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Green board hears parents’ concerns regarding student

9/26/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Green Local Schools Board of Education members assured parents at the Sept. 23 board meeting the safety of children attending school in the district is of the utmost importance.

The board members were responding to a number of parents who voiced concerns regarding a Green Middle School student.

Parent Ken Black told the board this student has bullied and beaten up his son, and the student allegedly has brought drugs to school and bullied, threatened and assaulted other students, as well as assaulted two Summit County sheriff’s deputies.

Black said he heard a meeting had taken place regarding whether to allow this student to return to school.

“The outcome of that meeting has students and parents in our community very disturbed,” he said. “By allowing this type of student back into our school system, it sends the wrong message. … It is the responsibility of our schools to ensure that all students within our system be protected while under your care. … The people of the community demand that students with this type of behavior be removed for the safety of our students, teachers and others affected. How many red flags do we need in this matter? How severe does the crime have to be before we take into consideration our zero-tolerance policy?”

Betty Heath, another parent, also addressed the board on the issue, stating the student also threatened her child. She referenced recent school shootings, including the one at Sandy Hook Elementary incident in Newton, Conn., in December.

“We don’t want to be that school,” said Heath. “Everybody deserves a first chance, a second chance. There’s been enough chances. The student in question has proven that even a police officer is not intimidating to him. This is a problem that needs to be looked at more severely than a meeting that none of the parents could attend and tell our concerns to. I am not OK with my child or anybody’s else’s in this room being the reason that we figure out we waited too long.”

“Your point is well taken,” responded board President Steve Foster, “and the school board takes student safety and discipline very seriously.”

Another parent asked about alternative schools for these types of students, and Superintendent Jeff Miller responded they look at these issues on a case-by-case basis to determine what is best for the child.

“Safety is the most important thing, even more so than education, because if you aren’t safe, it’s hard to educate,” he said.

No one spoke on behalf of the student in question.

Johanna Costello also spoke to the board to discuss students with special needs on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan, and the district receiving “a failing grade” in special education. She expressed disappointment for the lack of programing, especially at the high school. She added that while she has a daughter that “had a very successful experience at Green,” she has a son that “has an immensely involved syndrome,” and the school was just “reacting and putting out fires” instead of meeting his needs.

“While he did have really good years at Green, and I appreciate the teachers that helped him, when the weakest link is strengthened, it benefits the entire chain,” she said. “I want to see Green a school of excellence for everyone.”

Also during the meeting, Bulldog Dash organizers Valerie Wolford, the city of Green communications coordinator who came to the meeting as a parent, and parent Jen Logsdon discussed the third annual event, which includes a 5K run/walk and 1-mile fun run Oct. 6 at the Green Memorial Stadium. The event will benefit Greenwood Early Learning Center and Green Primary School.

In the past two years, the event has raised about $36,000 for a new playground, iPads in the classrooms and various other programs, according to Logsdon. She said the fundraising goal is $40,000 for this year, 817 participants are registered and $27,021 has been raised so far. To register for the event, visit www.greenbulldogdash.com.

Among other business, the board approved:

  • permanent appropriations of about $44.5 million for 2013-14;
  • a shared service agreement contract with Lake Local School District for a communications director, with the service to include communications and grant writing, from Sept. 15 to July 31, 2015;
  • a contract with Blick Clinic for behavioral consultation services and the East Akron YMCA for academic and behavior management services at the Akron Rotary Camp for Children With Special Needs for this school year;
  • state and federal grants of $25,000 for the Parent Mentoring organization, $13,693 for the Ohio Instructional Leadership Academy, $758,170 for Title VI-B, $406,326 for Title 1, $10,425 for IDEA Early Childhood and $84,300 for Title II-A;
  • personnel items, including resignations of educator Cindy Sarver, office aide Sharon Lawrence as of Aug. 29 and cook and bus aide Angelique Chapman as of Sept. 6; and the retirement of custodian Rob Winters as of Oct. 1; and
  • the hiring of nine classified personnel, including Sharon Lawrence as director of operations secretary, effective Aug. 30, and Angelique Chapman as a special education aide, effective Sept. 9, and Brenda Dawson, of Physical Therapy Services, on an as-needed basis;

Prior to the meeting, district officials honored 19 retiring employees, including: guidance counselor Malia Miller (23 years); teachers Barbara Daisher (38), JoAnne McHenry (36), Ann Sunday (29), Nancy Gregg (25), Pamella Smith (24) and Kathy Long (18); aide Julie Poston (15); secretary Sally Fanelly (18); library technician Mary Jo Bell (15); cafeteria workers Lorraine Allen (28), Lorna Moore (26) and Shirley Robinson (12); transportation employees Bev Workinger (30), Nancy Nestor (18) and Julie Bodish (17); and custodians Odell Eddy (19), Joe Silasi (13) and David Law Sr. (10).

The next board meeting is set for Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Green Central Administration Building, 1755 Town Park Blvd.

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