Community And School Board Talk Things Out

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

March 31, 2005

The Charlottesville City School Board met on Thursday night, March 31, this time not behind closed doors, and the speakers were quite vocal.

The community came out in full-force, both to show support and opposition of their city school board.

In another attempt to calm the waters in a troubled community, the school board heard from the public, who packed Charlottesville High School to give a piece of their mind.

Earlier this week, the school board met behind closed doors to find ways to improve teacher morale and close the achievement gap between students. That was the ultimate goal at the meeting on Thursday as well, but the school leaders got more than they bargained for.

Residents in the community who chose to speak to the board and its superintendent were vocal, calling the status of their children's school system difficult, harsh, and frustrating.

There were standing-ovations and boos from the audience, as praise and attacks were given to the board, superintendent and city officials- some who were absent from the meeting.

Some believe the private meetings were called to ask Superintendent Scottie Griffin to resign, or to make a decision on firing her Deputy, Dr. Purnell.

"There's a fundamental rift between staff within the school system, and its leader. The school board needs to recognize that," said Mark Krebs, a parent of a child in Charlottesville City Schools.

"If it looks unjust, if it smells unjust, and if its is not unjustifiable; then it is an injustice. I think that's what the situation--this desire to fire Dr. Scottie Griffin--is," said Minister J. Jackson, of Charlottesville.

The comments did not stop there; others went on to say they believe the board has a problem with a female in charge. The school officials were also urged not to play political football, but to move from catastrophe to community.

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