The Community R-VI Library was packed full of parents last Wednesday night for the district’s school board meeting. Many in attendance wanted their voices to be heard in regards to an alleged abuse scenario between a 5th grade teacher and student.
Kim Replogle was going to speak but was reminded that she was on the Executive Session agenda.
She had several pages to read to the board. Board President Andrew Fairchild told her she could make a general statement. He also said if statements point out a teacher or a student, that it’s a personnel matter.
Replogle asked whether the letter could be discussed. Someone attending the meeting then said “we refer to it as the shut up letter.”
Cindy Lynn Drainer specifically talked about the letter sent to 5th grade parents.
She read parts of the letter back to the board and shared some criticism.
“The appropriate action that was taken was never discussed with any of the parents,” Drainer said. “The interviews with the children also was never addressed…The plan that they said they developed was never discussed or sent home. There was never anything as a parent to discuss that with my child about what kind of plan’s been implemented in the class. There was no information to go on.”
Drainer said she had concerns regarding the threat of litigation.
“To me that separates the parent/school platform,” she added. “That should never be separated. There should never be a division between parents and the school.”
She said a meeting inviting parents would have been a good option.
Drainer concluded that she didn’t like the last sentence in regards to the options given to families.
“I want my child to be successful at this school. I want there to be a communication between parents and the staff, parents and the school board, parents and all the administration…To me I think that shut that down…”
Christie Waisner said it’s gossip, as she accused the district of not handling what she considers to be a private matter in a private way.
“I’m frustrated with that,” she added. “Because that should be kept private and it has not been so I’m not happy about that.”
She also addressed the letter and called it a “scare tactic” for some parents so they would drop it and move on.
“It makes it sound like things have been handled,” Waisner said. “It comes out saying that we’ve checked into it we’ve handled it. That’s not right.”
“What a nice relationship that forms with the school and the parent,” she added in regards to the end of the letter. “…It’s sad, it’s just really sad.”
Recently, the district sent 5th grade parents a letter stating the situation was investigated with many of the allegations proving to be false. Some of those interviewed were students. The letter also says the teacher in question is “an experienced teacher as reflected in the students’ test scores and is providing the children with a quality education.” To protect the student and the teacher, the district elected to add an adult to the teacher’s classroom for the rest of the school year.
Waisner also complained about a program involving Duke University and the late notification her family received for it.
Grandparent Rosalyn Lynn questioned the Executive Session proceedings. She noted that since all parents received letters, that all parents should be heard on the matter. Miranda Schmidt said she appreciates Community R-VI. She said her children didn’t have any issues in regards to the Duke letter. She said it was vague but knew she could call the school if she had any issues. Melody Seiger shared separate concerns in regards to curriculum being used by the district and its effectiveness in preparing her child for college. She said she was concerned about students not having Pre-Algebra before Algebra and noted that several kids are failing Algebra as well as many other classes.
Read the rest of the story in the April 23 issue of The Vandalia Leader or purchase an electronic edition copy at http://www.vandalialeader.com/?page_id=33