Gainesville Supervisor Calls for Superintendent to Attend Public Meeting Regarding Reagan MS

| April 29, 2018 | 0 Comments | Education

Photo of Supervisor Pete Candland courtesy of Board of County Supervisors

“I am profoundly disappointed in the condescending and disrespectful tone in the letter to the RRMS [Ronald Reagan Middle School] community that clearly tried to deflect blame from the [school] administration onto parents and teachers,” wrote Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Candland on his Supervisor Pete Candland page, Sunday, just before 5 p.m.

Candland said he has been overwhelmed by communication this weekend from constituents who are extremely upset over a letter the school division sent to parents of children who attend Ronald Reagan Middle School community in Greater Haymarket.

To address their concerns, he plans to schedule a public town-hall-style meeting. He asks the Superintendent of PWCS, Dr. Steven L. Walts, to join him, and said he would accommodate his schedule, suggesting several evenings next week.

Associate Superintendent for Middle Schools Bill Bixby sent a letter to the RRMS community, which was received on Friday. The letter said that the results of an outside investigation into alleged bullying of faculty by the RRMS school’s principal had been completed, and they should know the outcome.

The letter alleges that the investigation found there to be a fractious group of teachers who brought their concern over a new management style – not to the attention of the school division – but instead to the media, creating a “frenzy.”

As a result, the letter said that it would be impossible for their principal, Alfie Turner, to return to the school, so instead, leadership is reassigning her to Human Resources to work on “critical staffing issues,” a reassignment community members found suspect and concerning.

In response, parents took to social media and contacted their representatives, saying they believe it is wrong to place blame teachers and parents who supported them and not on the administration who allegedly fostered a toxic environment.

The community’s perception, by and large, has been shaped by accounts by employees at school board meetings and in media interviews. Some concerns go back to 2006.

However, according to the letter, the investigation revealed that fewer than a quarter of teachers said they personally experienced or felt bullied or targeted by the principal. Sixty-nine person of staff agreed to participate in the interview process. More than half said they had experienced some kind of intimidation but from a variety of sources.

Candland, siding with parents in their dismay over the letter, wrote a response that he shared on his social media page. Page 1, Page 2.

Candland RRMS Response Letter, Page 1

In it, Candland said some constituents expressed a complete lack of confidence in the school administration’s ability to handle concerns with “integrity.”

He described Bixby’s letter as it clearly attempt to shift blame away from the administration, and place it on those alleging a toxic environment. He acknowledges that it would be reasonable for teachers to fear retribution in such an environment they described.

Other letters have surfaced since Candland’s. The Prince William Education Association expressed its leadership’s concern over school leadership’s handling of the situation as well. President Riley O’Casey has called for teachers to attend a rally Wednesday at 6:30 before the school board meeting at the Kelly Leadership Center and to wear blue in solidarity with Reagan teachers and other teachers in similar positions.

Bristow Beat is investigating further as new information continues to surface.

 

 

Other issues at Reagan such as the state of the Special Education Department were not addressed in the Bixby letter, but are a concern of the community.

Original letters from school division are attached. 

 

Action Letter Page 2

 

 

© 2018, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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