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Letter: 'Ski slope' comment not in context

This file image shows teens sitting in a

This file image shows teens sitting in a classroom and raising hands to answer aquestion. Credit: iStock

'Ski slope' quote

wasn't in context

In "Making up missed school" [Letters, Nov. 20], I was characterized as unprofessional by one letter writer and criticized by another for a comment attributed to me in a news story, "Academic year disrupted" [Nov. 18].

During the recent storm, my fellow superintendents and I spent many hours with our local school districts, emergency services personnel and the state Education Department working on an intelligent and caring response to school closings, emergency assistance and, thankfully, our eventual reopening.

I also responded to repeated requests from Newsday, providing updates and informed analysis. My conversations with Newsday's reporter covered the specifics of education law along with many facility, academic and economic issues that were generated by such a severe storm. Sadly, the broader conversation regarding the storm's economic impact found its way down to a "sound bite" about ski vacations.

The letter suggesting that I am unprofessional was uninformed. Had the writer known the full context of the discussion, I am confident his view may have been different. Colleagues, parents and students who know me know where my priorities lie: student safety, student success and families come first.

The politics and implications of a real-life situation like superstorm Sandy should never be reduced to a sound bite.

Michael J. Mensch, Huntington Station

Editor's note: The writer is the chief operating officer for Western Suffolk BOCES.