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Anti-Homework Petition Gains Steam

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Northfield, Mass. (WGGB) — 30 pound backpacks and excessive homework, that’s what Pioneer Valley 8th graders say is weighing them down.

“I could go to a friend’s house or go to a park and I also like to volunteer with my church,” says Amelia Marchand.

That’s why they organized an ‘Anti-Homework’ petition which 400 people have signed already.

“We’re not trying to eliminate all homework completely, we’re just trying to eliminate all the busy work such as assignments that aren’t necessary,” adds Ameilia Pelletier, who’s also helping to organize this petition.

She spends hours each night on homework.

Pioneer Valley Regional School Principal, Bill Wehrli says banning homework won’t happen, but altering it through working with the school council might.

“There’s a danger in any institution, like a school, where you keep doing something because it’s the way it’s been done,” explains Wehrli.

The girls have done their homework on homework, and argue that it contributes to childhood obesity, sleep deprivation, and stress.  Wehrli says homework has proven positive impacts, but agrees that some policies need updating.  He says one key is what kind of assignments are given.  Another is better coordination between teachers so assignments are better spread out.

Ameilia’s parents were at first skeptical of the petition.  But with the 2 children on different learning levels, they agree that change is needed.

Ameilia’s mother, Heather Pelletier says, “I can’t begin to tell you how many time we’ve had tearful nights here at home and it breaks your heart.”

Werhli says one of the things he wants to work on is making homework assignments as specific as possible to the individual students, “I think we need to think about differentiating…giving different groups of students different homework assignments so that both the time is manageable but also that the content makes sense.”

After a certain point, Wehrli says that hours of homework becomes ineffective and he knows it frustrates both students and parents alike.

“School is a big part of it, extracurricular activities, spending time with friends, family.  Older high school kids being able to work at a job. Sports.  That’s all part of life and I think that all makes a healthy child,” says Chris Pelletier, Ameilia’s father.

Pioneer Valley Regional School is located in Northfield and serves grades 7 through 12.

If you’d like to show your support for the movement, head to this website.


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