In response to The Daily Southerner Jamica Ashley Reporter “Fifth –grade boy pulls knife on girl”

The Daily Southerner
Tarboro NC

In response to Jamica Ashley Reporter “Fifth –grade boy pulls knife on girl”

The following is the parents response to Jamica C. Ashley’ report in the Daily Southerner Tuesday March 16, 2010 print and online edition.

“A knife was allegedly pulled on a fifth-grader on Tuesday last week, the parents found out on Friday and pressed charges.” The above is not all true.

It is funny how the paper states, “A fifth-grade boy at G.W. Carver Elementary School in Pinetops pulled a pocketknife on a fifth-grade girl during recess, according to an Edgecombe County Public Schools spokeswoman.” It is funny how Diane LeFiles’ name was not listed as the schools spokeswoman because we hope no other woman is acting on her behalf.

Parent 1 found out on Tuesday and she visited the school on Wednesday. Parent 2 found out on Thursday and visited the school on Friday.

This following is not true per Parent 1. “The two were passing notes in class earlier that day, the mother said.” The child had previously told the parent that the boy had written her a letter to her stating he liked her and wanted her to be in his gang and turned it in to the teacher but later said she threw it in the trash.

Funny how the written statement from Parent 1 and Parent 2 were sent to the editor of the paper Terry Smith on last night and it was not used in this article.

Yes the school has some great children however the issue at hand is not totally about the children. The adults involved in this issue did not follow policies and procedures by calling the parents to the school to talk to them about the altercation.

This paper states that, “Law enforcement said that the matter is still under investigation and that they were made aware of the incident a "day or so after it happened." What in the hell is a day or so? So since the parents didn’t go to them until Friday, so that means that the school did not press charges as Mr. Ellis had told Parent 1 on the following day after the altercation occurred. It is very clear that if the parents had not followed up on this issue there would not have been any charges filed.

We are wondering how the school is considering this a Level 3 offense.

We  have a copy of the  G.W. Carver Elementary School Student and Parent Handbook 2009 – 2010 “Where Children Come First” name at the bottom William S. Ellis, Principal and Florence E. Wilkins, Assistant Principal and this is on the cover. However the following was copied and pasted from the online version of the Code of Conduct.

On page 9 of 13 4300 it is listed at the bottom of the page Recommended Course of Action for Level Three Offenses – Grade Pre-K 5 and on page 10 at the top of the page it states Level Four Violations.

Level Four Violations
2. Use or Threatened Use of a Weapon – No student shall use in a threatening or dangerous manner any weapon or other object that can be considered a weapon or a facsimile of a weapon.
Page 10 of 13
For the first violation of item (2) of a Level Four provision, a student shall be long-term suspended for the remainder of the current school year and the incident will be reported to law enforcement officials.

It is so funny Mr. Ellis said children make bad choices, however yes this is true but our issue is G.W. Carver Elementary School made a bad choice to not contact us. So many times it is stated that the parents are not involved and we are involved parents and we have been disrespected. Just like Mr. Ellis stated, "We have great students here at Carver, but unfortunately, a few have made some very poor choices," Ellis said. "This incident was unusual and not indicative of the majority of the students on our campus." Well we have some great parents however when things happen in school it is always blamed on the parents and it is made to appear that parents are not interested in their children’s education especially black parents. This is not limited to G.W. Carver but is the myth across the nation. You see the majority of the parents are concerned about their children’s education but when they visit the schools they are disrespected.

When the involved parents are disrespected it discourages them and others from visiting the schools.

This article make it appear that only one parent pressed charges when it was 2 parents.

"We met with our staff to review our procedures and I hope our parents will use this opportunity to talk to their children about the importance of good behavior at school," Ellis said.

Sources informed us today that a Memorandum dated today March 16, 2010 to G.W. Carver Elementary Staff from William Ellis Principal was given to all staff members today.

The memorandum states:

I would like to remind all staff of the importance of communicating with parents in an effective and timely manner regarding any safety issues with your students. This is our responsibility while students are in our charge. Students safety is our primary concern. Procedures are already in place concerning parent communication and should be followed at all times, especially as it relates to safety issues. Failure to do is considered a neglect of duty. Always err on the side of safety for your students.

If you should have any questions about these procedures, please contact the administration. Attention to this issue is needed so the credibility of our school remains unharmed and parents maintain confidence in our decisions. If you have any questions please let me know.

Your cooperation and support is expected.

Thank you.

cc: Dr. Steve Mazingo, Interim Superintendent

Sources say that Mr. Ellis was told to send a memorandum to his staff on last Tuesday following another incident involving a child at G.W. Carver where a staff member did not report an incident until the next day and G.W. Carver did not contact these parents as well. That case is still pending at the moment.

We were not informed about the altercation as parents and when we visited the school, we did not appreciate the response we received from Mr. Ellis and Mrs. Wilkins. We will hold them accountable because we know they will hold us accountable for our actions. When everyone know their role and acknowledge their shortcomings then we all can move forward.

We also feel if another race was involved in this altercation that the other parents would have been notified. But this is what happens when you only have 1 certified black teacher (certified) however there is atleast 1 black (Certified Special) teacher at this school.

If anyone should have any questions please feel free to contact us.

LaTanya L. Williams
Tarboro NC

Alicia Revis
Pinetops, NC


cc: Media Outlets
Superintendent Edgecombe County Public Schools
Yolanda Thigpen Edgecombe County NAACP
Curmilus Dancy II – The DCN

Note: The following statements were sent to Terry Smith Editor The Daily Southerner on Monday night the day before this article ran.

See related:

G. W. Carver Elementary School Does Not Follow Their Own Policies and Procedures