Dozens Voice Concerns at MPSD Board Meeting

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

From wall to wall and even the floor, about 100 concerned residents crowded a small room to voice their concerns to the school board about pressing issues within the Meridian Public School District.

They waited 2 and a half hours to speak after three extensive executive sessions. These residents said, however long it took, to call for action and change within the district, they were willing to wait it out.

Dozens posed questions about how the lowering of the accreditation status from fully accredited to "advised" would impact students and the district as a whole? Were board members going to draft policies regarding accountability with administration and teachers for the next school year? And would the board consider continuing to allow teachers to place their children at the schools of their choice?

Many said they thought they would get answers from board members and the superintendent, but that wasn't the case.

Board president Edward Lynch said the public forum is designed to listen to concerns, that it's not a Q and A session or a dialog. So many, like Cynthia Griffin, left the meeting saying they were frustrated.

"I can't get answers. I don't know if it's being followed up on," Griffin said.

A hot issue was uniform changes. While officials never confirmed verbally if the current uniform policy would be changed or not, officials already prepared a document addressed to faculty and staff answering that question.

The document was made available to those in attendance at the first community forum at Wesley House a few weeks ago. The letter states "the information included in this document is meant to provide factual answers to questions and issues of concern."

There are about 20 issues listed with answers including the uniform policy next year.

In the document, the question regarding school uniforms states, "What is the uniform policy for the upcoming school year?" The answer is, "Wildcats royal blue shirts ONLY. Khaki and black bottoms (pants/skirts/shorts). Copies of the dress code policy will be available at each school site during registration and on the district web site by July 1, 2009."

"I don't understand why parents were not notified and why we were not allowed to give input, and who are making all these decisions?" Griffin said.

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  • by jamison Location: meridian on Jun 24, 2009 at 09:13 PM
    The situation here in Meridian concerning the lack of leadership in the public schools is just outrageous!! There has been no real leadership displayed in the last couple of months. True leaders lead out of earned respect not positional intimidation. The situation is over Mr. Kent's head. He doesn't have the educational background (he does not have the degree) nor the experience (he has never lead an entire school district) to be attempting to lead the MPSD. It is hard to believe that he would be hired period. The pool of candidates must of been quite small. The word on the street is that the consultant group was told that they had to hire a black man or face lots of backlash from the black leaders in the community. Qualifications didn't matter, black and male. The truth of the matter is the fact that this is getting to be a race thing. It will be interesting to see how the new mayor handles this. Especially the appointment of new board members that will be coming up real soon.
  • by Words of wisdom Location: Meridian on Jun 22, 2009 at 06:16 PM
    High-integrity workplaces don't get that way by accident, coincidence, or luck. They're molded, shaped, and built by leaders at all levels. QUOTE BY: ~Eric Harvey
  • by Petra Location: Meridian on Jun 19, 2009 at 07:21 PM
    Uniform policy enforcement is definitely an issue, but it's not the only one. Recently, I was told by an administrator that schools are penalized in their grade level scores (ex. level 5, level 4, etc) if they fall below a certain attendance percentage. These scores play a role in the Federal Funds our schools receive. For this reason, in school suspension was created in an air conditioned classroom for discipline problems, dress code violation, etc. Kids are now intentionally acting out so they can go to I.N.S & get out of class. My question is whatever happened to corporal punishment, after school detention, picking up trash, or washing dishes in the cafeteria? I urge MPSD to start enforcing discipline for the sake of our schools. I also urge you, as parents, to write your congressmen today about testing & school scores. These test & other requirements were designed for good reasons, but have some serious flaws that are having a negative impact on our school system in general.
  • by anewvoice Location: meridian on Jun 18, 2009 at 01:05 PM
    I am glad that the parents have unified and have become one voice. For the future, I would like to see them gathering in groups, perhaps by school, and participate in some decision making throughout the school year. Some examples are as follows: 1. the behavior problems the disrupt learning in the classroom. 2. Easier access and better response time from parents when they are needed to respond to phone calls that the teachers and administrators make concerning those behavior problems. 3. Parents, to visit the school more often unannounced to see what is going on in the classroom. 4. To behave responsibly when addressing the teachers and staff concerning your child. The list can go on and on. Parents, the bottom line is the school is only as great as the leaders, teachers, students and parents make it. By working together and supporting the educational structure, this can make a major impact on your child learning. I am not against the parents, THE SCHOOL NEEDS YOUR HELP TO SUCCEED!
  • by MPSD Parent Location: Meridian on Jun 16, 2009 at 09:46 PM
    The biggest problem with uniforms isn't the colors of the shirts. Some of the kids still wear their khaki pants halfway down their bottom. How about making a rule that you have to wear a belt and your pants above your crack?? I've been in the buildings during the day and I see this. DISGUSTING!
  • by Former Parent Location: of Poplar Springs Kid on Jun 16, 2009 at 04:37 PM
    My daughter attended Poplar Springs from kindergarten thru third grade. I worked in the district but lived in the county. How would that transfer now be handled? I was in a secondary school anyway. Would I now be restricted from bringing my child altogether? Additionally, I wanted her to go to Poplar Springs because of the high expectations and culture of excellence. Brashier was there then. I don't know what the culture and climate are there since we've been gone for five years, but any school is only what the staff and community make it. Poplar Springs' community will not allow for anything other than the best for their children. Can the same be said for all of the other communities associated with the other elementary schools? Ah, no!
  • by (continue) Location: Meridian on Jun 16, 2009 at 02:00 PM
    Forum is a unique feature not offered to the parents, teachers, and community in their districts. Many teachers in other places have told me flat-out that they nor the public are welcome at their Board Meetings. This board has always welcomed public commentary--that's been the whole purpose in moving the meetings into the schools and why they created the Public Forum section in the first place.
  • by FYI Annonymous Location: Meridian on Jun 16, 2009 at 01:52 PM
    For several years, MPSD Board Meetings have been held in the schools where libraries and auditoriums can seat larger crowds. This board moved the meetings from CO to the schools in hopes that parents and community would become more involved. They've even move the starting time at least once or twice to try and accommodate the public. Besides CO personnel, a few principals, and a handful of regular citizenry, the only time folks come is when their child leads the Pledge, when their child is honored for an award, or when someone wants to address the board for whatever reason. Only summer meetings and work sessions are held at CO. It was Mr. Wile and Mr. Lynch who initiated the Public Forum so that the Board can hear from parents, teachers, and community. As indicated last night, the Public Forum is not a question-and-answer session--it is for the Board to listen and take notes and discuss at work sessions. My colleagues in other districts and other states tell me that the (continue)
  • by somebody Location: somewhere on Jun 16, 2009 at 12:34 PM
    Poplar Springs isn't the school most people perceive. As far as Kent. he is the one that needs to be removed. He stated that the colors for uniforms where going be kahki pants and wild cat blue shirts. Now he is stating no change. Seems to me that he is back tracking in his statements. There needs to be resolve and work out effective solutions for the children, so many are falling through the cracks. And stop making certain kids follow policy and procedure while others or not.
  • by becky Location: meridian on Jun 16, 2009 at 12:01 PM
    in addition to my previous post re: Parents at MPSD school board meeting on Monday, June 15, 2009: You also sent the School Board the message that you believe it is a new day ~ a day that can make a difference in the success or failure of Meridian Public Schools. I truly believe that our district can be as bad as we let it get or as good and strong as we make it. Thank you for caring, and thank you for respectfully sharing your passion with each other and with YOUR school board.
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