To the Editor,
My friend and I were suspended, for two weeks, on March 26, 2014. We were suspended for not following orders. Our parents were not notified, since they are deceased. Although we repeatedly asked the administration to address our grievance, they arbitrarily stood firm on their policy of “conform or leave.” Our request was simply to be allowed to engage in an activity of our choice. So, on Monday, March 25, we refused to stop playing our game when ordered to do so.
My friend is 83-years-old and I am 74. We were suspended from the Clarkstown/Pearl River Senior Center. On that day our game was snatched from our table by the manager on orders from the coordinator of the center. It was humiliating. Senior centers were created to relieve isolation and loneliness. Centers were meant to provide socialization and mental stimulation. Socialization cannot be forced and there is no mental stimulation for seniors in being spectators to activities they have neither chosen or have an interest in.
There have been physical encounters at the center. Two female members attacked each other. A male senior and the bus driver had a fist fight and as far as I know, no one was suspended. With the exception of the male senior, who never returned, everyone continued to attend. Apparently a request for change is more threatening than physical violence.
We continue to request the following:
To be treated with respect, to not be ordered around like children, to have an input in the activities chosen, to be able to not participate in an activity we dislike or have no interest in, to socialize in the way we like and find mentally stimulating. Above all, we want to retain our freedom of choice.