By CECIL PERGRAM
The Powell County Board of Education held a special meeting on December 15 in the library of the Powell County Middle School.
The board heard from members of the community who had questions and concerns about a decision made by the Powell County Schools to temporarily end the Upper Room Program at Stanton Elementary School. Concerned parents also had discussions about student safety after another parent videotaped their children in a Facebook video that would later cause various threats made against students, staff, school and the community.
Darlene Drake was first to speak about concerns she had about the suspension of the Upper Room Program at Stanton Elementary School.
“I will try to get through this without crying but most of you all know me and know that if I talk about something that is dear to my heart that I usually cry,” Drake said. “I want you to know that I don’t come here to argue, fuss, or blame. I just want to give you my opinion. I was told when I turned my question that I was questioning the wrong source that the Superintendent or Board of Education doesn’t have any power to suspend or reinstate a program. I was told that was a Site Based Council decision.
Drake says that she went to the Site Based Decision Making Council meeting and was pleased to be assured that they were addressing the problems related to the suspension of the Upper Room program and in the future that the program would be reinstated.
“I think its very unfair that one woman without any proof only on the word of her son can create such havoc in a community. It’s not my way to get on social media, television or in the newspaper to bash the place I live or the place that my children attend school,” Drake said.
Drake told the board she wanted them to know all the great reasons she chooses to call Powell County home.
“I love this county and everything about it. I love that everybody knew what my children were doing growing up and they didn’t care to call and tell me about it. I love the fact we live in a dry county although I know a lot of people disagree with me, I love that we are mostly part of a Christian community and that we come together when we need to do. Don’t get me wrong, I know that we have problems and I know that its not a perfect place to live but it’s a great place for me.” Drake said.
“I tell you these things to simply say that if one woman can suspend Upper Room well this one woman will be at every site based council and board meeting until it’s reinstated. I will not bash you all in the public but I will not go away. I respect your positions in the community and expect that you will act in a way to continue to deserve my respect,” Drake said.
Greg Rogers was next to speak and told the board that he thanked the board members and Powell County Superintendent Michael Tate for years of service given to the community. Rogers told the board
“I would like to thank the teachers here at Powell County for the job they’ve done throughout the years to help raise our children,” Rogers said.
“Powell County has received a black-eye not just locally but across the nation due to recent events. I would like to say that we have our rights as citizens of this country. We have the right to serve our God and we have a right in the First Amendment to express our love for our God,” Rogers said.
It is totally legal for children to pass out literature to one another stating their love for Christ, They can also wear shirts, they can bring Bible’s to school and they can even read the Bible’s during free time in class,” Rogers said. “We want the Upper Room in our schools because we know what it can do for our children it helps mold them into to the children that they need to become in the future.”
“As a county one thing that I’m grateful for is this has made us come together as a community like never before but it has also taught us that we need to search and know what our rights are as a people,” Rogers said. “I lost my son due to bullying two years ago, I buried my child. So I know what bullying can do, full well. I know the heartbreak that it brings but as rationale human being I also know that teachers can try as hard as they want too but it’s is always going to exist.
“I’ve seen the effects of things such as the Upper Room with the children who have grown up going to the Upper Room and the people that they have become. I’ve always loved my home but I’m proud of Powell County like never before to see how theses parents and citizens banded together for our rights to raise our children the way we want. I beg the board and the school site based council to not back down and move full speed forward in our fight for our community,” Rogers said.
Powell County Superintendent Michael Tate told those present at the meeting that he would try to answer their questions and address their concerns about their children safety the best that he could.
“We just made the decision to go back and review things in the district and basically that’s what we’re trying to do to make sure that we are doing things the right way and that its going to meet the safety needs of our students.” Tate said. “We want all our schools to have a safe learning environment for all our kids. We are in the business of public education and we served the needs of all students in this district and we want to continue to do that. I know that some of you mentioned rights of people and students I understand that totally. As we move forward, Board Attorney Mrs. Hale and other are going to look at that and determine things that they may want to change in the future.”
Action taken by the Powell County Board of Education during December 14 meeting:
Approval of minutes for the Regular Meeting held November 13, 2017
Approval of minutes for the Special Meeting held December 5, 2017
Approval claims and authorization to make payment of claims and construction purchase orders
Approval of bus request trips
Approval of maternity leave for Heather Abney starting January 2 thru February 20, 2018
Approval of updated Certified and Classified Job Descriptions
Approval of out of state trip request for the Powell County X-Treme Team to travel by charter bus to Atlanta, GA to perform as the pre-game show for the Atlanta Hawks on March 12-14, 2018
Approval to pay Sherman Carter Barnhart for Professional Services for the month of August 2017 as part of the Construction portion of the Powell County Middle School Renovation Project in the amount of $1,878.02
Approval of the 2018-2019 school calendar
Approval to hire Board Attorney Donna Hale to lead as a consultant for 2017-2018 Superintendent Search
Approval of Monthly Financial Report
Approval of Orders of the Treasurer for November 2017
Approval to enter into Closed Session pursuant to KRS 61.810 (1) (f) for discussion that may lead to the appointment of an interim superintendent.