Parents React to Substitute Indictment

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August 1, 2005
After the substitute teacher and assistant principal turned themselves in Monday afternoon, some parents are thinking about their child’s school. Columbia County starts classes on Wednesday. News 12 shows you how some say being involved in their child’s life is the key.

It was open house for Columbia County’s middle and high schools. We visited Riverside Middle School where parents say they feel safe in Columbia County.

As teachers welcome their new students into Riverside Middle School. Parent Nikol Burns says the key to keeping your child safe is parental involvement.

“Parents should be more vigilant, I’m very active in my children’s life, never know when I’m going to pop in school,” Burns said.

Burns just moved to Columbia County from Virginia Beach and was shocked to hear what happened at Riverside and Brookwood Elementary Schools.

“Unfortunately it’s a sad world we are in today and you have to be careful with affection and touching of students,” Burns said.

Parent Kathy Robertson says she feels safe sending her eighth grade daughter to Riverside Middle.

“Overall, I’m confident about Columbia County schools and coming here to Riverside Middle,” Robertson said.

Substitute teacher Billy Cleveland and Brookwood Elementary Assistant Principal Barbara Gleitzmann turned themselves in to the Columbia County sheriff’s office Monday afternoon.

“Anytime there’s indictments for something of this nature it’s sad for the whole community, certainly for our school system,” said school board member Wayne Bridges.

Columbia County board member Wayne Bridges says the board wants to make the reporting of a sex abuse act policy stricter. But, he worries about teachers now being put under the microscope.

“I’ll walk through this school tonight or some of the elementary schools and I’ll have kids come up and give me hugs and I’ll hug them back,” Bridges said.

“Hopefully they won’t give up affection needed for younger children,” Robertson said.

Bridges believes everyone will have to be more careful. But, Burns says it starts with parental involvement.

Many of the parents News 12 spoke with say they do feel safe sending their kids to Columbia County schools. They hope the county will be more careful when hiring another school employee.

Gleitzmann was suspended for five days before the indictment and it’s up to the superintendent if she will get to keep her job.