News 12 at 11 / Monday, February 10, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW)-- The seats weren't quite as full for the third town hall meeting, but there was no mistaking what these parents think.
"I have several concerns about this," said one parent.
"I don't think this middle school-high school thing is a good thing at all," said another.
A third parent asked the Board to "please reconsider this."
Those were pleas from parents to school board members and the Superintendent himself not to merge Butler High School and Sego Middle.
"My concern here is safety safety safety," one parent said.
One by one, parents and teachers took the mic to express their concerns. One mom referred to her 11-year-old son.
"When he gets around those older boys, in order to fit in, I just think he might make some bad choices even though I've raised him to do the right thing," she said.
Some were very personal and candid.
"I am a product of being attacked sexually by an 18 year old when I was 13, and I want to know how you're going to guarantee that this isn't going to happen to other children," challenged another parent.
Others pointed out the obvious differences between the age groups.
"They're dealing with completely different issues, completely different problems. And 12th graders don't like hanging out with 6th graders," said one dad, who managed a laugh out of the crowd.
Though he didn't respond to every concern, Dr. Frank Roberson reassured the group several times their comments are being heard and would absolutely be integrated into the new recommendation. He even asked the crowd, "Is that fair enough?" to which the group nodded.
"I noticed in your nod you said 'yeah that's fair enough if we know you're gonna do it,'" Roberson said as the room laughed. "Yeah, I felt that."
He even took a moment during the meeting to survey the audience, asking about their past school history.
"Raise your hand if you attended the school 9-12 and you had younger brothers or sisters in grades 1-6," he asked.
Dr. Roberson says he was getting a feel for his audience. He also said there's no escaping their concerns when it comes to making his final recommendation. That comes March 11th.
The last town hall meeting will be Tuesday, February 11 at Garrett Elementary from 6-30 to 8. It will focus on merging Garrett and National Hills.