The Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) Board of Education addressed concerns from high school parents Monday during its regularly scheduled meeting.
During the meeting, as with every meeting, a section of time was set aside to allow anyone who wrote to the board, prior to the meeting, the chance to address them on an issue. One letter was sent to the board by a Mrs. Wilson who wanted to raise a concern she had. After the call for public participation, Mr. Wilson approached the board with concerns about the alleged bullying of his child and how it was dealt with following the event. According to Mr. Wilson, his son was harassed by students and assaulted during school. Though the assault was dealt with, the parents wanted to know why the teacher in the classroom was allegedly not stopping this behavior.
“We had a teacher that was involved with allowing other students to make fun of my son,” Mr. Wilson said. “The teacher laughed about it and kind of let it go on. Other issues we have brought up to the school are currently being taken care of, Mr. (Tracy) Rose (Washington High School principal) is taking care of that. When I asked about this teacher I was told basically that there would be nothing done at all for the reason of my son ‘misinterpreted’ the way the teacher meant it. In the process of everything that was going on, our lawyer advised us to have a no contact order with this teacher and the students, as well as a safety plan for our child. The same day we brought in the no contact, this teacher pulls my son aside, again, and basically told him he knew what was going on and if he talked to these other students he was going to be in trouble, when there was a no contact put in place.”
Mr. Wilson then asked the board what they can do as parents if they have these issues with a teacher that is allowing it to happen. He asked for clarification on any policies that are in place so the parents can see if something is done with this teacher instead of being told that nothing was going to happen. Board member Ken Upthegrove said the proper procedure is to go to the principal of the school first. If someone is not satisfied with what they do, the next person to talk to would be the superintendent. Finally, if both of those options are exhausted and the problem still has not been resolved, the next step would be to address the board of education, who would then discuss the issue at hand to find out the facts.
“We have been through all of the channels,” Mrs. Wilson said as she suddenly approached the board. “During our meeting I specifically asked what is the consequence for this adult. The silence you hear right now is what I got, which says a lot to me as a mother.”
Tom Bailey, WCHCS superintendent, then addressed the board and the Wilsons, and said they are not allowed to discuss personnel or consequences, just as they can’t discuss the same for the students.
“We did ask for a safety plan, but we still haven’t gotten it, we got cliff notes of what you guys have done,” Mrs. Wilson said. “Other than that there has not been – and this is going on well over a week now since we asked for that. We brought in written copy with the state law that we asked for. We brought in our written copy stating what we wanted done and it still has not been done. Also with that, you say you can’t say anything about what is done with faculty or students, one of the children we had an issue with came up to my son and said ‘Yeehaw’ and punched my kid in the face. No teacher saw it and it took four days to find it on camera, which you had to do your investigation and I gave you that, but when we came to you about other issues, we were told that kid was suspended, you had no issues with telling us that. When we asked about issues ‘x, y and z’ and the teacher, now you are telling us you can’t tell us anything.”
After a few more comments from the Wilsons, Upthegrove told them the board wanted to ensure the safety of all students. He told them the board would meet with Bailey and Rose together and discuss the issue. After that conversation happens, he also said that Rose or Bailey will reach out to the family to share the thoughts from the board. The Wilsons thanked the board for its time.
Also during the meeting, Bailey honored three students with a presentation. The first was Spencer Minyo. Minyo was recently recognized as recipient of a Franklin B. Walter All-Scholastic Award — one of only 88 given in the state, one to a senior in each county. The award was established in 1989 by superintendents in Ohio to recognize outstanding student achievement. According to www.auglaizeesc.org, this scholarship award is named in honor of Franklin B. Walter who served as State Superintendent Of Education for Ohio from March 1977 until August 1991. Throughout his career, Dr. Walter exemplified concern for young people and dedicated his life to the improvement of education in Ohio.
The second student honored was 4-year-old Arthur Call, a member of the preschool program at WCHCS. Call was honored because of his remarkable gift with words. Call was diagnosed with autism and hyperlexia, leaving him nonverbal for the beginning of his life. After a couple years though, Call began to talk. It was then Call began to speak in poems and rhymes, something his mom, Sylvia, wrote down in a book. Soon enough, after contacting some publishers to try and make it happen, Call became a published author with his first book, “Into the Deep, Deep Brave.” Bailey shared Call’s story with the board Monday and presented him with a certificate to recognize his work.
The final student honored was Josh Trimmer. Trimmer, who received challenge coin 013 and will be recorded in the history of WCHCS, was recently accepted into West Point United States Military Academy. He accomplished this through a series of rigorous academic tests, physical exams and physical tests. Additionally, he attended leadership conferences and earned a recommendation from Congressman Mike Turner (R-10th District). Bailey took time to list the many accomplishments made by Trimmer and highlighted his academic success in both college and advanced courses, among a plethora of other qualifying success.
Finally, the board made two announcements to the public. Kindergarten registration for the 2018-2019 school year will be Monday evening, May 14, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the cafeteria of Cherry Hill Primary School. Those who cannot come on Monday evening can come to the Cherry Hill office on Thursday, May 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children must be 5-years-old by Aug. 1 to register for kindergarten. Please bring the following documents to register your child: birth certificate, social security number, immunization record, verification of address and proof of custody, if applicable.
The second, inter-district enrollment applications for the 2018-2019 school year will be available beginning Tuesday, May 1, at 7:30 a.m. through and including Thursday, May 31 at 4:30 p.m. Applications must be picked up and returned in person to the Education Service Center at 306 Highland Ave. Under the inter-district open enrollment policy, students from any district in Ohio may be admitted to the Washington C.H. City Schools tuition free providing all guidelines are met. Guidelines for open enrollment will be included with the application. Students now attending under open enrollment must re-apply each new school year.
Stay with the Record-Herald for monthly updates from the Washington Court House City Schools Board of Education.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy