Second Community Forum Held

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

Another large crowd turned out for the second Meridian Public School District community forum held at the Wesley House.

The outpouring of concern was evident again at the forum designed to open the lines of communication between the community and the district.

Over 100 people came to express their views, but the atmosphere was a little different as many in attendance say it was a much more calm, positive and productive meeting than the first one.

"I just felt like there was dialog and I feel good about it," Meridian Public Schools teacher Ann Brown said. "School board members kept their word and showed up to prove that they are 'servants of the people' and willing to listen and work on the issues. And I wanted to give Mr. Kent a chance to maybe explain what he said because we want positive feedback. This was a very positive forum tonight. And I wanted him to maybe understand how we felt and let him clarify some of this statements."

Brown says many teachers were hurt by some of superintendent Charlie Kent's comments that he said were misinterpreted. Kent apologized and said that he is sorry if he offended anyone.

"If I offended anyone. I wanted to come back and apologize to them and say as I did which is 'let's get past this now' and do what we need to now for the children," Kent said.

Kent attempted to answer every question presented to him and there were dozens of questions. Many were trying to squeeze answers out regarding the accreditation situation and the alleged testing violation.

But both Meridian High School principal Vicki Hood and Kent say they cannot discuss many details because it's an ongoing investigation.

But there was also a balance of focusing on the positives and how many are coming together to try to put their heads and hands together to unite and create positive change for the district.

"The goal is for us to be on one accord and do what's best for the children," Kent said.

"I do. I think we've got some work to do, but I think we're on the way," Brown said.

The next scheduled community forum is July 14 at 6 p.m. at Wesley House.

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  • by Sick of it all Location: Meridian on Jun 26, 2009 at 11:03 PM
    Correction: In the assault case of the teacher at Northwest, school personnel was instructed to contact the police which took them almost 45 minutes to arrive at the school. The police arrived while the teacher was in route to press charges.
  • by Teacher on Jun 23, 2009 at 12:03 PM
    MHS Teacher - You are right on all counts! Kent does have a lack of people skills and seems to have an underlying animosity, which comes through in statements to teachers, such as his suggestion that undesirable teachers need to be "thrown off of the bus, no under the bus, because if you don't, they'll come back to get you", or Kent advising teachers who don't like his changes that they need to go to the Director of Personnel for an "occupational adjustment", or Kent's assertion that teachers are just sitting around waiting on their WIC (sp?)check (entitlement check). He indicated clearly that if we were responsible for our own morale, not him, and we were to handle our own problems at school - "Don't waste your $4.00 a gallon gas coming to see me." Intimidation is not a good leadership quality.
  • by Teacher on Jun 23, 2009 at 10:40 AM
    I would like to address Kent's selection of words at the second forum. When questioned about why the police were not called concerning the Kate Griffin knife incident and the assault on the teacher at Northwest, Kent very clearly stated "...the police WERE called", giving the impression that MPSD policy had been followed. As I understand it, a person at MPSD Central Office instructed the KG principal not to call the police (there are several witnesses to this) and the teacher at Northwest called the police herself to press charges. Correct me if I'm wrong, but MPSD did not call the police. If that is true, then Kent's statement about having to release students to the custody of the parents before the police arrived at the school is also false.
  • by MHS teacher on Jun 22, 2009 at 06:55 PM
    I think the problem teachers are having with MR. Kent is his lack of people skills; his first appearance with the MPSD teachers had a threatening tone with a lot of rhetoric spewed. Again, on the first day of school, it was the same things...I will be watching you; if you don't want to be here, leave; so many of you are just "falling back on teaching". He, himself is "falling back" on being a Superintendent. He was on the verge of going into the finance business when this highly overpaid job "fell in his lap." If the teachers were getting the backing they need from their administrators, like we have had in the past, we would not be looking to Mr. Kent for help; when we did not get it there, it has opened up a lot of venting. All these things the teachers are saying are true - students are running MHS; referrals are being shredded; too many referrals by a teacher means they are a poor teacher, no matter how many times they are literally cussed out by students - and nothing is done...
  • by Concerned on Jun 22, 2009 at 05:48 PM
    The special call meeting of the MPSD School Board will be at 5:30 at Central Office (1019 25th Avenue). Items on the agenda include building renovations update, ninth grade building overview, community concerns overview, and refine superintendent evaluation instrument.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 22, 2009 at 04:42 PM
    Where will the meeting be held? Can WTOK broadcast it live on the web channel?
  • by educator Location: meridian on Jun 22, 2009 at 02:23 PM
    Special board meeting Tuesday, 23rd there.
  • by educator Location: meridian on Jun 22, 2009 at 12:43 PM
    Charlie Kent DOES NOT have a doctorate degree.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 22, 2009 at 08:50 AM
    To my knowledge, Charlie Kent does not have a doctorate.
  • by Parent con't on Jun 22, 2009 at 07:07 AM
    These issues, along with some others, are personal and have little to do with the children. There are some teachers who are only in it for the money, but there are also teachers who care. There are incompetent administrators, but there are also competent administrators. I have no idea what the purpose of a school board is, so I won't even comment on that. Parents, teachers, and administrators should meet and discuss solutions. Dr. Kent, don't think because you have a doctorate you can't learn from someone who only has a highschool diploman or less. Listen to people, keep an open mind and then make your policy decisions. Teachers, understand that you are not going to have "perfect children" in your classrooms and honestly ask yourself if it's the children or you. However, if it is the children, you do need support because you can't teach while trying to discipline 80% of the time. When you have a behavior problem, CONTACT THE PARENT. Parents, get involved and stay in contact with teacher
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