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Parents Say Schools Won’t Let Them In

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MEDFORD, Ore. – Denzil Guy plays video games on the back porch of his Medford home. His first day of class will go on without him.

“I’m not going to let my child go anywhere that I don’t make sure it’s a safe environment for him,” said his mother, Faye.

Denzil is seven years old and has autism, a condition which gives him a tendency to wander. On Tuesday, his special needs classes at Jacksonville Elementary were moved to Griffin Creek.

But when his mother went to see his new environment, administrators turned her away.

“I said I just wanted to see the classroom and make sure it’s a safe environment for him,” said Faye. “She said no parents allowed.”

The same situation played out across the district. At Kennedy Elementary, nervous parents lined up outside the gates, while others had to hug their children goodbye from the sidewalk.

“Even on the first day of school we’re allowed to meet the teachers, we’re allowed to see the classroom,” said mother Denyce Henry. “I’ve never been in this school, I don’t know what’s behind the locked gates.”

The district says they decided to keep parents out for security reasons — preferring an added inconvenience over a missing child.

“If you have 600 strangers coming into a new area, you don’t want to have 1200 coming in at the same time,” said Julie Evans, the Director of Elementary Education for the district.

Evans also admits the strike is leading them into unknown territory.

“We’ve never done this before,” said Evans. “A strike isn’t a typical thing that you prepare for. It’s something that you can’t anticipate what the bumps might all be.”

Evans says part of the process of navigating this unknown territory is reviewing what went right and wrong each day. She also says they’ll be considering this policy among many others. But meanwhile, many parents say if they can’t get in, neither will their kids.

4 comments

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  1. Doug Chapman says:

    Doug Chapman says:

    February 11, 2014 at 11:24 am (UTC -8)

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    I live in Yreka, but I am very disgusted with Medford’s teachers and school board. Since when has a child’s education been less important than money. I moved to Yreka 7 years ago from Iowa. In Iowa they end fiscal year and contracts in July. Thus the kids don’t suffer like this. It is a proven fact that kids don’t learn as well in a crowded classroom. When are Medford’s teachers and school board going to remember why they are there? I would guess they all decided when they chose their profession and to run for the board, they wanted to teach and help children educate themselves, so they could have a chance to lead a good life. As I see it all they are thinking about is themselves. When will they remember that it takes a village to raise a child? I feel sorry for the kids in Medford, they are being taught that money is more important than their education.

  2. Ken Haley says:

    Shame on KDRV for reporting half truths about the strike. Ms. Henry is a plant. Supporters of the Union and Strike wear black. You made it sound like the doors where locked and turned away…Parents were allowed into gym but not to roam the school in all the Kaos.

    1. Sara says:

      Ms Henry’s affiliation is irrelevant – her concerns are echoed by many other parents who yes should have the opportunity to at least meet their child’s sub. Think I’m going to place my trust in the side that didn’t promise parents they already had 300 subs lined up but had to scramble for 160, didn’t promise students would be getting an uninterrupted education during the strike but illegally has aides and playground staff teaching, hasn’t said there’s no money but voted themselves substantial raises…

  3. Amy says:

    I would think it’s ok for aides to help teach.. They help the teachers at school with reading, math and they help put together school for the teacher.. They know who the kids are and what they can and cant do I would think they are better then a sub.. I have talk to parents and they were able to go inside the school on the first day back…I would like to thank all the staff that are still working with ours kids..Aides playground staff office staff and so on..

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