Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Image and Reality

We have written here before about some of the great teachers and students in the Fayetteville Public Schools. We have also talked about some of the self-serving and boneheaded actions by school administrators and board members. Nothing here can compare with the views about the Fayetteville School District presented yesterday on the front page of The New York Times or the upcoming NBC's "Today" show.

The New York Times reported yesterday that school officials had been unable to prevent the bullying of a student that began at McNair Middle School, continued through Woodland Junior High, and now happens at Fayetteville High School. The educational bureaucrats issued a statement attacking the newspaper reporter but failing to address the charges against school authorities, other than the expected and hardly credible claim that they followed procedures and dealt with the problem.

You'll remember last June when Republican businessman Jeff Koenig sent a letter to School Board President Steve Percival urging the District to sell off the current central campus and build a new high school out west of I-540 in Sprawlville. One reason he stated, without any evidence to back his claim, was that "l
ack of a high school campus equal to or exceeding those recently built in Rogers, Bentonville, and Springdale has been detrimental to recruitment of business and knowledge based workers to Fayetteville."

How will this latest episode affect the recruitment of business and knowledge-based workers to Fayetteville? Here's a sampling of more than 300 emails received by the school yesterday. "
You won’t find many people who will want to move to your town after reading the Times article. You must all be proud. How awful can a school district be? What is wrong with you people?" Robert Wexler. "I cannot express enough my disgust at the sorry excuse you seem to have for school administrators. How can you allow this sort of thing to happen? Are you living in the dark ages, or do you simply not read the research that has been done for the last decade on the harm bullying does to the targets AND the bullies?" David Mangefrida. "Here’s hoping that the family that is having to sue you to protect their son from the bigotry which Arkansas is famous for is successful. Very successful." Roy Treadway.

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