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- SPECIAL REPORTS
Published online May 22, 2012
Last edited June 19, 2012
By Patrice K. Muhammad
LEXINGTON – For nearly the entire 2011-12 school year, Obie Taylor and his wife Collet have been plagued with problems concerning their children’s education at Bryan Station Middle School (BSMS).
The Taylor’s, who have 6 children, have two in the Spanish Immersion program at BSMS. Since the Fall the Taylor’s have complained to school administrators and district representatives about bullying, inadequate supervision of students, unfair suspensions, verbal abuse by teachers and teachers failing to assign work. These problems could result in one of their children failing her current grade and ruining the student’s grade point average.
In December, the Taylor’s filed a complaint against the BSMS principal and two teachers that resulted in a three day paid leave of absence as the allegations were investigated. The Taylor’s alleged that their daughter was bullied and the victim of threatening behavior from teachers.
A surveillance video from the school hallway shows a female teacher singling out and pointing into the face of the Taylor’s daughter. The tape also shows how two teachers followed the student into the principals’ office and continued to speak and point at her even though she was with the principal. That tape lead to the investigation.
Obie said that his daughter had nearly a 4.0 average when she left Maxwell Elementary. She didn’t have problems with her grades during her first year at BSMS. However, this year she has had numerous problems with teachers including some not supplying her with work that she has missed due to absences and suspensions even though the teachers have a responsibility to do so.
The Taylor’s provided copies of letters from Superintendent Tom Shelton that were sent to nine teachers at BSMS in February. The letter says that the teachers have refused to provide one-on-one instruction (tutoring) and would only do so if sessions were videotaped. Shelton instructed the teachers to provide the tutoring or face disciplinary actions.
“At this point she has a failing or low grade in most classes. Her teachers have not supplied work,” Obie said.
With the school year coming to a close, School Superintendent Tom Shelton said that he expects the situation to be resolved. “The director of middle schools has met with the Taylor’s numerous times. I believe that we’ve worked through the issues and concerns and have been able to rectify the situation. It has taken numerous meetings to get through the issues and concerns and we believe we’ve been able to bring it to the best conclusion possible.”
In April, a BSMS staff member provided a written account of an interaction between the Taylor’s daughter and a teacher. The report said that the teacher used “an intense, loud voice” when speaking to the student. When the student continued on her way the teacher said, “You better not call your mother.”
Collet said, “When you tell a student they can’t call their parents, that’s a predator. When an adult is doing something wrong, they tell the child not to tell their parents. They are silencing and stifling our children.”
Though the situation for their child has been bad, it has been helped because staff members have stepped up to report wrong doing and that there was a video of the teacher pointing in their child’s face.
“There are some good staff members there that have tried to do right by us. But I can see the stress on those who are trying to do right,” said Obie.