cancelled, two evening community forums are still on.

Those will begin with a tour and will be followed by a “discussion of current practices and the enhanced educational possibilities available in a new school.”

There are two forums  scheduled:

  • Monday, March 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Winthrop School
  • Monday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. at Doyon School.

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