Palmer served Seaford School District for 46 years

By Mike McClure

It was only fitting that last Friday’s dedication of Palmer Playground at Frederick Douglass Elementary School took place during recess with the children out playing on the playground. Ruby Palmer, who recently passed away, worked for the Seaford School District as a non-instructional paraprofessional for 46 years, mostly at Frederick Douglass in the cafeteria and as a playground monitor.

Frederick Douglass Principal Carol Leveillee did some research on the school in preparation for last October’s celebration of its 100th birthday. Palmer was mentioned quite a bit in her interviews and in the articles she read.

Shown (l to r) next to the plaque honoring Ruby Palmer are: Kennedy Hearn, Gail Gaston, Frederick Douglass Principal Carol Leveillee, Carolyn Palmer McAllister, John Palmer, and Seaford School Board Member Armore Rice. Photo by Mike McClure

On Friday, former students and staff members attended the dedication, which took place during the school’s annual barbecue, along with members of Palmer’s family and Seaford School District and school board representatives.

“She was a friend. She was a mentor,” said Seaford School Board Member Armore Rice, who said Palmer made him go to class when he tried to hide on the playground as a student. “She treated everybody the same. If you acted up she let you know about it. You had a place to stand.”

“This place was a second home. All the kids were her kids,” Palmer’s son, John, said. “If you had family around she knew somebody to tell. You weren’t going to get away with anything.”

“Every kid was a good kid. She found the good in them,” said Palmer.

The plaque on the wall of the school, facing the playground, commemorates Palmer and her service to the school and its students, including her famous saying: “Sit down, turn around or your recess is mine.”