Parents cannot speak at tonight's Murray Co. Schools forum
By David Carroll
CHATSWORTH, GA (WRCB)- A community meeting billed as "Lend Your Voice" will not feature the voices of Murray County parents tonight.
Murray County Schools is hosting the meeting tonight at 5:30 at the new North Murray High School. The school district's website describes it as a community event featuring a "State of the School System" address. There will also be a dedication of the new school. Murray County High parent Tina Long said she was disappointed that "no one will be allowed to comment or ask questions."
When told that Eyewitness News had received questions about the lack of parental input in the "Lend Your Voice" meeting, superintendent Dr. Vickie Reed said, "Various school officials will be reporting on school system success of meeting the community goals established approximately three years ago. Public participation is not a part of this meeting, however, the Murray County Board of Education provides an opportunity for public participation during its regular monthly meeting."
School Board member Josh Young added, "We are also dedicating our new high school tonight. We must allow time for all of this to happen and still get everyone home at a decent hour. My desire is for everyone to look at tonight as something positive for our school district and our county. Instead, it seems everyone wants to point out negativities they see in it." Young added that "there will be plenty of school officials present to answer anyone's questions tonight, we just don't have time for organized questions and answers."
Another Board member, Elizabeth Gould disagrees. "How can you call it "Lend your voice ' when no one is allowed to "lend their voice?" she says.
The Murray County school district has been the target of two recent lawsuits, by parents who say their children were bullied. David and Tina Long sued the district late last year, after the suicide death of their son Tyler, a Murray County High School student. Todd and Holly Miller say they filed suit after their son, a third-grader suffered a broken arm last spring. Mrs. Miller tells Eyewitness News, "people need to know that bullying is not just a high school thing. These are 8-to-10 year old kids doing this."
Recently, Eyewitness News featured Murray County's new anti-bullying program "Positive Behavior Support," which rewards students for good behavior.
Although some parents have complained that Supt. Reed has not been responsive to their complaints, she tells Eyewitness News, "I have met with every parent who has requested a meeting." In July, she was named Georgia's Educator of the Year by the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders.