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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Parents raise concerns at North Putnam

Saturday, June 18, 2011

BAINBRIDGE -- Near the end of the regular North Putnam School Corporation board meeting Thursday night, several parents addressed the board about concerns they had with the corporation. Many of the concerns are a result of the alleged actions of now-resigned teacher Amber Russell.

Leigh Casto, whose son Nathan was the victim of an incident involving the special education teacher, said she is thankful Russell has resigned and hopes her son can begin healing. She also read an apology letter she received from North Putnam Middle School principal Terry Tippin.

"I'd like to thank Dr. Lovejoy for her help with the incident with my son," Casto said of the North Putnam superintendent.

Other parents were concerned that something like would happen again -- and were worried that it would take as long as this incident to be rectified. Paula Shepard, Christine Mitchell, Chris England and Angela Wolf confronted the board about their fears regarding this incident, with some of the parents discussing their own special-needs children.

"I don't know how we are expected to have faith to believe that things are going to be done," Shepard said.

Parents said they would like to see a level of accountability when issues like this arise and also a way to make sure the punishments are sent through the process and handled. Some parents suggested hiring a separate person for this process.

The board agreed that this incident in particular was handled poorly on many levels, and they will soon come up with a plan to prevent this type of incident from occurring as it did. When that will happen and what the answer will be though was unknown.

"We need to work on following things through," board president Charlie Boller said. "We've been put into some bad situations because we find out later."

The board asked that parents have faith in the actions of this current board, with several board members, including Oliver Haste, backing the character of the board members.

Board member Debbie Sillery repeatedly asked for parents to have faith in the board and trust the body will do the right thing when they are aware of these problems. Superintendent Mary Sugg Lovejoy said she would meet with several of these concerned parents on Monday.

"I have been very, very devastated by what's happened in this school corporation," Lovejoy said.

Before the parents spoke, North Putnam High School assistant principal Jason Chew gave a presentation to the board about the alternative and night schools and the P.A.W.S. program -- which stands for Providing Alternative Ways for Success.

"These are the students who are at-risk. They are at-risk of not graduating," Chew said.

Chew said the program is continuing to grow and this year it has helped four students graduate on time. In the future, the program will incorporate service projects for students to give back to the community.

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Maybe you think calling out a school with administration that misleads the public and breaks laws is making a mountain out of a molehill, but I guarantee these parents don't.

-- Posted by Seashell2464 on Sat, Jun 18, 2011, at 12:09 PM

As disgusting as your comment is, it serves a purpose. It shows how people in this community and in the world in general have a gross misunderstanding and intolerance for those with disabilities or who are different. It also helps to clarify those attitudes of anyone who would think that this school did nothing wrong, and in turn, amplifies how wrong they really are.

-- Posted by all4advocacy on Sat, Jun 18, 2011, at 12:31 PM

Just as I will never know what you have gone through, you can never know what anyone else has either. If you are disabled, I'm sorry, because it's clear that you have not been taught tolerance or sensitivity.

-- Posted by all4advocacy on Sat, Jun 18, 2011, at 1:01 PM

maybe ok, I am feeling so bad for you right now... either you don't have all the facts, or you really don't get it.

You probably do have a terrible history to overcome. I want to recommend that you look into counseling. It sounds to me like you are crying for help. If cost is an issue, there are a lot of agencies that can help you at little or no cost.

-- Posted by NPNO on Sat, Jun 18, 2011, at 1:09 PM

Interesting... time to see if the board will choose to fix or cover the problems at the MS... They almost have to get rid of admin to get parents to trust again.

-- Posted by NPNO on Sat, Jun 18, 2011, at 9:43 PM

Just know that the newspaper as well as the news, miss some of the issues.. They have had to listen to a number of parents at one time an keep notes an try an remember everything... Believe me when I say there is more to this story thn meets the eye!

-- Posted by Pshepherd on Sun, Jun 19, 2011, at 12:13 PM

Pshepherd , you have the floor, go ahead and tell us the story

-- Posted by carebuttonbroke on Sun, Jun 19, 2011, at 12:22 PM

Well first of all if your " care button" is " broke " thn is anything I say going to even matter?? But for the ones that have a heart, here goes just a piece... A few questions mite help clear your mind... Carebuttonbroke, do u even have children? And if u do, would u like it or think it's legal for a teacher to throw a tennis ball or other objects at your child? And I mean with force so much that it leaves a mark for hours? An in some cases other thn the one I am talking about now, it has lasted longer!! So is this type of behavier acceptable? And for 5 years?? I would like to tell all but I feel that I should give the school board a chance to do their jobs! We will see. It's all a lil long time overdue.. Idk if u live in this school district an if u don't and your children attend another one, I strongly suggest u make sure yours it getting the best, safe education they deserve! Just like cops an lawyers.. An so on.. There is always bad ones.. Even with teachers! I'm looking out for mine! Thts wht I do! Forever and even after forever..

-- Posted by Pshepherd on Sun, Jun 19, 2011, at 2:17 PM

I'm glad to see the banner had the class to remove the offensive and hurtful comments made earlier. It's one thing to have differing opinions and state your mind, completely another to make light of learning/emotional disabilities and suicide.

-- Posted by all4advocacy on Sun, Jun 19, 2011, at 4:22 PM

WOW, Pshepherd,grammar check & spell check are valuable assets to have, if you want to try and make an intelligent statement. Just saying...

-- Posted by lindam7766 on Sun, Jun 19, 2011, at 6:28 PM

Omgosh, I'm sure u get the point! And for your info I'm on an iPod an sometimes it has a mind of it's own, but thanks for juss saying. Grow up and try to stay focused on topic! Thanks:)

-- Posted by Pshepherd on Sun, Jun 19, 2011, at 7:07 PM

Being on any school board is a thankless job with more time invested than most of you know. While you may not agree with the decisions or process to get there, I also think some of the perpetual complainers are the ones least involved with their children's lives. There are bad apples in every profession, including teaching. I don't blame the entire corporation or the school board for the missteps of one.

-- Posted by NPsupport on Sun, Jun 19, 2011, at 8:18 PM

My husband and I are both N.P. alumni and loved attending NPHS. Our oldest attended one of the elementary schools within the corporation for two years. He came home on a daily basis with a full lunch box and a new story to tell about how children were being mistreated at school. He never was the victim of this belittling, but it affected him greatly. Not being parents that believe everything that comes out of our children's mouth, we started making routing visits to the school. We witnessed first hand teachers screaming and belittling children in front of their peers (and us). Keep in mind these are kindergartners and 1st graders. There was even a case of physical/borderline sexual abuse by another student that involved a child close to us. The school's stance on it was, "We didn't see anything happen, therefore it didn't happen." That was not the answer we were looking for. Our children no longer attend NP Community Schools. To all of the wonderful, caring teachers: keep doing what you're doing. To those who have a low opinion of children: Consider another career.

-- Posted by Mom23+ on Sun, Jun 19, 2011, at 9:52 PM

There is a great difference between "blaming" the school/corporation and holding them accountable for their or their staff's behavior. It appears that the NP school board is even aware that there is a problem, is taking it seriously, and wants to regain parent's trust. I'm sure being a part of school administration isn't easy and is often "thankless" but it is the job they have chosen. The community relies on them to do their job with the best interest of its children in mind.

-- Posted by all4advocacy on Mon, Jun 20, 2011, at 9:45 AM

It is very sad that the special education program at NP Middle School has deteriorated to the present state. Someone I am very close to worked there in the program for many years. The school has had a proble with hiring effective principals for years. Mr. England is the only administrator that has a good handle on what needs to happen but has always been put down and forced to support his principal including the present who has proven time and again he can not do the job but continues to be kept on board by the board. In order for things to improve changes must happen and they need to take place now before another school year begins.

-- Posted by jakedog1 on Thu, Jun 23, 2011, at 9:12 AM

you are right about 1 thing...jakedog1.. but Mr.England isnt one of thm!!! things do need to change! and soon i agree, but i see u never had any problems with this (man)! but rest assured he is not the person you think or the one you are making him out to be!! did you go to this school? do you have children at this school? well if you answered yes.. well thn you are very lucky! you or your child must have been one of his picks!! because thats how it is with him!! i wouldnt be saying this if it wasnt true!! and i dont hide my name! i speak the truth so no reason to!

-- Posted by Pshepherd on Sun, Jun 26, 2011, at 4:27 AM

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