I've had two children at Howland Midle School. I agree that some of the teachers will label a student and target them unfairly. I will not vote for levys or volunteer anymore either. As a taxpayer (and teacher in a neighboring district), I am horrified that teaching positions in Howland are going to relatives of current employees and not the best qualified candidates.
I attended this school for two years. I'd say my educational experience was pretty solid- however, when I went to another school district with stronger academics it was somewhat of an adjustment. Sports do recieve a high level of precedence, but I was involved in academics and music and had a good time in both. I did sometimes feel weird for not playing a sport, and there were some cliques, but I eventually became more social. I had some good teachers along the way. Not every class was a challenge, but many teachers did encourage me to raise the bar. This was several years ago, but overall I'd say my experience was ok, though there were some bumpy spots along the way. There were some politics and social issues, for sure, but this was one of the better schools in the area when I attended, and hopefully it's still that way.