This is a letter to the editor. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To read our coverage about Finger Lakes School of Massage, click here. To submit an opinion piece, email Managing Editor Kelsey O’Connor at

I am but one humble opinion, but I feel as though my voice should be heard. I am a current student enrolled at Finger Lakes School of Massage. In light of recent events I believe a student’s side of the story should be heard.

To say I feel abandoned by former staff who walked out due to the firing of Jeannie O’Neill is an understatement. For those staff members who have said they love the school and the students to leave and jeopardize our education is hurtful. I live in Corning; a 53-minute drive to and from Ithaca. I sacrifice time at work, mileage on my car, and the minimum of $80 a week in gas. While I understand the hurt that they felt, it is inexcusable to leave the current students trying to pursue an education in the career they so dearly love and speak highly about.

The emotional side of the situation has had a negative impact on all things FLSM related. While I do not know exactly what went on in meetings with former staff members, Jeannie, and even current staff members, I can say my school and my education is hurting. I am half-way through the school year, trying to learn the career that I desperately want to a part of. Those staff members who have walked out have made it difficult for current students and myself to get the education we chose to pursue, pay for the education, and put in the time to make that end goal happen.

The staff that has stayed with the school is overworked. Current staff members are giving heart and soul to make sure current students can reach graduation; to be able to take the state exam, and become licensed massage therapists. The reputation of this school has been tainted with the emotional wreckage of former staff. While the damage has already been done with their voices being heard, I am hoping that a new light will come from those still employed and students still enrolled.

Again I say I am one opinion and voice but I will be at this school until the end, and it is my hope that we will be able to find new staff that see the school for what it is: a training tool for those wanting to enter the career that they love. To help those who are looking toward the future and not dwelling on the past. It is my hope that new voices supporting the school will be heard and that new staff, or former staff, see that we as a collection of students are willing to put in the effort to graduate.

Thank you,

Emily Cantineri

Current student at FLSM