Parents should speak out on ECHS problems

Published 11:16 am Wednesday, November 22, 2000

By Staff
To the editor:
I am writing this because I think that it is time that some of the parents speak out on what has been happening at Escambia County High School.
I cannot believe that the superintendent actually believes that only four students have withdrawn and that one came back. I am a parent of a student who withdrew from ECHS. And what is so sad is that the school that my child now attends has had six other students enroll from ECHS. Now, I don't know where the miscommunication is between the school and the superintendent but those numbers do not add up. That does not count students who left ECHS and are attending some of the other surrounding schools. If the schools want to say that these students moved, well, they may have a different address to go to these schools, but I am sure if someone checked, the families still live in the same house.
So why is the Board of Education trying to cover up that a problem exists? I don't know. I think that one of the best things that could be done in the school system is for the State Board of Education with [board member] Bradley Byrne to become involved and do a complete investigation into the happenings at ECHS. I feel bad for the parents of students who cannot take their children out of ECHS and enroll them elsewhere. These students are going to school where they don't feel safe and are afraid to say anything because they have to stay there.
I know that when I withdrew my child and went to an assistant principal to discuss her withdrawing, I was told then that at least three other parents had already complained about problems in the school. (We were probably one of the first to withdraw.) When I asked what was being done about the complaints, at that point nothing had been done. I then asked the resource officer on campus if he was aware of those complaints about some students and he said at that point he was not even aware of it. I had to go to the solar building to pick up some of my daughter's stuff from one of her classes and I saw only one classroom that had any order to it. That happened to be Coach Willis' class and I do commend him on that. There were teachers in the class with students wandering from one room to the other. I even witnessed one student standing at a projector, imitating the teacher. These are just a few of the things I saw along with hearing whistles and comments. I can't even imagine having to be a student and knowing that I had no choice as to where to get an education but at ECHS.
Why doesn't the superintendent get a list of ALL the students who have left since he became superintendent and personally call the parents and talk to them. Maybe then he will understand what some of the problems are. Or better yet, have a meeting just for them. And, if for some reason ECHS is telling him that only four have withdrawn, maybe he should contact the surrounding public and private schools and find out just how many students they have had enroll in the past six or seven weeks from ECHS!
I understand there is not a quick answer to what is going on at ECHS, but maybe it is time we as parents spoke out. Since our children are no longer at ECHS, they don't have to be afraid to go to school.
Is it going to take an innocent child getting seriously hurt before someone stands up and admits there is a problem?
Donna Watson

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